Exercise Physiologist & Health Coach
(As seen in the Sun City Independent and Surprise Today)
I’ve started dozens of exercise programs in my life and I’ve ended up quitting all of them. Do you have any advice on how to stick to it?
I’m going to answer your question with a question. Why are you exercising?
Are you getting physical because your doctor told you so, or because you “should” lose weight or to prevent a chronic disease later in life?
In her book, “No Sweat,” researcher Michelle Segar, Ph.D., identifies these “whys” as abstract, clinical, future-oriented and guilt-fueled. This isn’t to say they are inherently wrong, but rather that they tend to turn exercise into a chore. The wrong “whys” may get us up and moving, but our motivation eventually fades, often leading us to quit and label ourselves as a failure. If we start exercising again but still have the wrong whys, we are destined to fail.
Replacing the wrong with the right whys makes all the difference. Try viewing exercise as a gift, something that’s meaningful and relevant now. Say, “I get to, I want to, I choose to exercise.”
Replacing a future reward (weight loss, improved health number) with a more immediate positive (feeling of accomplishment, being refreshed, more energetic) converts the chore into a gift. When we enjoy how we feel during physical activity, we want to repeat it.
Rhonda Zonoozi is an exercise physiologist/certified health coach at the Sun Health Center for Health & Wellbeing. Visit www.sunhealthwellbeing.org or call 623-832-WELL (9355).
(Originally published March 18, 2017; last updated Jan. 12, 2019.)