Make Exercise Feel Easier: New Science

The older you become, the harder it can be to get yourself to workout. A spate of new studies has turned up innovative ways to make exercise more enjoyable—so you can torch additional calories without feeling the extra burn

by Karen Asp
bench press light weight picture
Photograph: Levi Brown

Take-it-easier strategy: Work out with a friend.
The evidence: When people team up with a training partner they exercise an average of 23 to 42 minutes longer than solo sweaters do, according to a study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
The explanation: “Exercising with other people is simply more entertaining than exercising alone,” says Genevieve Fridlund Dunton, PhD, MPH, assistant professor in the department of preventive medicine at the University of Southern California. “It can also put you in a more competitive mind-set. Both effects may motivate you to go longer.”
Do it yourself: Four-legged workout partners count, too. Research published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health found that dog owners who exercise their furry friends are more physically active overall and log about 30 minutes more of walking each week than non–dog owners. Bringing your pooch along might even spur you to walk a little faster: 23 percent of study participants said their dogs make them move somewhat faster, while 9 percent said they go a lot faster with their dog than without.

Next: Muscles Sore? They Shouldn't Be

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Originally published in the April 2012 issue

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Ellen Wood04.07.2012

Excellent article! Thank you, More and Karen Asp. One of my daily exercises is doing the Tibetan Rites of Rejuvenation. Often I tune in and stay in the present moment while doing them. But some days I don't feel like doing them because I'm eager to get started on a project, so I coax myself with a treat: I get to listen to an inspirational teleseminar I've recorded and put on my iPod. Before I know it, I've done 21 of each and feel FAR better and more energized for the project ahead.

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