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Hate Exercise? How Talk Therapy May Help

​If you hate to exercise, you may benefit from a type of talk therapy that helps people accept negative feelings and uncomfortable sensations.

Several recent studies suggest that this therapy, called acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), can boost people's physical activity levels and improve fitness in those who previously didn't exercise at all.

ACT teaches mindfulness, which means that it aims to make people more aware of their thoughts and feelings in the current moment. People learn how to accept uncomfortable physical sensations and metaphorically "make room" for these feelings in their bodies, according to a 2015 study of ACT in Australia. They also learn to question whether a thought (such as "Exercise is intolerable") might be getting in the way of their goals, and learn to see these thoughts for what they really are — just thoughts, as opposed to concrete facts.

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