Body Transformation Series, Part 3 of 7
“Changing behavior to include exercise requires more effort than simply opening a bottle and swallowing a few pills. Physical activity is the only medicine that offers many benefits, with no negative side effects.”
Our ancestors were constantly on the move, but in the last century, technology and the build–up of our communities has brought numerous innovations, including the ability to conserve our personal energy and replace it with external power, all conspiring to limit our daily need for physical movement. Less than 10% of Americans meet fitness guidelines, which includes 60-minutes of daily activity, at least 2500 kcal a week. More than 60% of Americans burn less than 1000 calories a week, not meeting the recommended daily physical activity guidelines for health, a mere 30-minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity most days of the week. And of that group, fewer than 20% do so in a way that will bring about improvements in physical fitness. Many sedentary behaviors are now considered to be the norm – a trend that is not helping us start and stick with an exercise program!
The American College of Sports Medicine promotes a campaign called “Exercise is Medicine,” and the evidence is on their side. But changing behavior to include exercise requires more effort than simply opening a bottle and swallowing a few pills. Physical activity is the only medicine that offers many benefits, with no negative side effects. Even though most of us KNOW that physical activity is important for health; that we feel better and are more productive if we start and keep exercising, few are able to escape their environment and self-image to start the regenerative process that daily exercise brings. So what is standing in your way?
Sallis and Hovell (1990) studied the most common reasons that adults offer for not adopting more physically active lifestyles.
• Not enough time
• Lack self-motivation
• Not enjoyable
• Lack confidence in ability
• Fear of being injured, or have been injured
• Lack self-management skills such a goal setting, progress monitoring, or a reward process
• Lack of encouragement, support or companionship
• Do not have safe and convenient park, sidewalks, trails or paths
Go BIG With Change
To help you initiate and maintain involvement in enjoyable physical activity, remember that you are in control of your choices. Although small changes can be very effective for some people in making moderate adjustments to physical activity levels and other health behaviors, other research suggests you should “go big.” Moderate changes are hard to monitor and easy to ignore, making a slip back into bad habits more likely. However, big changes in health and exercise behaviors are more likely to yield big results. Set a lofty goal, such as running a marathon, completing a 90-day exercise plan or making significant changes in diet and body weight. Make a major commitment to yourself and see what happens!
Exercise is Perishable
Researchers have found that a primary reason people continue to exercise day after day is due to the positive feelings associated with the exertion of exercise. People feel healthier, more physically masterful and more in control of their life when they exercise regularly. Staying on a tight schedule matters because skipping days interferes with motivation and eventually, the health benefits of exercise. At first, skipping just decreases your inspiration. But soon after missing a few days, your endurance is negatively affected. The metabolic benefits of increased caloric expenditure, joint range of motion and other physiological components begin to wane. We start to feel stiff and rigid. Our bodies are designed to move and every movement matters!
“Be persistent and above all, patient with exercise. Only with loyalty and commitment will you be able to sustain the effort over a prolonged period and reach your health and fitness goals.”
Try not to miss more than 2-days in a row if you can help it. Research has demonstrated that although time off can be great for recovery between exercise sessions, more than 2-days off in a row can increase your risk of injury when you return to a more consistent schedule, particularly if the exercise you are performing requires a well-practiced technique.
Why Do You Do It?
Is it to look and feel good, for weight control or to maintain or improve your health? Fitness programs that foster a sense of achievement and satisfaction are more likely to encourage adherence. When we participate in activities that are personally meaningful, make us feel good or help us reach personal goals, the pleasure of participating is enhanced. Even so, not all healthy pleasures are immediately gratifying. You must be willing and able to delay gratification if you are to experience the pleasure and benefits of regular physical activity. Be persistent and above all, patient with exercise. Only with loyalty and commitment will you be able to sustain the effort over a prolonged period and reach your health and fitness goals.
The TRX Suspension trainer makes it EASY to work a consistent routine into your daily schedule because of its portability and ease of use. Challenging and effective programs that improve flexibility, strength, endurance and power can be developed and enhanced using the TRX Suspension Trainer. With so many safe, effective exercise options, there is no excuse not to use it every day in every workout.
Irene Lewis-McCormick M.S is Adjunct Faculty at Drake University, an SCW Fitness Education (SCW) Certification Master Trainer and the Education Director at Octane Fitness. An Orange Theory Fitness coach, she’s a twice published author (Human Kinetics) holding advisory board positions with Diabetic Living and the National Egg Council. Named Top 3 Group Fitness Instructor 2015 by IDEA Health & Fitness, Irene is a RYKA Ambassador and Subject Matter Expert for ACE. Irene presents education for SCW, ACSM, IDEA and NSCA. She is an SCW, TRX, Tabata Bootcamp, Barre Above, JumpSport and Octane Fitness master trainer. Certifications include SCW, ACSM, NSCA, ACE, AFAA & AEA.