Although the majority of Polish residents agree that physical activity is an important element of preventive health care (88%), currently every one in three Poles do not undertake any physical activity even once a month. Thei surroundings also have an impact on the lack of exercise. What reasons for the lack of activity do inactive people indicate most often?
According to the MultiSport Index 2023 survey commissioned by Benefit Systems, the most common reasons for giving up physical activity include lack of time (33%) and health factors such as illness (32%) or injury (13%). However, for one in five physically inactive respondents the main excuse remains the lack of desire to exercise.
The lack of desire to be active can also be the result of bad role models. As much as 71% of people who use the above excuse admit that their family members and their immediate surroundings are also not physically active.
– Parents play an important role in shaping the habits of their children from an early age. This applies to both physical activity and good habits in the field of nutrition or, for example, reading books. If children grow up in a family where physical activity is neglected, they may adopt this attitude and show no interest in sport in their adult life or school years. That is why it is important to instil the “bug” for sport in children from an early age when the opportunities to play football with friends or go to additional sports activities are the greatest – says Franciszek Ostaszewski, psychologist from SWPS University.
A similar opinion is shared by Dr. Tomasz Półgrabski, president of the MultiSport Foundation, which activates children and youth through classes in fitness clubs: – Research by Dutch scientists show that children who were physically active in early life could later boast of both better mental wellbeing and higher self-esteem. However, for this to happen, both the correct role models from the parents and their daily support in activating the youngest are needed so that the phone or computer does not become an excuse to be inactive.
Perseverance is key
According to psychologist Franciszek Ostaszewski, it is worth considering what benefits physical activity can give us and, on this basis, set realistic short and long-term goals which will help maintain motivation and regularity.
– We need to shift our way of thinking. Many people believe that getting involved in sport means changing their lives by 180 degrees and because of this thinking they give up at the very beginning. And that’s not the case at all. It is very important to first implement small changes and habits in our everyday life: walk more, use the stairs more often than the elevator, look for spontaneous exercise. We should keep in mind that changing habits takes time and effort. Perseverance, enjoying small progress and allowing yourself to be flexible are important – says the psychologist.
Research show that the time to develop a healthy habit is an individual matter and ranges from 18 to 254 days. According to Iwona Piątkowska, doctor of physical culture in the field of biomedical sciences, it is worth being patient, because getting up from the couch more often will pay off not only in better health but also in greater efficiency at work or study. This is confirmed by the results of the MultiSport Index report (79% of active Poles confirm that regular physical activity increases their efficiency and commitment at work) as well as research cited by the expert:
– When a group that watched a TV series for an hour was compared to a group that rode a stationary bike for the same amount of time (of which 50 minutes were at 85% of their maximum heart rate), it turned out that the “cycling” group had more significantly better results in tests that require focus and concentration for two hours after the training – sums up Dr. Piątkowska.
Senior PR Specialist Benefit Systems