HEALTHY LIVING
03/23/2014 11:22 am ET | Updated Mar 23, 2014

Doing This Could Make You More Motivated To Exercise

Mike Harrington via Getty Images

Remember that time your exercise class had awesome music and fun gear -- and left you feeling like you had a thorough workout?

Keeping this memory in mind could be the key to motivating you to exercise, a small new study suggests.

Researchers from the University of New Hampshire found that when study participants were asked to think about positive memories around exercise, they had higher levels of subsequent exercise compared with people who didn't recall memories about exercise.

The study is published in the journal Memory and is based on data from about 150 students. For the study, the students were split up into three groups: One group was asked to think about something positive that happened that would increase exercise motivation, another group was asked to think about something negative that happened that would increase their motivation to exercise, and the third group was not asked to recall any memory. All the students were also asked to rate their future intentions to exercise.

Eight days later, the students filled out a survey saying how much they exercised the week prior. Researchers not only found that those who recalled the positive memories exercised more than those not asked to recall any memories, but those who recalled negative memories also exercised more than those not asked to recall any memories. However, the negative memory recallers exercised less than those asked to recall positive memories.

Memory isn't the only thing you can harness to boost your exercise motivation. Other research has shown that having a workout partner and financial incentives could also help.

CONVERSATIONS