Long Term Exercise Success

1. People realizethat theyshould start exercising (this may emanate from a displeasing sight in the mirror, a command from a physician, or the warnings of the consequences of a sedentary lifestyle from the media).

2. They consider joining a fitness center (which assures them that with the commitment they currently display, getting in shape will surely come in short order — as long as they join RIGHT NOW).

3. They join the fitness center, and get “put on” a standard cardio and resistance program that will “ensure” their rapid success.

4. They stop exercising within several months.

5. They blame everything, including a too busy lifestyle, work “getting a bit hectic right now” and not gettinga close enough parking space at the gym.

6. After some passage of time, the need to exercise is again realized, and steps onethroughfive are repeated (this cycle often plays itself out many times).

A recent statistic reveals that there are now more former fitness center members than current members.11 Clearly, people are motivated — initially. Clearly, they are getting adequate information about carrying out exercises with the correct technique at their fitness sites.

Clearly, facilities meet high standards for equipment and programming. Why then, has attrition remained essentially unchanged during the last 20 years?

Unfortunately, making a commitment to begin a regular exercise program, and thensticking to it, are two very different issues. Study after study demonstrates that knowledge about the benefits of regular exercise motivates people to start a program, but is generally unrelated to an ability to maintain that same program.15,17Because of this, it is important that your services go beyond providing “technically correct” programming to clients if it only results in the vast majority of them quitting within several weeks or, at best, months.

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