How to Stay With An Exercise Program

How to Stay With An Exercise Program

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Studies have shown that at least 50% of the people who
start a fitness program do not make it through the first
three months, many will discontinue the program before the
end of twelve months. A large number of people never
exercise or have ever joined an exercise program, despite
the fact that regular exercise and physical activity is
necessary for health--both physical and emotional.

What makes people stay with an exercise program?

In order to better understand what motivates individuals to
maintain an exercise regimen, a study was conducted by this
author and the graduate students of the Sport Psychology
program at The University for Humanistic Studies in Solana
Beach, California. The results indicated that psychological
variables appearing to be relevant for someone to stay with
an exercise program were:

* 1. The ability to take responsibility for what happens
in his or her life
* 2. A belief that sport and exercise is essential
* 3. The individual's perception of his/her athletic
ability
* 4. The need to exercise as a form of relaxation
* 5. The person's commitment to a healthy lifestyle

Every single respondent of the questionnaire answered that
they felt personally responsible for their health, body and
physical fitness and the majority cited themselves as their

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primary influence and motivator.

If you are thinking about starting an exercise program, or
if you are already working out, these are some suggestions
for you to consider in order to remain committed to your
plan and enjoy exercising.

Set short- and long-term goals, it will motivate you.

Write down your goals and a plan of action. Remember a time
in your life when you were able to stay with a routine and
follow the same steps you followed in the past. Your
behavior is what is going to determine your success, once
you have written your goals, make sure you take the steps
that will lead to the result you want. If you never have
done a goal setting exercise before, look for a book in the
library or bookstore. Goal setting exercises can be usually
found in business and psychology books.

Consider the negative consequences of not staying with the
program.

Make a list of the negative consequences and feelings you
are going to experience and what you're going to miss out
in your life if you don't stay with your exercise program.

Consider the positive results of committing to the program.

Make a list of the results you will get if you stay
committed to your program. When you start thinking about
not going to work out, focus your attention on the positive
results and feelings you will experience when you reach
your fitness goal.

Change your lifestyle, make it a priority until it becomes
a habit.

Everything you do today you had to learn, and now you don't
have to think about it anymore. The habit has been formed.
Make your exercise program a priority in your life until
you have created the habit and have integrated it in your
lifestyle. Don't allow any excuses or make any changes in
your schedule for the first few weeks so that you can go
through the initial adaptation process and start feeling
comfortable with your new routine.

Make a commitment to a friend or family member who will
encourage and support you.

We tend to do more for ourselves when we make the
commitment to other people who care about us and who want
to see us succeed. Find out what made you drop out of an
exercise program in the past. Discuss with a friend or
family member how they can help you this time. They can
give you support in many different ways.

Perhaps they may even join the club and exercise program
with you. If you know that someone is waiting for you at
the gym, you will be more inclined to go when you start
having second thoughts about it, or when something else
comes up and you don't feel like going.

These are some ideas of behaviors and thoughts you can
practice to reach your goal of staying with an exercise
program and loving it. The results of the study we
conducted also indicated that the majority of people
exercised because of their health, appearance, and most of
all, because it felt good. Once you start feeling good
about your health and physical appearance, you will be more
inclined to stay with the program to continue to get the
results you want. After awhile it will become part of your
lifestyle, like everything else you do today.

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