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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Need Motivation for Exercise?

It's all you think about for days and weeks on end. The possibilities of having Carrie Underwood's legs, or maybe even Carrie Underwood's moms' legs would be fine too.  How do I get them or how do I get in the grove of something to do with physical activity?  Well...first thing is first, dust off that exercise bike in the front room, remove the clothes from the treadmil, or sell the equipment you don't use and buy a gym membership!

When we look at our activity levels and the Transtheorehtical Model for stages of change, there are 6 stages:

1. Precontemplation: no action is being done and typically people do not know the behavior they are or are not doing is harmful
2. Contemplation: people start to understand their behaviors may be problematic so they start weighing the options
3. Preparation: people intend on taking action in the near future and may begin with small steps in the right direction
4. Action: modifications have been made and taking action has begun...positive change has occurred
5. Maintenance: people are working to prevent relapse (in other words...going back to #1). This stage could last forever
6. Termination: people have zero temptation & 100% self efficacy.  There is no way they are going back to the old behavior

What stage are you in regarding physical activity?  If you are in the precontemplation stage, rethink whether it is a good idea to be sedentary all the time.  What are the risks of being sedentary?  Does this improve your overall health?  Gaining knowledge about WHY physical activity is important will help you in this stage.

If you are in the contemplation stage, think of the barriers that are preventing you to be physically active.  Is it because you are in pain from joint/hip replacement, injury, etc or is it because you are limited in time, money, energy?  Identify your barriers and find ways to overcome them. 

If you are in the preparation stage, come up with a plan on HOW to get physical activity in.  Make a list of motivating sayings & post where you will see them daily. Write down your goals and vocalize them with someone to hold you accountable.

If you are in the action stage..this is great! However, it can be daunting to know that you are doing what you need to be doing. So...rewards are OK, but we prefer non-food related rewards such as a new shirt or pedicure, tickets to your favorite sports teams next game, etc.  Seek out social support or ask your spouse if they will be your workout buddy. 

If you are in the maintenance stage, know what you need to do to deal with temptations that may take you away from doing physical activity.  For instance, snoozing your alarm clock! Instead put your clock on the other side of the room so you have to get up to turn it off.  Or, schedule time in for activity so it's not forgotten about at the end of the day. 

Once you work your way up through the stages of change your are that much closer to your goals (whether they are to have Carrie Underwood's legs or not...is a different question).  Doing what you know you can do is motivating all in its self, but find other things that motivate you whether its a special reward system, signing up for local 5k walk/runs or time later in life with your family! Whatever it takes for you to get moving is what you NEED to do now!

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