A Fitness Community Can Help You Stick it Out
Too many people who begin exercising fall out of the habit within the first six months—even after a health crisis such as a heart attack or a diagnosis of diabetes, nearly everyone will pay attention to instructions about diet and exercise, but not for long. Once you begin to feel healthy again or achieve your goal weight it’s easy to fall back into your old habits. Community builds confidence that fuels dedication. It also creates an environment of accountability. “Creating a “new normal” can require a community. Less than 20 percent of women age 40 and up regularly do strength-training, according to an April 2010 study published in the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity. But when researchers polled women who had participated in a group strength-training program over three months, nearly 80 percent were still working out regularly—on average, for more than a year.” ~ Ornish Living website
In a good fitness community you will find cheerleaders, problem-solvers and for some people a friendly rivalry can be a motivator too. 1. Seeing the The Results and Feeling Better Will Motivate You People feel better when they exercise, but it may take months before you notice you’re happier, sleeping better, and have more energy in your day. It can take weeks before you see changes in your body, supportive peers and trainers will get you through the early stage when the first signs of better health or fitness may not be consistent or obvious. 2. A Consistent Routine Improves Your Healthy Habits Another note from the Orinsh Living post: “Opting into health tends to be a package deal. In the a strength-training study, women who had kept up their work-outs had better eating habits and were generally more active than women who had stopped.” 3.Your Trainer and Gym Buddies will Help you Measure Your Progress A good trainer will give you a program that allows you to succeed early on and show you how to track your progress. You’ll see measurable gains, becoming more confident as you go. People quit when they feel they feel like their hard work isn’t paying off. We look at ourselves everyday and it is hard to see the small changes that might keep us going. Your fitness “team” will be able to point out the changes you might not see yourself.
4.Your Community Will Help You Remember Why You Started Think about how exercise fits into your identity—who you are and what you want. Tell your story to the people you meet at the gym. Let them help you keep your eyes on the prize. A thoughtful trainer, exercise buddies, and friends and family can remind you why you’re at the gym. Who are my Peeps and How Do I Find Them?
A few suggestions: Try group fitness classes, grab a friend and schedule a workout with a personal trainer, ask a family member to go to the gym with you, start a conversation with the person on the bike next to you or you could sign up for a race and train with a group. Ask people questions about their workouts, most people are happy to talk about what they are doing for their fitness routines. Sometimes just chatting for a minute with the staff can help you begin to build those relationships that will keep you coming back. Try different things or even all of these suggestions and you will find something that works for you!