Science says we’re not enjoying our workouts because they aren’t intense enough. According to a new study, the harder the workout, the more “fun” they are and more likely we are to stick with it. Even if it kicks our butts. Researchers from the McMaster University in Canada studied forty young and healthy (but sedentary) adults. They divided the group and gave half of them exercise on a stationary bike three times a week for six weeks — half doing high-intensity interval training, and half doing consistent, moderate-intensity exercise. The researchers studied things like heart rate, aerobic endurance, and total output.
At the end of the week, the researchers gauged the happiness levels in both groups.
By the third week of the study, the results were clear. Those in high-intensity interval training group enjoyed their workouts more and their enjoyment levels continued to increase each week. Those in the moderate work out group had stable happiness levels, but they were lower than those doing high-intensity exercise routines.
The research found that the only time the high intensity work outs don’t work is if we can’t finish them (duh). So if a workout is too hard to finished, we don’t feel successful or accomplished and we give up on them. Sound familiar?
Why do these hard-core workouts make us so happy? The researchers found that increases in total power output predicted exercise enjoyment — the stronger the participants got during each workout, the more likely they were to enjoy it #feeltheburn. Positive reinforcement along with increasing results makes us more motivated to keep going.
If you can, maybe it’s time to invest in a boot camp or high intensity workout class!