Some scientists have discovered how long it takes for physical activity in the gym to become a pleasant habit
Gym novices often wonder: How soon does effort turn into pleasure, and going to the gym becomes a habit? If it is true that some psychologists recognize 21 days as the minimum wage for a behavior to become a habit, with physical activity – according to American researchers – time (unfortunately) is needed a little more…
How long to turn sport into a habit: study
Day more, day less, it takes at least 6 months to consolidate the habit of physical activity. This was discovered by a group of researchers from Caltech, the University of Chicago and the University of Pennsylvania, after observing the behavior of 30,000 users of the fitness chain, 24 Hour Fitness, for 4 years. The results showed that it takes about a couple of seasons to establish a consistent gym habit. The study also measured how long it took some health care workers to master handwashing; but in this case, it only took a few weeks for the habit to form. In other words, some habits win us over more easily than others.
Colin F. Camerer, director of the T&C Chen Center for Social and Decision Neuroscience at Caltech and an author of the study, explains that the researchers measured “how well you can predict a person’s gym attendance from a long list of variables,” including such as the time interval between visits, his (past) gym history, how many consecutive months he attended, etc.
The authors only considered going to the gym as an established habit if they could predict which days of the week respondents would go to the gym, based on data collected from all measured variables. “From our data, how often people go to the gym and if they do it in a predictable way they are 2 different things,” comments Camerer. “On average, people go there 22% of the time, about one or two days a week. But having a habit means we can predict what those days will be, too. If we can’t figure it out, then it’s not a habit.” This pattern allowed the researchers to discover, among other things, that the more time between visits to the gym, the less likely it is that someone will return.
How to get used to training
According to Jaclyn Maher, professor of kinesiology at UNC Greensboro, forming a new habit is complex and time consuming, noting that “these findings (and others) suggest that the old adage that it takes 21 days to form a habit is just a myth.” To form a habit at the gym, you need to work consistently, for months, but according to experts, there’s something we can do to not give up:
- Let’s start with ours personal history of going to a gym and consider how it might affect our ability to make it a habit. If we have been on the run in the past it might be a little more difficult…
- We take into account external factors, such as distance from the gym, time availability and family commitments. Pretending they don’t count doesn’t help.
- We try to incorporate fitness into the daily routineadapting it to our lifestyle, even if this could mean – at worst – opting for a home fitness program.
- Let’s choose one gym close to homeespecially if we don’t like to use public transport.
- Let’s find a physical activity that we are passionate about, making it easier to form a habit. Indeed, it is difficult to adapt to something we do not like.
“Only if we can make the act of going to the gym or exercising more automatic – concludes Maher – we can eliminate many of the mental barriers that prevent us from engaging in that behavior.”
23 maggio 2023
© REPRODUCTION RESERVED
#gym #stop #weighing