Religion helps older women exercise more: Study

It’s no secret that exercise is one of the key ingredients to a long, happy and healthy life. But even with all those motivators, getting up and moving can feel like a chore for many people. Just because something is good for you doesn’t mean it’s fun to do.

But reports that some groups found religion can act as a great motivator for people to get active. According to the news source, among women in African-American communities in the United States, religious belief is typically very high, and the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that, among these women, faith was a powerful motivator to exercise.

“When you're targeting community members like this, you want to focus on strengths,” Dr. O. Kenrik Duru, the study’s researcher and a physician at the University of California.

In the experiment, Duru and his team had one group of women over the age of 60 engage in religious activities such as prayer and scriptural readings before beginning exercise. The spiritual activities would emphasize the connection between spirituality and healthy living.

Another group exercised, but did not participate in religious activities, and Duru found that the first group tended to be much more committed to physical activity months later.

If this data can be used widely, more assisted living communities across North America can find a way to keep their residents exercising and healthy.