Cracking the Exercise Motivation Code: Strength in Numbers

by Barry Hill

Exercise motivation: strength in numbers.

In an effort to really dig into the topic of motivation and how to increase it in the behavioral model for exercise, we’d like to address some common questions and issues in this ongoing series: “Cracking the Exercise Motivation Code”. Your input, as always, is very welcome. We all learn from the knowledge and experiences of the collective whole. So go ahead and comment at the end of the article!

Last week Fit After Fifty discussed emphasizing the benefits of exercise vs. emphasizing the harmful effects of not exercising. This week: people motivation. How are you motivated differently if you exercise with other people opposed to solo?

Let’s take the solo scenario. You’ve slotted time at the end of your day to do some brisk-walking. “It’ll be the perfect time to unwind and burn some calories,” you say to yourself.  6pm rolls around. All of a sudden, that bit of biz you didn’t get to earlier in the day takes priority. Or that couch is starting to look really appealing…

However, if you had promised Sally & Bill, your neighbors, that you would meet outside at 6pm to walk around the neighborhood, all of a sudden it becomes that much harder to retract from the commitment.

Perhaps you were negatively motivated: “I can’t cancel on this commitment.” Perhaps you were positively motivated because Sally and Bill tell the most hilarious stories and the exercise benefits is just a bonus.  Call it ‘motivation’, ‘accountability’, ‘camaraderie’, or ‘All of the above’–the bottom line is that it worked!

Chief Innovation Officer of the national YMCA says, “Working out in a group provides support, accountability, and structure.” There’s strength, literally, in numbers.

Raise your hand if you’ve been at a gym on your own, spent 20 minutes wandering around and left. Now compare that to the time when you signed up for the group tennis lessons and went home two hours later feeling exhausted but happy with your workout.  You get the point.

And regardless if you’re more introverted or extroverted, there is something to be said for that in-person human interaction experienced during group exercise, particularly in sports. Sweating is a powerful bond!  (And no, I don’t mean when it’s the middle of the summer and you & your friends are melting in your seats at the baseball game…nice try!)

Are you motivated differently if you exercise with other people opposed to solo? (Tell us about it in the comment section below.)


You may also like

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More