How exercise recommendations might actually work against us
No matter how active we really are, we can hold the mindset that our physical activity level is adequate and healthy, or inadequate and unhealthy, and these mindsets may have real consequences for our well-being.
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Most of us actually know that exercise is important, but this is not enough to motivate us.
The idea that we only need to educate people and give them the right information and then they will behave better or change their lifestyles is not true.
Experiments conducted in America showed that low and liberal guidelines (from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) led people to adopt a more positive mindset. These positive mindsets led to higher self-efficacy measures. And those with high self-efficacy were more likely to be active the week after viewing the guidelines.
These discoveries raise an important question: How useful are demanding, strict guidelines if they don’t inspire the desired outcome?
Public health officials should collaborate more with psychologists and modify their exercise messaging.
Improving public health messaging could help people see all the ways in which they’re already getting physical activity in their everyday lives: walking, talking the dog out, or cleaning the house, for example.
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