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Not in the mood to exercise? A new study suggests that when you are in a neutral frame of mind -- being neither happy or sad -- you are more likely to work out.
Researchers from John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio, also report that feeling sad or stressed strongly influences whether or not a person will exercise, reports MyHealthNewsDaily.
Scientists recruited more than 150 university students and divided them into three groups. Each group watched videos designed to put them in either a positive, negative, or neutral mood. One group watched a segment from the US television show "America's Funniest Home Videos," while a second group viewed a sad scene from the film "Marley & Me" in which the family pet dies. A third group watched a clip from a business documentary. After the videos, each subject completed a fitness questionnaire.
Nearly 72 percent of the students had exercised during the past three days, and about two-thirds of the subjects said they exercised at least three times a week, according to MyHealthNewsDaily.
Findings showed that students who viewed the happy video were less likely to plan a workout activity than those in the neutral group. Subjects who viewed the sad video were even less likely to exercise.
"Our study showed that regardless of emotional state, people generally believe that exercise is a behavior that they should be engaging in," study author Jennifer Catellier told MyHealthNewsDaily. "However, when they made more emotional decisions, they went against these beliefs, deciding that other activities were more appealing than exercise."
Since the study finds that emotions can sabotage your best intentions to stay active, the researchers say that rather than relying on your emotions or feelings, base your decisions on information and knowledge. In other words, find a way to get to the gym, even if you're not the mood.
The study will appear in the March issue of the journal Psychology of Sport and Exercise.
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