Do you live your life with a “can do” attitude? Or do you believe that fate determines much of what happens to you? It turns out that which approach you take may determine how healthy your lifestyle is.
A new study out of Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research involved data from 7,000 people that had been collected in the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey. This data included information on each individual’s diet, exercise and personality type. The researchers found that people who believed that they were in control of their own lives through their actions actually ate a better diet, exercised less, smoked less and didn’t engage in binge drinking.
The study also found that men and women have different takes on how a healthy lifestyle benefits them. The researchers found that men wanted to see physical results based on their healthy choices. However, women were more likely to enjoy leading a healthy lifestyle.
Dr. Deborah Cobb-Clark, the institute’s director, believes that the study could offer policymakers some guidance. “Our research shows a direct link between the type of personality a person has and a healthy lifestyle,” she said. “The main policy response to the obesity epidemic has been the provision of better information, but information alone is insufficient to change people’s eating habits. Understanding the psychological underpinning of a person’s eating patterns and exercise habits is central to understanding obesity.”
Additionally, policies may need to be targeted toward a specific gender. “What works well for women may not work well for men,” Dr. Cobb-Clark stated. “Gender specific policy initiatives which respond to these objectives may be particularly helpful in promoting healthy lifestyles.”
So how can you change your attitude about the elements found in a healthy lifestyle? Let’s start with exercise. Livestrong.com suggests that a negative attitude can really hamper your efforts toward becoming more fit. The organization recommends the following steps:
- Exercise does not have to equal boredom. Many people equate exercise with working out on a treadmill or a stationary bicycle. However, having a varied routine that you enjoy will help you stay positive about exercise. So pick fun activities – maybe tennis, bicycling or dancing – and do them regularly.
- Physical exercise also improves your mental outlook. “Physical activity has the power to lift depression, calm anxiety and alleviate stress,” Livestrong’s website states. Exercise actually causes changes in the chemicals in the brain that enhance a good mood, kill pain and lower stress-related hormones.
- Opt for high-intensity interval training if you need to save time. Already leading a too-packed life? Intervals involve short, intense bursts of exercise followed by short recovery breaks. Researchers have found that three 20-minute sessions of this type of exercise can provide the same benefits as an hour of the same exercise done at a more leisurely pace.
- Or go for exercise that doesn’t stress out your body. Which is better -- 40 minutes of brisk walking at a moderate intensity (3-4 miles per hour) vs. jogging for 20 minutes? Turns out that both burn the same amount of calories and also provide the same protection from heart disease. For me, jogging tends to be painful on my knees, so I’d much rather do the walking (and my dog is really happy about that). What about you?
- Join up with others! Exercise partners can help you be accountable. Plus, it’s more fun to exercise with someone else. So find someone who also loves to do the activities that you enjoy and you’ll have added incentive to have fun and to exercise.
- Find low-cost options. Exercising doesn’t necessary equal paying a lot of money. One of my favorite exercises is walking my dog several miles most days each week. The only cost – a periodic purchase of new exercise shoes. You can also use exercise videos in place of a class or do weight-bearing exercises such as a plank instead of lifting weights.
These points can help you foster a "can do" attitude about exercise and
I think the same can be true regarding the other parts of a healthy lifestyle. Let's take diet, for instance. You can pick one or two new fruits and vegetables when you visit the grocery store. You can awaken your taste buds by trying a new cuisine. And you can check out online blogs that offer healthy recipes and cooking tips so you can start making your own meals instead of dining out so often.
In other words, taking specific steps towardwill help you take charge of your own lifestyle choices. And if the findings from Melbourne study holds true, you will be responsible for creating a healthier body, mind and “can do” spirit.
Primary Sources for This Sharepost:
Rose, G. (2011). How to change your attitude about exercise.
The University of Melbourne. (2012). Economics used to show how a healthy outlook leads to a healthy lifestyle. Press release.
Published On: October 01, 2012