Most people already know that exercise is important to maintain and improve health, however sedentary lifestyles and obesity rates are at all-time highs. If you are having trouble getting to the gym your focus needs to shift from increasing knowledge about the benefits of exercise to developing strategies to increase activity levels. Many people’s approach is to try and change their attitude or beliefs about exercise and why it’s important, but that information isn’t very motivating for some.
You can’t simply ‘think’ yourself into being more active you need to plan to be more active. Strategies for being more active can include such things as feedback, goal setting, self-monitoring, exercise prescription and stimulus or cues such as weekly fitness shows or joining a team with a hard schedule. Self-monitoring is also a great method to stay motivated, for example recording and keeping track of your activity over time. For many, documenting their day to day activity appears to significantly increase awareness and provide motivation for continued improvement.
For others the thought of exercise can be overwhelming, but slowly increasing activity by just 10 minutes a day adds up weekly and is enough to provide substantial health benefits. Even small increases in physical activity will enhance protection against chronic illnesses, including heart disease and diabetes as well as obesity. When you’re first starting out always keep things simple and reward yourself for simply making it to the gym regardless of how rigorous the session was. You can increase the difficulty level at another time the first thing you need to do is get comfortable with going there in the first place.
At the end of the day it’s important to understand that knowing what to do is not enough. You need to know what to do as well as do what you know.