The Magic Pill, Episode #2: What Exercise Means To You

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People run along on the Esplanade in Boston. (Joe Difazio for WBUR)
People run along on the Esplanade in Boston. (Joe Difazio for WBUR)

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"I don't like going to a gym," says WBUR's Louise Kennedy, "because it reminds me of being in gym class and that makes me feel fat and inadequate and clumsy and stupid."

In Episode 2 of The Magic Pill, we dig deeper into how our feelings about exercise can lead to a "cycle of failure" and how to break it. Listen to the full episode above.

A Closer Look

Fitness motivation expert Michelle Segar cites a very telling study: "They randomized people to two groups: One was told that a one-mile walk was for exercise, and the other was told that the exact same walk was for fun. At the end of the walk — and this finding was replicated — the people who were told that the walk was exercise had worse moods, they were more depleted from the walk, and they ate worse food choices."


Michelle also points out that most of us have been taught to do exercise in a very prescriptive way — certain amounts, at a certain intensity, check your heart rate, breathe hard and sweat or it doesn't count.

"Now sidestep over to another topic," she says. "Imagine how people would feel about sex if they were prescribed how to do it. Get in this position. Breathe at this rate. It would turn even something as glorious as sex into a chore."

Right? You can read much more about the exercise "cycle of failure" in a free excerpt of Michelle Segar's book, "No Sweat," here.

Enjoyed The Music In This Episode?

That was The Penthouse performing the song "Everytime."

(Courtesy The Penthouse)
(Courtesy The Penthouse)

Boston indie rock band The Penthouse combines smashing guitars and grooving rhythms. "Everytime" has been featured on Shake Shack's official Spotify playlist. The Penthouse is currently working on their debut album. You can listen to the full Magic Pill playlist here.

CommonHealth Recommendations

--What Makes Olga Run? Get the full scoop by reading about the 94-Year-Old Track Star.

--Read Why To Exercise Today: Happiness Behind The Barre.

--Read Why To Exercise Today: Harvard Psychiatrist Finally Takes Own Advice.

--From "On Being" read why Running is Moving Meditation by Christina Torres.

Headshot of Carey Goldberg

Carey Goldberg Editor, CommonHealth
Carey Goldberg is the editor of WBUR's CommonHealth section.



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