We Asked Fitness Psychology Pros Whether or Not Workouts Need to Be Enjoyable to Be Effective – Well+Good

Perhaps one of the lasting (albeit misguided) impacts of the “no pain, no gain” marketing approach to fitness is that it made pleasure seem like something you shouldn’t expect from a good sweat session. In truth, workouts that push you outside of your comfort zone can also make you feel good, like increasing your maximum strength. And there’s plenty of proof that low-intensity fitness can be both fun and beneficial. Hello, walking. However, when it comes to the basic question “should workouts be enjoyable?,” mental health experts say that the answer is complex.

In simple psychological terms, we’re far more likely to repeat movement styles we enjoy than movement styles we hate, says Evan Lawrence, a licensed mental health counselor and certified personal trainer. “Perception affects everything. If you like what you’re doing, you’re more likely to do it again. And seeing as one of the main ways to get the most out of exercise is to build consistency around it, there is certainly benefit from enjoying it,” he says.

Workouts that make you feel good play into self-determination theory, a framework for understanding human motivation first created in 1985. “Self-determination theory is based on the idea that motivation comes from three things: competence, autonomy, and relatedness,” says performance consultant Saara Haapanen, a PhD candidate in sports and exercise psychology as the University of Jyväskylä in Finland. Competence is your ability to perform an activity; autonomy refers to your freedom to choose that activity, and relatedness means your ability to do that activity in the company of others. When you have all three components in a single workout setting, you have the motivation “trifecta,” according to Haapanen.

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Workouts led by these three qualities also make it easier for you to find your “why” for working out. For example, maybe you go to dance classes because you love the relatedness benefits you get from busting a move …….

Source: https://www.wellandgood.com/should-working-out-be-enjoyable/

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