Why Daily Physical Movement is Better Than a Latte

by Barry Hill

Daily Physical Movement

We’re excited to feature Fit After Fifty Change Specialist, Michelle Segar, PhD, MPH. She  creates systems and protocols that lead to the sustainable motivation and consistent decision making that underlie fitness, health, and well-being. She is a University of Michigan motivation scientist, the Associate Director of the Sport, Health, and Activity Research and Policy Center for Women and Girls, and a Health Policy Fellow at the Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation. 

What if we stopped thinking about moving our bodies as something we “should” do and started thinking about it as a better source of energy and well-being than drinking a latte ?

Benefits for Daily Physical Movement

The idea that we should value our daily physical movement in this way is gaining momentum.

Our latest research findings about rebranding exercise for its immediate benefits was recently featured by US News & World Report and Fitness Magazine. This message was also warmly received by a packed room of women and clinicians attending a keynote I delivered last month in Wyoming.

In fact, there’s new research showing that daily physical movement is associated with higher energy and enthusiasm.

A published study in the Journal of Exercise and Sport Psychology investigated the “feel good” effects from physical activity among190 young adults, 66% of whom were women. The study participants were asked to note their daily physical movement, sleep, and feeling states and return this information at the end of each day for eight days.

They reported that physical activity was associated with increased feelings of energy and enthusiasm. The study also found that these college-aged participants felt even more enthusiastic on the days that they moved their bodies more.

Energy and enthusiasm remained significant even after taking sleep quality into account.This demonstrates that when a bad night’s sleep leaves us feeling exhausted, we can boost our energy level that day by moving our bodies.

These findings have proven accurate in my own life. Last fall I was extremely busy. I didn’t walk as much as usual. Since January, I’ve increased my time walking and I feel more energetic.

If you haven’t paid attention to how you feel even after a short duration of physical movement – try it a few times. Many of my clients are surprised by how a little bit of daily physical movement goes a long way toward vitality.

Want more energy and enthusiasm during your day? Instead of heading to the nearest Starbucks, put your work down, grab a friend or colleague, and take a 15-minute walk.(You’ll save money too.)

Please tell any friends, family, colleagues, or health care professionals who might be interested in these insights on creating lasting motivation and behavior through the social media and email icons below.

If you have any experiences with physical activity boosting your mood or energy level please share them on my blog! I will personally respond to your comment.

Moving toward Happiness,


Michelle Segar, PhD, MPH

Health Policy Fellow at Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation

Blog article originally posted on March 1, 2012: http://michellesegar.com/blog/

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