Exercise programs: Getting beyond getting started | TheUnion.com

Exercise programs: Getting beyond getting started

So, you’ve started an exercise program. Great! But did you know that although most of us recognize the benefits of regular exercise, at least fifty percent of those who begin an exercise program drop out within the first six months? In fact, studies have shown that after the first month, the average number of visits to the gym (if you’re still going at all) drops to 3 times per month.

If we know the benefits, why do so many folks quit after such a short period of time? Reasons include lack of time, money, commitment, energy, social support as well as substandard facilities, boredom and physical discomfort. Fortunately, many of these ‘dropout’ factors can be addressed to improve your chances of developing consistent exercise habits. The following are some tricks of the trade to help you shed your branded title of “exercise dropout” and move towards being an exercise “star”:

Keep an exercise log

This helps to keep you honest and to mark progress.

Find an exercise partner that has similar goals

Having an exercise buddy can help you get to your workout when you don’t feel like getting out of bed.

Set realistic goals

Many exercisers set unachievably high goals or none at all. Start with realistic short and long-term goals that are measurable and document them. A great first goal would be going to the gym 15-20 times the first month (see #1).

Hire a personal trainer

Working with a trainer can be money and time well spent. On their own, many folks don’t know what to do, need motivation and accountability, and become easily bored with their exercise routine. We spend money for an accountant to help with our taxes … our health and wellness deserve at least as much.

Make it convenient

Find an activity or facility that provide great results, but won’t gobble up all of your time.

Make it fun

Nothing is harder than doing something you dread. You need to consider an activity that is also realistic.

Make exercise a priority until it becomes a habit

Treat your exercise time like you would treat a doctor’s appointment ” don’t cancel it. (See #1)

Don’t let setbacks set you back

We all have setbacks. Illness, travel, work and family responsibilities can all get in the way of your goals. Just get your planner out and reset your goals and calendar. Remember the reasons you started a fitness program and just start again … don’t look back.

Pick a pleasant environment

If your plan is to workout in your garage, go visit it. Is it hot/cold/dingy? Do you really want to spend time exercising in there or is it just a good place to park your car?

Make your work count

Learn what constitutes an effective workout. Discern the difference between doing too little and too much by getting educated (see #4). And don’t choose lake swimming as a winter exercise. And if you need corrective exercise for osteopenia, don’t choose cycling. Make it specific and make it count.

Well, what are you waiting for? Are those tennies still bright white or is there equipment in your bedroom that has become a clothes rack? Has it has been so long since you made it to the gym that the front desk staff doesn’t recognize you? There is no time like today to reset your goals and get restarted!

Scott Jackson, CSCS, MES, is the owner of Scott Jackson’s Real Life Fitness Personal Training Studio in Nevada City and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, a Medical Exercise Specialist and an IDEA Master Trainer. Email questions to scott@reallifefitness.net, call 265-4041 or visit http://www.reallifefitness.net.

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