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A little regret goes a long way </P> Have you ever felt badly about missing a workout? According to researchers, these feelings of regret are a good thin.

A little regret goes a long way

Have you ever felt badly about missing a workout? According to researchers, these feelings of regret are a good thing. A new study published in the British Journal of Health Psychology (May 2004) has shown that a little bit of regret can go a long way in motivating a person to exercise regularly.

Researchers set out to determine whether anticipated regret over not exercising would make a difference in a person's intention to engage in physical activity. After taking into account other variables such as past behaviour, researchers found that anticipated regret made a significant contribution to motivation to exercise. Participants in the study who were encouraged to focus on feelings of regret had significantly stronger intentions to exercise compared to those in the control group. By picturing themselves feeling sad, guilty, and out of shape as a result of not exercising, participants of this group were more likely to follow through with their exercise plans.

Perhaps people shouldn't only focus on the positive results of regular activity - perhaps a focus on what they will feel like without activity is something that should be contemplated as well.

Moderate exercise pays off

Both elevated blood estrogen levels and an inactive lifestyle have been associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. Researchers of a study reported in the April 2004 issue of Cancer Research set out to determine the effect of exercise on circulating estrogens in sedentary women. A group of 173 inactive, overweight, post-menopausal women ranging in age from 50 to 75 years took part in the 12-month study.

The women were randomly assigned to a control group of non-exercisers or to a group that participated in moderate activity on average for 45 minutes, five days per week. Three months into the study, the exercisers had experienced a significant decrease in estrogen levels versus absolutely no change in estrogen levels for the non-exercisers. After 12 months the women who had decreased body fat by two percent or more, due to exercising, had decreases of 11.9 percent in serum estrone, 13.7 percent in estradiol, and 16.7 percent in free estradiol levels.

These findings led to the conclusion that increased physical activity may be associated with reduced risk of postmenopausal breast cancer because of its effects on serum estrogens.

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