So, we need to ask: Why run laps around a track? Why jump up and down during an aerobics class? Why climb stairs on a machine that does not really go anywhere? Or, why pass by the elevator or escalator to walk up seven flights of stairs? Why run when you know your lungs will collapse for want of air? Why jump and stretch when you know your muscles will rip and tear? Why take an hour out of the day when you just do not feel like it or when your schedule simply will not allow it? Why exercise when life offers so many other interesting things to do? Why indeed? These questions ask about exercise, but they could just as easily ask about the motivation underlying any activity.
Think about it for a moment: Why would anyone want to exercise? Can you explain this? Can you explain where the motivation to exercise comes from? Do you understand why people might be more willing to exercise under some conditions yet less willing to do so under other conditions? Can you explain why one person might be more willing to exercise than another? Can you explain why the same person sometimes wants to exercise but other times do not want to exercise? To help answer such questions, 13 different motivation-based reasons to exercise appear in Table 1.1. For some reasons, the person just exercises spontaneously (e.g., good mood).
What if exercising makes us feel anxious or stressed? What if exercise makes us feel incompetent and embarrassed? What if we feel tired, or what if we just do not feel like putting forth all that effort? What if time spent exercising takes us away from other things we like to do, such as watching television, reading a book, or logging on to Facebook? And there are of course many different ways to exercise, assuming one actually has sufficient motivation to do so.

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