It’s only been a few weeks since you made that new year’s resolution to exercise more, but already you’re finding reasons to skip days — maybe even weeks. You know all the benefits of a healthy lifestyle: in addition to the weight loss, which would obviously be nice, exercise has been linked to reduced depressive symptoms and reduced risk for heart disease. Yet the temptation of sitting on the couch and watching TV instead of going for a short jog is just too great.
You’re not alone. According to the surgeon general, more than 60 percent of American adults don’t exercise regularly and 25 percent aren’t active at all. The Center for Disease Control says that 34 percent of Americans are overweight and more than 72 million people were obese from 2005 to 2006. Inertia has become a national emergency. For decades, psychologists around the world have studied why people exercise — and why they don’t — and there’s a growing body of work dedicated to helping you get up off the couch.
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