Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Boomers building muscle at the gym -- but where's the passion

Date:
August 6, 2014
Source:
Concordia University
Summary:
Our motivations for exercise, from looking good to having fun, have been evaluated by researchers who find that for the baby boom generation, passion is the most important motivator -- a fact the fitness industry should embrace. “The marketing needs to be about passion, around finding deep personal meaning in physical activity,” one author says. “If you watch people playing tennis or slaloming down a hill, they’re not counting calories.”

As the first generation to embrace exercise, baby boomers continue going to the gym, yet more out of necessity than for the challenge and enjoyment of physical activity.

In a study recently published in the International Journal of Wellbeing, James Gavin, a professor in Concordia’s Department of Applied Human Sciences, investigates our motivations for exercise, from looking good to having fun. He finds that for the baby boom generation, passion is the most important motivator — a fact the fitness industry should embrace.

He says that once we connect with our passion, motivation can flow backward to sustain participation in cross-training activities: for instance a person will be keener to put in time on the treadmill if she knows it will help her have more fun skiing in winter.

Gavin’s study surveyed 1,885 participants at YMCA facilities across Montreal and examined responses by age-group — breaking answers down by decade, from the teens to 50 and over. Of four major motivation categories, “toned and fit” was the top motivator in all age groups, followed by “stress reduction.”

Yet perhaps more unexpectedly for a generation who came of age in the era when exercise became a way of life, the two final categories, “mental toughness” (defined as embracing activity for its adventure and challenge) and “fun and friends” (social motivations), both declined with increasing age.

Gavin says he’s surprised by the findings, but less so when he surveys the scene at his local gym. “Exercise is often perceived as a necessary evil. When I go to a gym and look around, I don’t see a lot of excitement or laughter — people are putting in their time almost as prisoners on their solitary workout stations. They’re working away, and relieved when it’s over.”

Although gratified by the effects on their health, many who are dedicated to fitness don’t experience much joy in pursuing active lifestyles, which Gavin says is cause for concern because eventually this lack of deep motivation may cause boomers to stop making the effort.

“What stunned me was when we think of boomers — healthy ambulatory individuals who are reasonably robust and who theoretically have more time on their hands — one might imagine they would want to continue having fun and experiencing personal challenge and growth in what they’re doing,” says Gavin. As a contrast, he points to the excitement and spontaneity that young children display in their physical activities.

Gavin says the results of his study propose a challenge for the fitness industry to move away from machine-dominated options toward personally meaningful and socially connected pursuits. He points to activities where passion happens in the sport itself and physical benefits are wonderful secondary outcomes. Team sports and martial arts are clear examples — even though many older adults mistakenly see themselves as “too old” for these activities.

“The marketing needs to be about passion, around finding deep personal meaning in physical activity,” says Gavin. “If you watch people playing tennis or slaloming down a hill, they’re not counting calories.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Concordia University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. James Gavin, Matthew Keough, Michael Abravanel, Tatiana Moudrakovski, Madeleine Mcbrearty. Motivations for Participation in Physical Activity Across the Lifespan. International Journal of Wellbeing, August 2014

Cite This Page:

Concordia University. "Boomers building muscle at the gym -- but where's the passion." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140806125058.htm>.
Concordia University. (2014, August 6). Boomers building muscle at the gym -- but where's the passion. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140806125058.htm
Concordia University. "Boomers building muscle at the gym -- but where's the passion." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140806125058.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) More than 100 tons of medical supplies were sent to West Africa on Saturday, but aid workers say the global response is still sluggish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins