Motivation to get moving

Examining the psychology around motivation during quarantine


In motion: As people are having to spend more time indoors, they are compelled to get out of their houses and take walks. Image: Juanma Martin/Pixabay

Naomi Sutch, Reporter

It seems as though, because people are cooped up in their houses during quarantine, more people are going on walks, whether it be taking their dog out or wandering around with a family member. 

On April 30, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine put in place a stay-at-home order that extends through May 29. What is allowed is absolutely necessary errands such as grocery shopping, getting medications, and walks outdoors. 

If you look out your window on a nice day, you will probably see a person or two stroll by, whereas, if there was no quarantine, you might not see that due to the reactance theory.

According to, the reactance theory is a motivational state that describes when a freedom is taken away from someone, they feel the compulsion to restore that freedom, essentially wanting to break the rules to claim the freedom back. As a result, more people could be wanting to get outside and take walks as it is something they can control.

Chloe Oh (11) tries to take walks every day because she has a dog, but she says she has been inconsistent.

“I’ve probably taken at least 15 walks.” Oh said. That’s more walks than Oh would usually take. says that there are three crucial components to motivation.

Autonomy describes gaining motivation when you feel in charge. It was discovered that acting under someone else’s direction was taxing, whereas making your own decision to do a task is more favorable.

Value describes motivation coming from one’s personal emotional connection regarding a task. If someone deems a task “valuable,” they’ll be more motivated to do it.

Competence describes the fact that once you do a task more often, you’ll gain skill and competence from it, driving you to repeat the task more often.

Of course, quarantine affects all of us differently, but that doesn’t change the fact general psychological patterns affect us in similar ways. 

“Nothing affects every human in the same way, however, there are trends where individuals may overlap,” Kristin Bull-Freeman, a family counselor and intervention specialist said. “Each individual is motivated by different factors: self dignity, peers, parents, schooling, upbringing, faith, etc.”