Friday, 27 July 2012

Be a good sport

There’s good news for those of us who hate to exercise but want to keep trim. According to the BBC’s Horizon programme, it’s possible to improve some measures of fitness by exercising for only three minutes a week. But why are some of us averse to exercise?

One common reason for failing to exercise is that we simply don’t feel like it because we are discouraged or depressed. Another reason is that we don’t have the time.

According to research in the Journal of Physical Education, teachers of PE in school can largely influence whether we enjoy sport or not. By encouraging social interaction and responsibility, focusing on effort and personal improvement and not making comparisons with other pupils, PE teachers can make students feel competent doing exercise and playing sports outside of school, as well as throughout their lives.

The social side of sport or group cohesion it creates has been investigated by a professor at Wilfrid Laurier University. It seems the camaraderie that often develops between team members can affect a teenager's willingness to engage in exercise and can be the key to maintaining physical activity in the longer term.

This link between motivation and group cohesion is an important finding, particularly as it is more common for people to engage in physical activity in groups rather than on their own. It has also been shown that if people are in groups they enjoy, they are more likely to stick to exercise regimes.

Therefore by understanding group cohesion we can increase the likelihood that physically active children will remain physically active adults.

First Psychology Scotland has centres in the following locations: Edinburgh: 0131-668-1440, www.edinburghtherapy.co.uk
Glasgow: 0141-404-5411, www.glasgowpsychology.co.uk
Borders: 01896-800-400, www.borderspsychology.co.uk
Aberdeen: 01224-452-848, www.aberdeenpsychology.co.uk

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