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'Make Moving Fun,' Says Dr. Nelson Trujillo

You know you need to “move” to stay healthy, but gathering the motivation is another matter. If you're not motivated to exercise, chances are it's because you're not having any fun.

“Fitting more movement into your life is just a matter of finding physical activities that you find enjoyable. We find time to do what’s fun,” BCH cardiologist Nelson Trujillo, MD, told the crowd attending a meeting hosted by Boulder Transportation Connections, an organization focused on helping Boulder to become a healthier, less congested community.

Less than 5 percent of adults engage in the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity each day. Of those who do start “moving” or exercising, nearly 50 percent stop within six months.

“The problem is that many people often have the wrong reasons why they should move. The classic whys are ‘I want to live longer.’ ‘I want to lower my cholesterol.’ ‘I want to look good in my bikini,’ ” Dr. Trujillo said. “But there’s a lot of research literature that says these whys don’t motivate people to move.”

In fact, research literature suggests when movement is fun, it becomes intrinsically rewarding. What’s more, Dr. Trujillo explained, it can have a lasting effect. When exercise is viewed as enjoyable, it's more likely to lead to regular physical activity and deliver health and wellness benefits.

He said, “Forget about saying to yourself, 'This kind of exercise helps prevent diabetes, or that kind of exercise treats my blood pressure.' Find whatever activity you enjoy doing – fencing, shooting hoops at the local park, jumping rope or riding your bike. The key to staying motivated to move is finding things you love to do."