Fitness Articles

One Easy Way to Make Exercise Feel Easier

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A Bloomsburg University study found that women reported that their treadmill workouts seemed easier when they received positive feedback from another person. Encouraging words like "You can do it," "Good job," or "Keep going" can come from a friend, trainer, instructor, or buddy. Researchers aren't sure why the words have such an impact—whether the comments distracted them from the difficulty or merely motivated them. 

Action Sparked
If you find it hard to get through a tough workout, bring a buddy along, or hire a personal trainer. Or, try a group fitness class, where you'll have a room full of people and an instructor pushing you along. Motivation works both ways. Don't be afraid to compliment the stranger on the bike next to you. After all, what goes around comes around.
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About The Author

Nicole Nichols Nicole Nichols
Nicole was named "America's Top Personal Trainer to Watch" in 2011. A certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with a bachelor's degree in health education, she loves living a healthy and fit lifestyle and helping others do the same. Her DVDs "Total Body Sculpting" and "28 Day Boot Camp" (a best seller) are available online and in stores nationwide. Read Nicole's full bio and blog posts.

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Member Comments

  • I can see both sides of this issue. When I go to the gym to use the treadmill it seems easier just because I know there are other people working out. I don't feel alone. It is my mood or how I feel (such as my knees) that determines how hard I work out that day. A slow workout is better than just sitting at home on the couch.
    When I run in a 5K I think it might be easier if I had a friend who ran my speed or a little faster. Sometimes I try not to let people pass or pass too many, then get tired and just walk. Obviously I've not quite learned how to keep up a pace that pushes me but is not too hard so that I give up.
    I need to get the music on my ipod organized into playlists for running.
    A little bit of encouragement is helpful to me - but too much feels like pressure - and actually has the opposite effect. Then I am likely to give up or go more slowly.

    - 3/1/2014 9:14:21 PM
  • I can see both sides of this issue. When I go to the gym to use the treadmill it seems easier just because I know there are other people working out. I don't feel alone. It is my mood or how I feel (such as my knees) that determines how hard I work out that day. A slow workout is better than just sitting at home on the couch.
    When I run in a 5K I think it might be easier if I had a friend who ran my speed or a little faster. Sometimes I try not to let people pass or pass too many, then get tired and just walk. Obviously I've not quite learned how to keep up a pace that pushes me but is not too hard so that I give up.
    I need to get the music on my ipod organized into playlists for running.
    A little bit of encouragement is helpful to me - but too much feels like pressure - and actually has the opposite effect. Then I am likely to give up or go more slowly.

    - 3/1/2014 8:51:24 PM
  • I can't even begin to fathom not being focused enough to need a cheerleader in order to make yourself do what you need to do. Perhaps that's why I find yap-yap-yappy gym buddies so irksome.

    Has anyone ever done a study on the negative effect workout buddies have on actual effort expended? Based on what I have observed, people working out in groups/pairs are very rarely breaking a sweat. Perhaps it seems easier because you're not working hard enough while you're chatting. - 3/1/2014 8:35:30 PM
  • Great article. - 9/15/2013 6:18:52 PM
  • People who are PAYING a PT can't afford to give up and quit. If they could do it on their own, then they wouldn't be putting out all that money for the PT.
    Encouragement at the gym is good. - 12/28/2009 4:31:31 PM
  • I agree; encouragement is gold--and not just at the gym! - 11/8/2008 10:05:25 AM
  • this is really true. i go farther and push myself more when my husband is out with me. when i feel like i cannot go much farther, he tells me i can go just a ittle farther, and it helps me keep going - 11/8/2008 6:16:21 AM
  • so true. my easiest / most rewarding days at the gym are when i'm in my aerobics classes. the hour of cardio passes by so quickly, and you can't bail out once you've started. also, you become friendly with the core group of members who attend and it's a very encouraging atmosphere. - 11/6/2008 1:36:49 PM
  • so true. my easiest / most rewarding days at the gym are when i'm in my aerobics classes. the hour of cardio passes by so quickly, and you can't bail out once you've started. also, you become friendly with the core group of members who attend and it's a very encouraging atmosphere. - 11/6/2008 1:36:43 PM
  • so true. my easiest / most rewarding days at the gym are when i'm in my aerobics classes. the hour of cardio passes by so quickly, and you can't bail out once you've started. also, you become friendly with the core group of members who attend and it's a very encouraging atmosphere. - 11/6/2008 1:36:28 PM
  • I even notice this with work out videos like Billy's Tae Bo. If I mute the television and don't listen to him I feel more discouraged and find it more tiring to keep up. With it un-muted he talks to the viewers and offers encouraging words and motivation, I know he's not actually talking to ME personally, but it still helps. - 11/6/2008 12:41:52 PM
  • Remember, People often attempt to live their lives backward..They try to have more "things" or more money, in order to do more of what they want, so they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who YOU really are, then do what you need to do, in order to have what you want! Margaret Young...
    This atricle is a reflection of what people need on a daily basis--to see another person's smile and a soft 'hello' as a silent encouragement to keep pressing on--which encourages yourself to encourage someone else, and so on, and so on, and so on and so on.... I 'm a newbie, but I Praise GOD for His foresight of SPARK PEOPLE.
    - 10/25/2008 2:51:34 AM
  • I always talk to older people at the gym (I'm older) and encourage them, because I'm HAPPY to see them there, rather than at home on the sofa. Great article. - 6/15/2008 4:30:47 PM
  • What a great reminder! I know I'm very encouraged by positive comments, and will be more conscious to give others positive encouragement, too! - 4/20/2008 11:08:59 AM
  • This article is so interesting, it hits the point of why people do so well when they hire personal trainers or attend classes, great reading selection. - 2/24/2008 6:05:30 PM
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