“Operant conditioning is a method of learning that occurs through rewards and punishments for behavior. Through operant conditioning, an individual makes an association between a particular behavior and a consequence” (Skinner, 1938).
Many people have different views and opinions on exercising, some enjoy it and most dread it. But we can all agree that exercising leads to numerous health benefits. For instance, exercising regularly can lead to a positive shift in your mental, physical, and emotional health. Physical activity produces endorphins which are chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers, which reduces stress and improves sleep. Furthermore, the more one engages in physical activity, the easier it will be to lose weight/ and or maintain their current weight!
How Does It Relate to Operant Conditioning?
All of the benefits that come from exercising can be considered ‘rewards.’ Thus, exercising elicits a positive response (you look better and feel better) which in return will encourage you to engage in the behavior (physical activity) once again to obtain those positive feelings until exercising becomes a habit, or a learned behavior that generates a healthier lifestyle.