One of the problems in getting the lardy, screen-addicted population of 21st century cities to take some exercise is keeping them doing it once they’ve given it a shot. Too many people find the treadmills of the gym cruel and unpleasant, and not something they often wish to return to. So they don’t.
It would be enormously beneficial to the health of both the population and the NHS budget were more people to look after themselves physically, yet too many people behave as though in agreement with a long forgotten Grange Hill character, whose only memorable line was “My nan says exercise is bad for you.”
Scientists therefore recognise that one of the challenges of getting into a fitness routine is that for many, exercise = boring.
So in search of a solution, some Austrian scientists have compared the amount of pleasure generated by mountain hiking, treadmill walking and sitting down.
“From a public-health oriented perspective with increasing obesity rates,” write the boffins, “it is essential for health professionals to recommend efficient and pleasant forms of physical activity.” This is because “people choose and maintain forms of physical activity they enjoy.”
Without going anywhere near the rather impenetrable science (which can be found here if you’ve really got nothing better to do) they discovered that mountain hiking generated higher positive emotional responses and fewer negative responses than sitting down (ie doing nothing).
This presumably surprises no one, but to summarise: hiking rocks. So do it.