Is the “Pleasure Principle” the Key to Exercising?

Exploring Intensity

Is the “Pleasure Principle” the Key to Exercising?

It’s a new year, and many of us are scrambling to figure out how to stick to a new diet or a new exercise plan.

And many of us think we’re going to fail. People generally don’t quit exercise because they are lazy. They stop because they don’t enjoy the exercise they’ve decided to do in January – or whenever they start The New Great Program.

So what can be done?

This article provides insight into how enjoyment impacts exercise behavior. It turns out that the subjects who were studied would rather have a bad time earlier than later when it comes to exercise. In other words, if there is going to be misery when it comes to working out (and there often is), then that misery should be front-loaded into the experience, as people will have a better outlook on what they just did if it got better towards the end. One study showed that when people were on an exercise bike and it actually ramped down through the course of the session then they were far more likely to report the exercise as being pleasurable.

There is also a lot of research that says when people are allowed to wind down themselves, without being pushed by someone to keep going, they are also pretty happy with their workouts. Music is also another factor that increases enjoyment, though you probably already knew that.

The Cardio High view: We know that people are far more likely to stick to an exercise program if they enjoy the experience. People tend to stick to favorite sports like tennis, golf, or cycling because they are fun. We aim to provide a fun and enjoyable experience at Cardio High by doing the following things;

  1. We start slowly to ease people into the workout. Some people come to the studio, and they do not feel like working out. We start with simple movements that even the most tired, grumpy and sore person can do (and hopefully enjoy). We do this for 10 minutes.
  2. We try to intersperse cardio pushes that make people out of breathe with strength and core movements that require less cardio.
  3. We move the classes quickly from one activity to another, so that clients don’t get bored. We also try to vary the sequence every day, so the experience feels new.
  4. We aim to play music that’s upbeat and motivates people to move. Not everyone shares the same taste, so we rotate genres that we play.
  5. Our coaches are aware that providing feedback, motivational cues and chatter can help people enjoy the workouts.

-Shane M.