Monday, 24 October 2011

Exercise Anonymous

It's time to come out! I have been in the closet, secretly enjoying a habit I know that 80 % of the population despise, I'm one of those freaks that loves exercise. I need  the way I feel after a long  Nordic Walk, my lungs full of fresh air and my eyes filled with nature,  or the stretch in my muscles at the end of yoga class that started with a lot clunking and creaking of joints, there is also the focus and the inner strength of Pilate's  that is almost like meditation.  My day, my week, my life is better for it. And that is why I have an Exercise Habit.

For the past 20 years I have been working in the fitness industry with a focus on helping the inactive become more active. I aslo worked with many GP referred clients who were only there because their Doctor advised it. In the fitness industry world we have been encouraged to avoid mentioning  the 'exercise or fitness' word, I became almost embarrassed and even afraid to call myself a Fitness Instructor for fear of alienating those who need me most. I have and still continue  to try and come up with inventive ways to lure people into a web of activity and well being programmes, trying to disguise the fact what I was really doing is helping them to ...exercise to get fitter! 

I have honed my expertise in easing the way for people with Exercise Angst to help them  find enjoyment and even happiness through exercise. I find out what their reasons are for wanting to try. The motivations range from, a  fear of what happens it they don't... getting into that special outfit  for the big family get together...and in GP referred cases,  help to strengthen specific muscles so they can continue to carry out daily functional tasks, preferably without pain.

What all this clients have in common is that their real reason for being there  takes some prying questions and deeper excavation into their personal motivation. The first thing that almost everyone says is that they want to" feel good", "feel confident in how I look", feel better about my self.  It's my job to find out what specific thing it is that will make them feel better, and this is where I get to know the real client, their needs and who they are..

Nobody will sustain a  regular exercise  programme unless they know what they want to get out of it. Then they need to be able to , see, hear, feel that they have actually made steps towards it. The  good old reliable SMART goals that are regularly revisited with progress monitored and noted. The goal mustn't become just another New Years resolution made in a different month of the year, forgotten in a couple of weeks. If there are no memorable goals or reasons steering the way the motivation will fade and disapear.

Our reasons and motivations to achieve a goal change too, we start with enthusiasm to achieve what at the time of making them is our 'ideal self'. To  keep motivated we move towards this ideal, we have a vision and hold that thought. What we often forget to remember is that as we move 'into' that ideal self i.e the goal is reached, that ideal self is now the real self....and then what? Do they feel...good?...confident? what they see? They might not! This is where we need to take a breath and enjoy the accomplishment, remember to notice,and as a fitness professional remember to remind  clients of what they have achieved. Take the  measurements, photograph, dress size and SHOW them.and then ask..."and now? what do you really want ?".
Our interests and view of ourselves are  continually changing as the ideal self  adapts and progresses, developing different needs and priorities. This will be reflected in the habits we have. this is when we make our life changing decisions, after we have reached a goal . Do we  get complacent and slide back into old habits or continue to find inspiring ways to be our best self and maintain our healthy habits?

Keeping up our healthy habits.

How many healthy habits do you live with at the moment? Do you need to change the healthy habits you have out grown and find new ones? Do you appreciate yourself for the healthy habits you maintain?  Are you short on ideas for healthy habits? this space.

”If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health”Hippocrates (~400 BCE)


No comments:

Post a Comment