Can having the right mindset elevate the effectiveness of your exercise? According to a recent exercise carried out at Harvard, the answer is yes.

This research has the power to transform the way we think about exercise and staying healthy. Instead of simply performing exercise with no real thought to its impact, individuals see more benefits if they KNOW that they’re going to see results and feel better, and armed with the right information.

Our aim at Change My Face is to demonstrate to people that when they make healthy changes to their lifestyle – even small ones – they’ll achieve visible results. Our advanced face changing technology shows an individual an image of their future self, this image will alter based on the information they provide on their current lifestyle and how they plan to make changes.

Visualising our future-selves is a huge motivation for change, and a source of inspiration to make these changes a routine part of our life. This coupled with the right information influences behavioural change to commit to a healthier way of living. And exercise isn’t the only thing that can improve the way our future-self looks; our health is also linked closely to our diet, lifestyle, financial wellness and length of time we spend in the sun

The study

 

The research was carried out on 2 teams of busy female housekeepers over a period of 4 weeks. Their day-to-day roles include a lot of activity as they manage and keep the hotel they work at organised and clean. Every day at work, they encounter physically demanding tasks.

Before the study was carried out, all housekeepers just accepted that this was part of their job and didn’t consider it as exercise. Exercise is something you do ‘outside of work’ when you’re wearing special attire, right?

The 84 housekeepers were split into 2 groups of 42.

Group #1 were told that the activities associated with their role as a housekeeper is a great way to exercise and satisfies the Surgeon General’s recommendations for a healthy lifestyle. They were informed about the benefits of exercise and that the exercise did not need to be hard or painful for it to have a positive impact on their overall health. Moving our bodies and our muscles is extremely beneficial, so hoovering, dusting and any other tasks that forces movement should be considered exercise that is good for us.

This detail was broken down further, for example, Group #1 were made aware that just 15 minutes of hoovering would burn 50 calories (depending on their weight). The list they were provided with broke down all of their common tasks and associated them with number of calories burnt.

Information was given to them via a face to face presentation, paper handouts and the messages were reiterated in posters around their place of work.

The housekeepers understood that this research was to help with the study of the health of women working in a hotel workplace, and ways to improve it. In return for taking part they would receive valuable information about the research on health and happiness.

Group #2 were only told the reason for the research and that they would receive valuable information about the research on health and happiness after the four weeks. They were not given any information about the health benefits of their day-to-day tasks.

Over the next 4 weeks, nothing else changed. Their diet remained the same, the amount of work they did remained the same, as did their usual ‘out of work’ activities. The only change was that Group #1 had knowledge and better motivation

Knowledge and understanding about your future

 Group #1 the results after 4 weeks: Not only did the 42 housekeepers believe that they achieved significantly more exercise than before, they showed a decrease in weight, blood pressure, body fat, waist-to-hip ratio, and body mass index.

Group #2 the results after 4 weeks: Little or no change.

Connection between physiological changes and mindset

 The author of the report stated, “one interpretation of our results regarding the relationship between increased perceived exercise and improved health would be that they were mediated by a change in behaviour.”

So, it could be that the ladies in Group #1 who were more conscious of their health gave themselves smaller food portions at mealtimes or said no to snacks or that extra glass of wine at the weekends. It is also possible that they did work just that bit harder to burn off even more calories.

The fact is that they did improve their health – intentionally or not. They were given the information and motivation to want to make even the smallest of changes. They made the connection between their actions and better health.

It does prove that knowledge is power.

 

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