By Erica Moe
You did it! You started a new fitness routine. It may be that you’re willing yourself off the couch for your favorite yoga DVD or getting outside for a daily walk. Maybe you even joined a gym. The new year is a great time to rejuvenate your fitness regimen.
However, studies on exercise adherence show 40 percent of people who start this month will stop their new exercise plan before June. Has this happened to you before? Well, it’s not just you — it’s close to one out of every two people. You are definitely not alone.
Two are better than one
Problem: When you start a program without the support of another person, you have an 85 percent chance of failing.
Solution: Find an accountability partner. It may be a friend or family member who can support you mentally or be your personal cheerleader. It could be a workout partner who goes to the gym with you for every workout to support you physically. Your tribe might be a small group that you meet for a weekly run or a group exercise class. Support can even come in the form of an online group on social media. Ever consider why facilities have member-bring-a-member programs? To help you succeed! There is power in numbers — one plus one equals success!
I can do it!
Self-efficacy is the belief in one’s ability to overcome barriers and successfully perform desired outcomes. In this case, to be physically active and to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The No. 1 strategy to increase self-efficacy is to set proper goals. Create short- and long-term goals that are SMART — specific, measureable, attainable, realistic and time-oriented. Belief in yourself is the intrinsic motivation that you need to make it happen. A personal mantra can come in handy such as, “I’ve got this!”
Research has shown that working with a personal trainer or health coach can increase exercise adherence by 40 percent over a 24-week period. Take advantage of new-year specials to not only get you started, but to help you build consistency, and maintain your momentum and motivation. One study showed that enlisting a virtual coach could yield similar results to a one-on-one appointment.
Don’t be a statistic
Health seekers are at the highest risk for giving up and canceling their gym memberships within the first 30 days. Half of new exercisers will quit within three to six months. Don’t be part of these statistics! Find a partner, believe in yourself and enlist professional help. Success is just a YMCA away.
At the YMCA, members have access to KickStart — a free program that includes three meetings with a wellness coach over 30 days. Clients new to personal training can get five one-on-one sessions for $199. MobileFit, the YMCA’s new fitness app, can track your and allow your coach to send you workouts.
—Erica Moe, M.S., is an ACSM-certified exercise physiologist who writes on behalf of the Mission Valley YMCA, where she is fitness director.