A Midland university is looking for volunteers who can "walk the walk" for a study looking at why people find it hard to exercise every day.
Health psychologists at Birmingham University need to understand what motivates and prevents people from taking regular exercise at Government recommended levels.
In Britain, 60 per cent of women and 70 per cent of men do not manage to exercise for 30 minutes a day, while obesity levels have doubled over the past decade. As most people struggle to tackle a rigid fitness regime, attempts are being made to encourage them to build exercise into their lifestyle.
Catherine Darker, the postgraduate researcher leading the study, said: "We all now lead busy lives, often juggling demanding jobs with family commitments, so finding time to fit in 30 minutes of exercise into a packed day can be difficult. However, not many people realise that this can be broken down into chunks, so walking for just ten minutes, three times a day can be just as beneficial.
"Previous health campaigns have focused on the cardiovascular benefits of regular exercise - walk more, it's good for your heart - but those messages are being ignored as the payback is too long-term.
"Through this research, I am looking to test out different strategies with a view to designing the best way to encourage people to walk more, for future public health campaigns."
Volunteers are needed for one hour sessions at the university, to complete a series of questionnaires in the laboratory.
To give the psychologist an insight into their cognition, participants will be have to think aloud whilst answering each question, after which they will discuss their experiences and the benefits they gain from walking. A large sample group will then answer questionnaires and also given pedometers, to give researchers an idea of exactly how much exercise has been taken as a result.
Ms Darker added: "We are all well aware there is a gap between our intention to take exercise and our actual behaviour. The team can gain a really useful insight into those thought processes and develop strategies to over-come that gap." n Anyone interested in taking part in the study can contact Catherine Darker on 0121 414 8745 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. All volunteers will be paid £20.