Breaking down the barriers to exercise

We have already discussed what the meaning of fitness it and how to identify what being fit means to you. By identifying what you want to achieve by using SMART goals we can now look at making it easier to achieve these goals.

Making health and fitness changes within your lifestyle is easy in the short term, but making them habitual is something much harder and can take up to 6 months for this to happen. The transtheoretical model of health behaviour change. Prochaska JO, Velicer WF, posits that health behaviour change involves progress through five stages of change: precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action and maintenance.    

Pre-Contemplation is the stage in which an individual has no intent to change behaviour in the near future, usually measured as the next 6 months. Precontemplators are often characterized as resistant or unmotivated and tend to avoid information, discussion, or thought with regard to the targeted health behaviour (Prochaska et al., 1992).    

Contemplation stage. Individuals in this stage openly state their intent to change within the next 6 months. They are more aware of the benefits of changing, but remain keenly aware of the costs (Prochaska, Redding, & Evers, 1997). Contemplators are often seen as ambivalent to change or as procrastinators (Prochaska & DiClemente, 1984).    

Preparation is the stage in which individuals intend to take steps to change, usually within the next month (DiClemente et al., 1991). PR is viewed as a transition rather than stable stage, with individuals intending progress to A in the next 30 days (Grimley, Prochaska, Velicer, Blais, & DiClemente, 1994).    

Action stage is one in which an individual has made overt, perceptible lifestyle modifications for fewer than 6 months (Prochaska et al., 1997).    

Maintenance: these are working to prevent relapse and consolidate gains secured during A (Prochaska et al., 1992). Maintainers are distinguishable from those in the A stage in that they report the highest levels of self-efficacy and are less frequently tempted to relapse (Prochaska & DiClemente, 1984).         

Fitness doesn’t have to be a daunting task where jogging, joining a gym is required, which is a barrier to fitness in itself as people feel they need to be fitness enough to join a gym in the first place!!!! To integrate fitness into your lifestyle can mean doing little things each day, take the stairs instead of the life, park further away and walk 5-10mins to complete your journey.

Little things really do add up in and make a big difference in the long term. Of course what tactics you employ to integrate fitness into your lifestyle depends on your goal and fitness level to start with, but by breaking your activities down will only have a positive in you achieving your goal in the time you have allowed.

Leading by the 70/30 rule

Looking at the media and information available, there seems to be a lack of direction in what you can do once you are healthy and fit, while it seems there are so many guidelines telling us not to eat certain foods, drinks in units and measures we don’t understand.

Given that you do not need to lose weight, have health implications or working towards a specific goal, what is the right balance of good and bad?? We believe a 70/30 split of good/bad is a excellent and maintainable balance. 70% of the time you eat low fat, healthy foods in the correct portions, take the appropriate amount of exercise and don’t over indulge in sugar, alcohol, fats and the sofa! The other 30% it doesn’t matter.

If you take this rule and apply it to the number of days within a year, it would mean you spend 255 days being healthy and 109 of these not worrying about it. This is roughly 1 day per week and a couple of holidays. Of course being healthy all week and then sitting and eating chocolate and alcohol on your day off isn’t what we are saying, but understanding that balance is the key to a healthy life and breaks down the barriers you have in achieving it.