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Motivation for physical activity | Izaak Lavarenne, Masso-Kiné 


Izaak Lavarenne


Many of us have already tried to start a new physical activity in order to improve our lifestyle. Most of us fail once or several times before we manage to maintain this new change in our lives.

Why did they fail?

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Getting active for the right reasons

Resolution season is in full swing right now and many of those resolutionists will hit a snag sooner or later. There are several reasons why they may not make it.

Today's society likes to blame it on some lack of conviction and individual willpower, which is even more discouraging for those who encounter resistance to this new change.

They come to believe that there is something wrong with themselves, when it may be that the problem lies in the nature of the physical activity they are trying to adopt.

Too often, as a Kinesiologist, I see people who are unhappy because their physical activity is not meeting their needs and expectations.

And no! We are not all made to go to the gym religiously or to run around outside (although we are all capable of it), it all depends on our motivation to be physically active.


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Here are 6 common motivations for physical activity: xx xx

1: Aesthetics

Let's be honest, many people do physical activity to achieve a desired physique.

Often to gain muscle mass, reduce body fat, develop specific muscles or improve posture, the reasons vary, but often revolve around physical appearance.

Fortunately for people who fall into this category, the activities currently in vogue, weight training and the gym in general is very compatible with aesthetic goals.

Other activities that could fall into this category are classical gymnastics and aerobic activities.

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2: Health

Another great motivator for physical activity is the prevention of various medical complications.

People often find themselves in this category following a worrying announcement from the doctor, either for themselves or for a loved one.

A second reason why people engage in physical activity for prevention is advancing age.

The third subgroup is those who want to lose weight to avoid medical complications more than for appearance.

Indoor training is also very appropriate here, as is running, cycling and other aerobic activities, which are generally individual activities.

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3: The functional side

Some people have jobs that are still quite physical and need to maintain their fitness to stay productive at work. These people maintain their body as a work tool.

They therefore look for activities that replicate the demands of their job. As a result, the nature of the physical activity will vary with the job.

A warehouse clerk might be attracted to powerlifting, a mill worker might be interested in ice hockey, or a letter carrier might have a penchant for basketball.

In general, they have a fairly down-to-earth outlook that means they will choose a physical activity that is easily accessible to them.

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4: Meeting challenges

Performance is a highly valued concept in our twenty-first century society. It is therefore not surprising that many people are looking to surpass themselves in their physical activities.

This motivation is somewhat present in all other groups of people, but these people orient their choices mainly in this direction.

Any intense activity that offers concrete physical challenges can satisfy this category of the population. Climbing, athletics, crossfit and powerlifting come to mind.

All disciplines with objective ratings that make the effort and success undeniable.

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5: Socialization

Next come the people who practice their physical activity for the social side of the thing. The nature of the activity is secondary to the interpersonal interactions it allows.

They are increasingly moving away from the weight room, as they are often the ones who spend more time there chatting rather than working out.

Team sports are the preferred activities for these people as they allow and even require communication to achieve good results. Soccer, volleyball, field hockey, cricket or ultimate frisbee come to mind.

However, the sport chosen will depend on its popularity in the practitioner's social circles.

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6: Nature

Some people practice their physical activity in a very impersonal way, putting the importance not on their person, but on their environment.

These people love to lose themselves in the open air and commune with nature. You will understand that they will be very unhappy if they are confined indoors, no matter what activity is offered to them.

These people get an improved psychological, mental or even spiritual state from their outdoor labyrinths, but in a very abandoned way. They practice walking, hiking, canoeing or snowshoeing.

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What about the others?

There are many other reasons why people do their physical activities.

Some will practice yoga or tai chi for the spiritual introspection that can reveal much about themselves, others will prefer board sports or mountain biking for the adrenaline and excitement that comes with awakening the senses.

The important thing to remember is that everyone's motivation is different and that you may well belong to more than one category at the same time.

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In conclusion...

In conclusion, recognizing what you are really looking for in your physical activity will help you choose the right one and appreciate the hours spent taking care of your body.

Of course, there are many other factors to consider when choosing the perfect physical activity (e.g.: body parts used, equipment required, health problems and individual needs, etc.), but motivation is the first criterion to satisfy in order to be in line with your lifestyle.

The rest of this article will come next month when we will explore the relationships to the body that can be associated with each of the previous groups and the pitfalls they propose.

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Izaak Lavarenne, Masso-Kiné NDG