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1/04/2010

What Can We Learn From Long-Term Exercisers?

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How is your exercise program going?  Having trouble staying on course?  Maybe you knew you wouldn’t be able to adhere to a routine and are now worried about how you are going to stay motivated.  What can we learn from those who stick to an exercise program?  What are their motivators?

    We have learned from exercise research that the number one reason a long-term exerciser continues with an active lifestyle is to achieve fitness and maintain health.  This is an expected response because health and fitness have always been the most frequently sighted response to exercise.  Here are the ten motivating factors that keep people exercising for the long-term and not just short-term goals:
1) feelings of well being,
2) increased energy and vitality,
3) enjoyment of activity,
4) better sleep,
5) being more alert
6) look good,
7) stress reduction,
8) maintain body weight
9) maintain health
10) fear of being over-weight. 
    Now who wouldn’t want to experience any of these benefits?  One thing I want to point out is that appearance or feeling better and weight management were not the most important motivators for long-term exercisers. 
   
    Long-term exercisers make exercise a priority.  This characteristic is very important to appreciate if you are going to be successful in adopting and maintaining a fitness routine.  Priority was the only influential strategy long-term exercisers acknowledged.  If you make exercise a priority in your life, you will have a better chance of staying with your program for the long-term. 
   
    How do you go from being unmotivated and too busy, to being physically active?  We’ve seen from long-term exercisers they have empowered themselves to examine their daily and weekly schedules in an effort to make time for exercise.  Physical activity is a priority to them.  For you to be successful you must make exercise a priority.
   
    Get started by choosing an activity that you enjoy.  Focus on being physically fit instead of focusing on your physical appearance.  Do not make your focus physical appearance, but rather on being physically fit.  Think in terms of long-term goals of being healthy and fit instead of short-term results of needing to lose 10 pounds before summer arrives.  You can start with moderate activity but aspire to achieve greater fitness through vigorous activities.
   
    Remember, nothing was more powerful for long-term exercisers than the positive feelings they got from being physically fit.  These feelings were not immediate, but after several weeks they were worth waiting for.  The positive feelings created a strong incentive to keep exercising.  Positive feelings to anticipate and appreciate are increased energy, overall feeling of well-being, feeling of accomplishment because you committed to exercise, and sleeping better.  There is also a feeling of confidence when you make a goal, schedule it as priority, take the actions and follow through to that goal.    
   
    Resolve to be physically fit, making physical activity a priority.  Develop a goal of exercise, make it a priority and be committed to your goal.  This will help exercise become a lifestyle in your life.  Persist long-term and reap all the positive feelings that come from being regularly active.  You will enjoy it.  Get started now! 

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