No matter how much you might envision the 'perfect' beach body or fantasise about a clean-living lifestyle, very few us manage to maintain a constant level of motivation when it comes to our fitness routine.

After a brief period of intense dedication, the vast majority of us find our enthusiasm waning as we grapple with the idea of lacing up our trainers for yet another cardio session – a typical response to exercise which researchers from the University of Pennsylvania decided to study in greater detail.

According to a report in Glamour Health, researchers were eager to ascertain the factors which have the greatest influence on a person's workout motivation and recruited 281 people for the purposes of a 26-week study.

In the first half of the study, participants were divided into 4 groups; one of whom had no financial incentive, one who received $1.40 for every day that they reached their fitness goals, one who were entered into a lottery and one who received $42 at the beginning but lost $1.40 for every day they didn't reach their targets.

Researchers established that the group who received the money upfront were the most motivated and exercised a whopping 50% more than the group who were given no financial incentive.

Commenting on the findings, Lead study author Mitesh Patel, M.D., an assistant professor of Medicine and Health Care Management at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine insists that the results shed light on a particular quirk of human nature.

“We know that people are irrational in predictable ways. We tend to more motivated by losses rather than gains, and more motivated by things in the present vs. Future,” he explained.

So how can these findings work to benefit our own lives? According to clinical psychologist John Mayer, investing in new fitness gear is a practical example of the study's findings because an individual is likely to feel a loss in their investment for every day they choose not to make use of their new clothes or equipment.

So, what do you think? Will you be putting cash aside and slowly filtering it throughout the family for every gym session you miss?!


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