“Physical activity is an elixir of life, but we’re not teaching
people that. We’re telling them it’s a pill to take or a punishment for
bad numbers on the scale. Sustaining physical activity is a motivational
and emotional issue, not a medical one.
Studies have shown that what gets people off their duffs and keeps them moving depends on age, gender, life circumstances and even ethnicity. For those of college age, for example, physical attractiveness typically heads the list of reasons to begin exercising, although what keeps them going seems to be the stress relief that a regular exercise program provides.
The elderly, on the other hand, may get started because of health concerns. But often what keeps them exercising are the friendships, sense of community and camaraderie that may otherwise be missing from their lives — easily seen among the gray-haired women who faithfully attend water exercise classes at my local YMCA.
Read full NY Times article: "Changing Aremica's Anthem on Exercise."