Research confirms that one of the most reliable indicators of whether people will continue to exercise is that they find exercise satisfying. They gain enjoyment from being active!
A recent study hoped to shed light on what makes exercise feel pleasurable to some and like drudgery to others. Specifically, they were interested in the role of mindfulness, a deliberate awareness of what is happening in the present moment. To test this relationship between mindfulness and satisfaction with exercise, Dutch researchers interviewed 398 women and men who identified themselves as physically active.
Participants were asked how much they exercised, how satisfied they were with that exercise and how mindful they were during exercise. Not surprisingly, the people who reported being most satisfied with exercise were also the people who exercised the most. What was interesting is that mindfulness played an important role in making exercise feel satisfying. People who reported being mindful and present during exercise also generally reported satisfaction with exercise.
Tsafou KE et al. Mindfulness and satisfaction in physical activity: A cross-sectional study in the Dutch population. J Health Psychol. 2015, Jan 28. pii: 1359105314567207.
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