Creating Exercise Habits The beginning of the year is often a time when many people commit to a New Year’s resolution. Research indicates that approximately 45% of the population commits to at least one resolution, but of those that do, the vast majority have abandoned it by Valentine’s Day!
Common New Year’s resolutions are committing to weight loss and starting an exercise program. The fact that many people put on extra weight during the holidays can be an added motivation to create a new exercise habit. So what is it that makes these self-promises so hard to keep? All too often our initial enthusiasm and energy wanes. We get distracted by other things going on in our lives, or we do not think we are seeing results quickly enough, and we throw in the towel. Many people do manage to hang in there and make exercise a lifetime habit, and you can too!
A recent study by researcher Diane Klein, PhD, shed some light on the subject. Long-term exercisers (those working out for an average of 13 years) were asked to rank what motivated them to keep up with their regimes. Primarily the exercisers were not as concerned with specific physical goals, like being toned, or having bulging biceps, as they were with feeling good and being healthy.
Here’s how the study participants ranked their motivators:
1 Fitness 2 Feelings of well-being 3 Pep and energy 4 Enjoyment of the exercise 5 Making exercise a priority 6 Sleeping better 7 Feeling alert 8 Being relaxed 9 Weight management 10 Appearance
How do we become one of the fitness faithful? Check out the following hit list to help create positive fitness habits.
Find something that you enjoy. People think that fitness has to be hard, uncomfortable, and even boring. Group fitness has proven to be an enticing form of exercise. The music, the instructor, and the group setting can create a form of escape as well as a positive and welcoming experience. Initially, many people gravitate toward exercise equipment because it is simple and accessible. But exercise adherence becomes harder to maintain because there is no emotional attachment to a machine. Why? It is because this form of exercise requires large amounts of intrinsic self-motivation to stay committed. With Group fitness, a great portion of the motivation is driven by the external environment:
“The synchronization of music with exercise consistently demonstrates increased levels of work output among exercise participants.” Music in Sport and Exercise: Theory and Practice, Dr. C.I. Karageorghis, Ph.D