8.18.14



Recent studies have shown on average it takes more than two months for a new behavior to become a habit. If that's the case, how come so many people fall into the category of 'yo-yo' exercisers? They start a program with a positive attitude and nothing but the best intentions only to run out of steam after a few short months. I have seen many of these cases over the years and the one common denominator I notice is the lack of a clear, attainable goal.


The excuses come in many forms such as 'I'm too busy' or 'I would do it but it makes my back pain worse'. No matter what your excuse, the negative consequences on your body will compound faster than you think. To put it in perspective, gaining just 4 added pounds of body weight a year will be a total of 20 pounds in just 5 short years.


Increased low back pain, joint stiffness, and weight gain are just some of the side effects of not exercising regularly. Factor in an injury you may be dealing with, and these symptoms are often accelerated. So is there a secret that celebrities and the wealthy people you see gracing the covers of the tabloids know that the rest of the population isn't aware of? Is there an easy way we can keep our 22-year-old physique well into middle age? Despite what you have read on the Internet, there are no pills, surgeries, or 'five-minute a day' exercise programs that will accomplish this task.


The key is hard work, day in and day out. Maybe you really don't have the time to do your 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise five times weekly as prescribed by the American Council of Sports Medicine. That just means you will have to be more diligent when it comes to your diet. This also means that you should have a goal. Working out just to work out gets old, no matter how much you love exercising. A trainer can help break up the monotony by giving you a different program each month with unique exercises and challenges.


It is important to note not all goals need to be weight related. Many people get caught up in what I like to call 'scale shock'. A weight goal can be the dagger that keeps you out of the gym. Instead try making an activity goal such as participating in a 5k run or walk, going on a hike up a mountain, or going on a bike trip to somewhere you've never been. Each of these goals is particular in that your training will be varied for each, but as a byproduct you will find yourself getting in better shape regardless of the scale weight.


Are there times that necessitate a total break from activity? Of course, but don't let a short time of inactivity turn into an extended one. No matter what injury or ailment you are suffering from the most important thing is to come up with a plan. Consult your doctor and physical therapist to find out what you can do and when. While many of my clients recover from knee surgery for example, I continue to train their upper body and abdominals as if they never had surgery. The key is to understand that there is always something that can be done, and something is always better than nothing.


Yours in health,


Keith Pacific