UNCG study looks at the science of staying active

Buckley Report

GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — John Martinez and his wife, Patricia, love to be outside and moving. On this weekday, they’re meeting their hiking club at a park in the Triad for a walk.

“Get your blood circulating and exercising also helps as far as your mental aspects, as well, clears your mind,” John said.

He’s 65 and retired now. He’s taking time to be in an NIH-sponsored study at UNC Greensboro that is, well, smart.

“And SMART is an acronym which stands for, ‘Studying Maintenance and Adoption in Real Time.’ That comes from the idea that in this study, we’re really trying to learn more about what are the motivational differences between people who are sort starting to change their physical activity behavior and those who can sustain it,” said UNCG kinesiologist, Jaclyn Maher, who is running the study. “That initial change is important but so is the maintenance, the sort of sustained engagement in the behavior so in this study, we’re trying to learn more about those motivational differences.”

To do that, they not only collect data on when people are moving but when they’re sitting. You’d be surprised at how much better it is for you to simply stand versus sitting. That information has helped John make some changes.

“It kind of in the back of my mind, encouraged me to think about things I wasn’t fully aware of – to be not only active but to minimize the time you sit down,” John said. “So, what I’m trying to do when I watch TV or I’ve got my iPad I try to sit up rather than sit down.”

That’s the kind of change Maher and her team are trying to master.

“We can help people to make that initial change in their behavior which we’re already very good at but what we’re not as good at is helping people sustain that behavior over longer periods of time,” Maher said. “It definitely has roots in psychology.”

See more about how it all works in this edition of the Buckley Report.

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