2012-11-16 14:32:13 - “I need to exercise more often and eat healthier!” Many people have this revelation on a regular basis. But the inner struggle between new resolutions and old laziness is often won by the latter. British behavioural scientists at the University of Cambridge dealt with this pattern and found out that simple tricks help to establish healthier habits almost unconsciously.
Two methods of making decisions
Our daily decisions are determined by two types of decision making: by a conscious acting on the basis of rational reasons, on the one hand, and by unconscious habitual behaviour, on the other. According to the study’s researchers, people often act out of usual habits, as they mostly can be realised quicker and with less complications. This feature of behaviour can also be applied to health-related issues: It is easier to take the elevator instead of going up the stairs; eating candy while watching TV also happens for the most part unconsciously. There is an ongoing inner conflict between the actual, long-term resolution, like a healthy lifestyle, and the direct, short-term “reward”, such as comfort, convenience
or sweet treats.
Tricks instead of recommendations
In the study, scientists were concerned with the question: How can I manage to escape my usual habits, in order to exercise more and eat healthier? They concluded that well-meant speeches and recommendations are not very successful, for the most part. An appeal to people’s rational side usually only has a short-term effect. Simple tricks, by which healthy habits are established almost unconsciously, are more effective. True to the motto: “If you want to change people, you have to make it easy for them”, the researchers conducted a few behavioural tests. Turning off one of several elevators, or causing the elevator doors to shut more slowly resulted in more people taking the stairs. Furthermore, if the salad bar at buffets was placed right in front, the sweet desserts in the back were neglected more often. In general, the scientists propose far-reaching, but barely noticeable changes, such as a more inviting packaging design of healthy products, as well as placing them more favourably right in front in cafeterias, canteens and supermarkets.
Healthy habits at home
But the environment is not the only source of impact on our decisions. Everybody can begin at home by gradually ridding themselves of unhealthy habits and making a place for a health-conscious routine. Storing crisps and biscuits at the back of the shelf and putting fresh fruits nearby the couch is already a start. Or you can leave the car safely parked behind more often when you want to run some errands. The CaloriScan from Omron provides support in that regard. Thanks to its 3-D sensor technology, the handy calorie counter classifies every kind of movement and exactly calculates the amount of calories burnt, 24 hours a day. Whether walking to the bakery or sitting in the car – with this small calorie coach, you can clearly see what the amount of calories used has been. Thereby, the CaloriScan provides motivation to be more active in daily life even for passionate lazybones.
Please find further information and articles about an healthy and active lifestyle at www.mycaloriscan.com.
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