Importance of Physical Activity Essay Example

Physical activity is often under scrutiny by its many participants. How often are the words “I hate running” or “It takes too much time” spewed from the lips of surrounding peers? One might argue too often. What many of these peers fail to acknowledge is that lack of physical activity, whether it be running or swimming, increases the risk for cardiovascular disease and a broadening assortment of other chronic diseases. These diseases include, but are not limited to, diabetes mellitus, colon cancer, breast cancer, obesity, hypertension, bone and joint diseases (osteoporosis and osteoarthritis), and depression (Lee et al., 2001). The risk for these diseases can be significantly decreased by the addition of exercise, making exercise a reasonably modifiable risk factor (Warburton et al. 2006). In this paper we aim to acknowledge the barriers to engaging in physical activity and how one might be able to manipulate one’s attitudes and motivation, in order to increase physical activity, thus decreasing one’s susceptibility correlating diseases.

The benefits of physical activity spread far and wide, even small improvements in physical activity can have tremendous effects on the health outcomes of its participants (Warburton et al. 2006). One primary determiner of physical activity are the attitudes that participants hold towards physical activity. Attitudes are any combination of emotions, beliefs, or behaviors towards a person, place or thing. (Taylor, 2018). Attitudes can be both subconscious and conscious states of being that manipulate how we interact with our environment. (Taylor, 2018). It is essential that we acknowledge the influence that attitudes have on our involvement in physical activity. The altering of one’s attitudes may be the key to altering one's amount of physical activity. In order to change someone’s attitude, one must first determine what their attitudes are. One's attitude can be determined through an in-depth and structured conversation. A person must be given well-thought-out questions where they are verbally expected to express their attitudes toward exercise, or they may write down answers down in a journal. Both tactics would aim at getting to the bottom on one’s beliefs and emotions toward physical activity. This would aid in configuring a set attitude towards physical activity, which would assist in creating plan to increase one’s amount of physical activity through the altering of one’s attitude.

Furthermore, one’s mindset would need to be made positive, in order to change one's attitude on physical activity. For example, a subject’s belief on exercise that supports a negative outlook may be that exercise is hard or unlikable. One might work around this belief by providing exercise routines that are personally geared toward a subject. If someone does not want to “feel” as though he or she are working out, we can focus on providing exercises that are easier, or providing workouts a subject enjoys. The goal is not to get the subject to engage in exercise. The goal is to get them to engage, enjoy, and continue to engage in an exercise. Changing the outlook of what is exercise, lets one change their attitude toward exercise. A positive outlook helps create a positive attitude, which in effect helps increase physical activity.

Above we have analyzed how the improvement of self-positivity can aid in changing one’s attitude proceeding physical activity. Another outlook in increasing physical activity is altering one’s motivation. Motivation is a central aspect of the Self Determination Theory, which insists that motivation is a key to performing health behaviors, such as exercise (Taylor, 2018). If a subject typically exercises alone, their sense of relatedness or connection to others may be low. A way to alter one’s gym environment is to bring a supportive companion, in the form of family or friends, to exercise. Having a supportive companion engaging in the same environment serves as a form of motivation. Supportive companions can help increase motivation by increasing a subject’s sense of autonomy, competence, and relatedness (Taylor, 2018). A companion can help encourage, support, and motivate subjects by asking them to accompany them to exercise. Encouragement strengthens a subject’s competence because acknowledging that a peer, in the same environment, is capable of engaging in an activity, helps a subject acknowledge their ability to engage in that same activity. In retrospect, a subject’s ability to acknowledge their ability to engage in an activity also increases their perceived sense of control, otherwise known as autonomy. Motivation in effect proves to be a reliable indicator of physical activity. In order to increase physical activity an increase in motivation, through the use of supportive companions is needed to make this change.

Upon reviewing the above procedures and plans to increase physical fitness, thus in improving health disparities, it is impossible to say there are no faults to said plan. These procedures bring to light the likelihood of success? When reviewing the effectiveness of attitudes and motivation on physical activity, we consider how these factors support or neglect health psychology factors through the lens of the biopsychosocial model, habits, and health limitations.

As we analyze the amount of physical activity, we used motivation as a causing factor used to determine the increases/decreases in activity. A manipulating factor of motivation was determined to be the addition of a supportive partner. Based on the University of Alabama’s studies it was found that the use of exercise companions as a support mechanism increased the amount of exercise people partook in. This increase in exercise significantly increased by the addition of supportive characteristics engaged in by this partner (University of Alabama, 2016). This data helps support the effect that a supporting companion can have on one’s motivation and in effect amount of physical fitness. The downside to the use of Motivation is that it does not consider biological or psychological factors of the biopsychosocial model. The biopsychosocial model of health is an outline that insists that the combination of social, psychological, and biological factors affect the cause, appearance, and result of health and diseases. The biopsychosocial model insists that a good plan or procedure, aiming to change health behaviors, has to include a factor from each of the three section within the biopsychosocial model (Taylor, 2018). In the use of Motivation mixed with supportive companions, we acknowledge the use of social factors through the use of supporting companions but neglect to include biological and psychological factors.

Upon analyzing the effect of attitudes on physical activity, it is essential to recognize that attitudes neglect both factors of the biopsychosocial model as well as factors of the effect of habits. In the use of attitudes, we acknowledge the use of psychological factors through the use of self-positivity but neglect to include social and psychological factors. Another issue that the attitude routine of changing behavior is it would not create a long-lasting change because it does not aid in creating a habit. A habit is a frequently repeated behavior that does not include a thought process, a habit is automatic (Taylor, 2018). The act of a going to a gym with a partner does not make it repetitive, automatic or unconscious. In the said scenario of attitudes one would have to think about when their exercise partner was going to the gym and coordinate a plan. In order to create a habit, which is a beneficial way to enforce exercising regularly, one would have to have set a scheduled workout routine. This plan would have to be replicated regularly for over 6 months to create a habit. This routine should not change, in order to create an exercise habit, said routine would need to be consistent.

There is undeniable evidence that factors such as increased attitudes and motivation play a contribution to the increase in physical activity and the decrease in health risks such as cardiovascular disease and an increasing collection of other chronic diseases. There appears to be a strong correlation between attitudes and self-positivity, such that most subjects with positive attitudes toward physical activity will engage in the increased amount of physical activity. The Self Determination Theory suggests that an increase in motivation will likewise increase the amount of physical activity of subjects. In reconsideration, some alterations could be made to these procedures to help increase or retain the effect that these factors have on physical activity — alterations such as coordinating habits and other sections of the biopsychosocial model. The concept of physical activity differs in every subject. It is impossible to create a plan that will work for everyone, so we must recognize that our effort may only be useful for some. Keeping one's differences in mind might be beneficial to create a procedure that accounts for these differences. A procedure that can be manipulated for each of its subjects would be ideal. Individual differences are essential to accept because the one fact that we can count on is that that physical activity is needed in order for people to maintain in good health. The sooner we accept these differences, the faster we can produce a procedure adaptable enough to change engagement in physical activity for the better.


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