Friday, February 25, 2011

Just Do It?

by Carmin Iadonisi, N.D, E.P.
Adjunct Professor, School of Health Sciences

 
As I was thinking about what to write for this blog, I always go back to the behavior change technique known as  "shaping". Basically this process involves making small, achievable changes to get to your long-term goal. 

Let's look at someone who wants to start working out.  Mainstream marketing would have you believe that you can "Just Do It." and off you go getting into shape.  The reality is less than 50% of adults even participate in any daily physical activity, so maybe there are a few small changes needed prior to starting an exercise program.

Sometimes the first goal for a person should not be to start exercising, but to just get to the gym.  Getting to the gym for some people can be the most difficult part.- My students sometimes laugh at this as a first goal, but think about it.  How many steps does it take to get to the gym? First, the person has to make time in their schedule. Try to find a regular interruption free time that works.  Are mornings better or afternoons? Next, the person has to find a gym that has the right atmosphere and also works with their budget.  Is the gym overly crowded at the time you want to work out and does it have the right equipment needed for working towards your goals?

After you decide the place to workout, then you have to check and see if you have workout clothes?  Are your sneakers worn out? Do your workout clothes still fit or do you need to go shopping?  What about other fitness "stuff" to help you reach your goals- such as a workout journal, your iPod with motivating workout music, a watch or even a heart rate monitor?

Finally, do you prefer to work out alone or do you do better with a workout partner?  If you do need a partner, now you have to see if your schedule works with that person.  Once that is set up, you are now set to go to the gym. Pat yourself on the back, because you have already overcame many hurdles to start exercising regularly. 


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