New Research: The Importance of Finding Joy in Your Exercise

Pongo Power personal trainers are diverse in our specializations. Although every trainer must be certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine, the ongoing continuing education chosen by our staff differs greatly and often highlights the type of exercise or fitness modality we find joy in. This is one of the reasons why our trainers are able to spark a similar passion for fitness, in our clients. We believe our members can have fun with their exercise so that our community sticks with it longterm, and new research supports this fact.

A recent study demonstrates that women who don't enjoy their exercise selection are often choosing "high-intensity" workouts that feel "punishing" due to a lack of understanding as to what constitutes an effective or worthwhile workout. These subjects reported feelings of anxiety or pressure around exercise, which decreased quality of life and ultimately motivation to achieve larger goals like weight loss.

"Many women start fitness programs to lose weight, and when they don't, they feel like failures and stop exercising. And then, months or a year later, they do the same thing again -- creating a vicious cycle that fails to consider what might be leading to short-term motivation," says Michelle Segar, Director of the University of Michigan's Sport, Health, and Activity Research and Policy Center.

In order to understand why some women do not feel motivated to continue in an exercise program, researchers sought to find out what really motivates women in other areas of their lives.

"A new understanding of what really motivates women might make an enormous difference in their ability to successfully incorporate physical activity into their daily routine, and have fun doing it."

Women, regardless of their current activity level, were found to be motivated by similar desires. Both inactive and active women derived happiness from the same things: meaningful connection with others, and the ability to feel truly relaxed during "down" time. In order to decompress during this leisure time, women needed to feel free of external and internal pressures. Here, a distinction between the active and inactive women emerged: the inactive women felt more of an internal conflict surrounding exercise during the time they were supposed to be relaxing and decompressing. This came from their belief that in order for exercise to be "valid," it must be high-intensity and feel "punishing."

"The direct conflict between what these low-active women believe they should be doing when they exercise, and their desire to decompress and renew themselves during leisure time, demotivates them. Their beliefs about what exercise should consist of and their past negative experiences about what it feels like, actually prevents them from successfully adopting and sustaining physically active lives."

The authors went on to discuss the ways in which we are socialized to believe this exercise myth: that fitness must be grueling in order to be effective, despite the fact that a surplus of research exists contradicting that notion. Researchers listed a prescription that may help women stay motivated to continue with their exercise program:

  • Re-educate women that movement can and should feel good to do.

At Pongo Power, we teach you how to move correctly, so that you can find joy in your every day your life and live pain free. We do not believe in pushing our clients to the point of exhaustion just so they feel as if they got a "good workout." Instead, we utilize a scientific approach and create a unique program for every one of our members, that is specific to both their goals and the type of exercise each person enjoys doing.

  • Promote physical activity as a way to connect with others.

One of the best things about being a Pongo Power trainer or client is the strong community you enter into. Every person inside our studio is there to support one another on our journey as human beings, leading active lives. From running clubs, to our community class series, we are here to build a network of people that want to help one another get to where we want to be, as a community. 

  • Reframe physical activity as a vehicle that helps women renew and re-energize themselves to better succeed at their daily roles and goals.

If you feel good in your body, and in your movement, you will be better equipped to accomplish your daily tasks and goals. Many clients report a newfound belief-in-self emerges after several weeks of training. This comes in part from accomplishing their training goals and understanding the carryover of physical strength to mental strength.

  • Explain physical activity as a broad continuum that counts all movement as valid and worth doing.

Whatever you choose, it is valid if it it is safe, it it makes you feel physically better, and mentally stronger. We alter out training sessions and programs based on how you feel that day. If you come in feeling especially tired, or more energized than usual, we will accommodate your needs. Having a trainer means someone is there to help you get the most out of that hour of your day.

We do it all here. From yoga, to clubbells, to powerlifting and weightlifting, we have many options for you to explore. Exercise does not have to feel like a punishment, or be something you dread. Our trainers have found joy through their chosen movements, and they are ready to share joy with you!

Come in for a free fitness assessment.

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