Byline: Marcia Mattson, Times-Union staff writer
Amy Hagan thought she did a great job writing exercise plans for Xerox employees -- except nobody would do the exercise.
"It got me thinking, why aren't people doing it in general?" Hagan said.
So Hagan, a doctoral student at the University of Florida's Center for Exercise Science, started looking beyond the cardiovascular benefits of the treadmill and the muscle-building value of weight machines to a basic tenet of human nature:
People tend not to do things they dislike.
And for many people, working out is no fun because they try exercises that don't fit their personality.
The landfills are littered with abandoned exercise bikes, workout videos and treadmills. And half of all people who join a gym drop out within six months. Ninety percent drop out by two years, said UF professor Heather Hausenblas.
Hausenblas and Hagan are at the forefront of exercise psychology, a new science studying the links between personality and physical activity.
"If you look back 15 years ago, it really didn't exist" as a field of study, said Hausenblas, who lives in Orange Park and is director of the UF center's exercise psychology lab.