Jumping in With Both Feet By Michael Spitler, 15-May-2013 22:40:00
There are really only two requirements when it comes to exercise. One is that you do it. The other is that you continue to do it. ~The New Glucose Revolution for Diabetes by Jennie Brand-Miller, Kaye Foster-Powell, Stephen Colagiuri, Alan W. BarclayToday is the third and final installment in our series on behavior change. I’ll be discussing the final three stages: preparation, action, and maintenance.Preparation – This is the stage where you are preparing to begin exercising and your intentions might be bigger than your motivation. It is very important in this stage to build up confidence in your ability to exercise so that you don’t become frustrated and quit before you even start. Some of the ways you can increase your confidence and feel better prepared to begin exercising is by investigating the cost of local fitness centers, identifying nearby walking trails or outdoor fitness options, buying workout clothes and/or planning workouts into your schedule. Don’t underestimate the power of positive thinking either. Saying “you can do it” or telling friends and family members about your plan to begin being physically active can go a long way to making you feel more comfortable. Also, recruiting a workout partner is a good way to make you feel more confident in your endeavor. Action – The action stage is where a lot of people will be for a while and then regress to an older stage. The action stage is where you are currently involved in some kind of physical activity. This is the stage where it is important to be exposed to information on overcoming perceived barriers and maintaining motivation. Goal setting is very helpful in this stage in keeping you motivated and accountable. Maintenance – After making it through all stages, you are now in the maintenance stage. You are someone who exercises regularly for at least 6 months. Generally, you understand the importance of exercise and feel that it is an important part of your life. You also feel confident in your ability to exercise and to continue to exercise in spite of life’s complications. However, backsliding is still a possibility so it is important to continually make goals and to have a strong support system.The model of behavior change that is presented here is by no means the only way to look at progressing into exercise, but I find it the easiest way to understand and present the usual steps that someone takes before undertaking any new commitment. Your experience and progression might differ. Regardless, the path that will lead you to regular physical activity is the best one for you. Don’t be afraid to get out there and experiment and if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
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