Why Do You Exercise?

3 Minute Read

An HFE tutor with a group of smiling fitness students
An HFE tutor with a group of smiling fitness students

Research carried out by Nurofen Express Heat Patches has found 4 in 10 fitness enthusiasts exercise purely to look good, rather than to be healthy. It seems looking good and feeling attractive is the main motivator for most of us. This study randomly polled 2000 male and female exercisers from a variety of age groups.

It found men are most concerned about their biceps, pecs and six packs, while women are hung up on their tummies, legs and bottoms. Men cited Hugh Jackman as the celebrity they would most prefer to look like, with Brad Pitt polling second.

For the ladies, Kelly Brook and Holly Willoughby topped the list of celebrity physiques they would most like to have. The survey revealed 44% embark on regular exercise to stop them looking overweight, while 28% believe exercise can help them fight the signs of ageing. Two thirds of respondents said they feel toned after a workout, while 57% always feel thinner.

Just under half of those polled admitted they are far more motivated to exercise in the lead up to a special occasion such as a party, birthday, wedding or holiday. Other motivators for exercise included wanting to: feel strong (37%), impress a partner (18%) and wanting to fit into a particular outfit (14%). One in ten also revealed they go to the gym in the hope of meeting someone and finding love. 11% candidly said they exercise to make themselves feel better after a night on the town.

A spokesperson for Nurofen said: “Image is clearly everything for many adults. It seems that people are not primarily concerned about damaging their body as long as they look good.”

Image is clearly everything for many adults. It seems that people are not primarily concerned about damaging their body as long as they look good.

Having a cavalier approach to exercise had led to many respondents injuring themselves. More than half admitted they did not warm up before starting exercise, with six in ten also confessing they don’t warm down either. Four in ten admitted they had previously injured themselves while working out – strains, sprains and torn ligaments were the most common injuries. More worryingly, the results also revealed a large percentage of women (43%) and men (41%) had been forced to quit sport and fitness activities due to injury.

“The results of this survey show that many people are increasing their exercise to look better,” says Dr Mike Loosemore, consultant in sport and exercise medicine at University College, London. “Whatever the reason – it is proven that increasing exercise not only improves the way you look on the outside, it also improves your health on the inside. It’s great that people are exercising regularly but if we want to enjoy sport and fitness, we need to care for our bodies.”

Dr Loosemore continued: “To sustain the positive effects of exercise, it’s important to remain injury free. It’s vital to prepare to exercise and treat any injuries early. My top tip would be to ensure you warm up and cool down correctly. Those few minutes at the beginning and end of a workout can make all the difference and ensure that you can continue your exercise regime…whatever your motivation.”


Lee Cain

Lee Cain

Writer, Tutor and Experienced Fitness Professional

Lee has over 20 years’ experience in the health and fitness industry and has performed multiple roles, including physical training instructor, strength and conditioning coach, lecturer, writer, tutor, assessor and verifier for vocational qualifications. He has a passion for all things exercise, with his key specialisms being strength and performance-based training.

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