Self purpose = more physical activity
Having a purpose in life means a person is more likely to be physically active, according to new research.
Experts at the University of Colorado Denver looked into previous studies that found a link between the two areas, and asked 104 people to fill out questionnaires about their health and levels of purpose and optimism. People then wore accelerometers, which calculated their physical activity over three days, giving more accurate results than relying on participants to give feedback.
In the findings, published in the Journal of Health Psychology, it was found that those who were up and about more felt they have more meaning in life.
“Reminding yourself what gives your life meaning and purpose, and connecting that to why you want to be physically active, could improve the chances that you stick with it,” study author Stephanie A. Hooker of the University of Colorado Denver told Time.com.
Despite it not being a large group of people tested, and three days not being long enough to determine the person's overall physical activity, it does give the experts a better idea of the subject.
“We believe that having a strong sense of purpose in life gives people reasons or the ‘whys’ of engaging in healthy behaviours,” Stephanie added. “Healthy behaviours, like physical activity, are not inherently pleasurable for all people, but connecting physical activity to one’s innermost values and goals may increase the likelihood that people engage in these behaviours on a regular basis.”
On whether a sense of purpose can be cultivated, Stephanie explained there are many ways to help boost a person's self-worth, from long-term goal setting to reflective journaling. She also believes that finding out the reason why people want to get healthier all round is important so health providers can support them on their journey.