Catching Katy

Reads, Eats, & Everything Else

Exercise Perception

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Another TED Talk listened to while running recently! Emily Balcetis, a social psychologist, looks at the factors that play into a person’s perception of exercise, which greatly influences their motivation to exercise. I am very lucky in that I am naturally motivated to exercise and be active (mainly running), but I know it does not come easy for a lot of people. Looking at physical markers (waist and hip size) as well as perception, Emily Balcetis discusses the factors that play into a person’s motivation to exercise.

The studies and results are interesting, but the main lesson learned is not necessarily that helpful – they learned that those people who kept their “eye on the prize” (i.e. focused on the finish line) viewed the distance to the finish line as shorter. But if you’re a trainer, for example, you can’t just tell your clients to focus on the finish line and expect their motivation to increase. It’s way more complicated than that.

But the ideas of varied perception are very interesting and have even been very relevant lately (dress being white/gold or black/blue). Knowing that people’s perception of exercise varies and knowing what factors correlate with different perceptions can be helpful to professionals who work with people in their plans for exercise and nutrition.

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