Science/Medicine
4:01 pm
Sat October 1, 2011

U of M study questions why some people exercise -- and why others don't

A University of Michigan researcher says the medical community may be stressing the wrong benefits to get people to exercise more. 

We’ve all heard it:  "Exercise is good for your health." "You’ll live longer." 

But are those the right messages?  Michelle Segar says no.  She’s a research investigator for the U-M Institute for Research on Women and Gender.

Segar conducted a study of full-time working middle-age women and their exercise habits. It shows those who exercised the most did so because exercise helped them enjoy life now. 

“Exercising for disease prevention or to age well isn’t essential today, so it gets put on the bottom of the list," says Segar. 

She says rebranding exercise as a way to improve a person’s immediate quality of life rather than something else less tangible in the future may help reverse the nation’s obesity problem by getting more people exercising. 

The U-M study appears in the latest issue of The International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.