Fitness First social experiment looks beyond the physical

Working in the industry, you may already be aware that a quarter of well-intentioned Australians abandon their new exercise regimes after as little as two weeks.

New research from Fitness First has revealed it’s not just the well-trodden excuses of time, money or motivation causing people to give up. The research shows that two thirds (68 per cent) quit simply because they fail to see physical improvements fast enough – be that on the scales, or a change in shape or size.

Fitness First has this week embarked on an unconventional social experiment in a bid to shed light on the role exercise plays in changing lives, and encourage people to look beyond the physical improvements that come with working out.

The experiment will examine ‘how fit feels’ over a 12-week period, as three fitness fanatics remove exercise from their lives, and three inactive people add it to theirs.

Going beyond the traditional ‘before and after’ photo to instead focus on how the participants emotionally evolve, their bodies will never be shown. The journey will be documented in a four-part video series from the one intimate environment where everyone goes after a workout – the shower.

National Fitness Manager of Fitness First, Mick Cunico, said: ‘We know that sweating it out in the gym and looking your best is only part of the exercise story. But many people are dismissing the feeling that exercise brings. We want to start a conversation about just how good fit feels.’

While maintaining a healthy weight has undeniable health benefits, it seems many of us fail to recognise and value the emotional benefits that exercise can deliver. Only 19 per cent of people exercise to improve mood, 12 per cent to improve sleep, and 5 per cent to improve concentration.

Passionate about the experiment and promoting how fitness can improve many aspects of life, Cunico has himself volunteered to be one of the fitness fanatics giving up exercise for 12 long weeks: ‘I’m curious to discover what impact restricting my movement has on me emotionally. I can anticipate that those of us giving up exercise may start to feel lethargic and less focused, but I’m also eager to see how the lives of those embarking on an exercise routine begin to change as they encounter benefits such as more energy, mental clarity, confidence or a better outlook on life.’

You can follow the experiment at howfitfeels.fitnessfirst.com.au.