Taking up physical exercise… for good!



The numerous New Year's resolutions made each year—and the speed with which they are abandoned—attest to the fact that people are filled with good intentions when it comes to their health, but have a hard time taking the necessary steps to achieve their goals.

Paule Miquelon, a researcher in the Department of Psychology at Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, took a close look at the role of action planning and coping planning (identifying obstacles and ways of overcoming them) in the achievement of physical activity goals, and observed that motivation and planning influence an individual's capacity for self-regulation of goal pursuit.

Motivation and planning influence an individual's capacity for self-regulation of goal pursuit.

Individuals who adopt a physical activity by choice or for pleasure, and who set themselves a specific action plan, have a better chance of persisting, at least on the short term (one month). Miquelon would now like to verify whether this impact is maintained over a longer period (six months).

At a time when the adoption and maintenance of physical activity is a public health priority with significant economic, social and health impacts, the results of this research have important implications. They make it possible to target motivation factors that can be worked on in order to reduce the health problems linked to a sedentary lifestyle and their associated health costs.

The study's findings have been the subject of numerous presentations in Québec and the rest of Canada, Austria, France and the United States. They have also been featured in the mainstream media, including Tout le monde dehors on Télé-Québec, Le Nouvelliste newspaper and Découvrir magazine.