By Jonathon Stavres PhD, ACSM-EP-C
Each year around late December gym owners and personal trainers begin salivating at the sound of the New Year. This is the time of year when gym memberships and personal training packages begin to soar, marking the “Black Friday” of the fitness industry!
Why does this happen?
This happens because of “The Great New Year's Resolution”. Many American's begin to phase out of the gym in the middle of the year, often times either during the summer or when the school year begins. However, once the holiday season comes and goes, we are ready to get back into the gym and shed the extra holiday weight.
Therefore, many American's make the New Year's resolution to lose excess weight and get back into shape. While this in alone is not a problem, the adherence to the fitness program is.
Unfortunately, a lot of the people who make the New Year's resolution to get back in shape and go to the gym only adhere to that program for a short period of time. Gym attendance usually begins to drop in March, when the winter is slowly coming to an end and we can start singling-out excuses for not going. This cycle usually begins the slow regression of weight gain and sedentary time that culminates with the holiday season weight gain and another new year.
How can we stick to a new fitness program?
Research has shown that the more interesting and fun your fitness program is to you; the more effective it will be and the better you will adhere to it. While this may come as no great surprise, it often does get overlooked when people first sign up for a program.
Thogersen-Ntoumani et. al (2016) found that intrinsic motivation strongly correlates to higher exercise adherence. This means that tailoring your program to what you enjoy and what you want to achieve will give you the best chance of sticking with it.
Most training programs focus on training outcomes (i.e. weight loss, strength gain, aerobic condition, etc.), but neglect adherence. Therefore, if you make the New Year's resolution in January to get back into shape, don't make it a sprint to the finish. Instead, find something you enjoy and make it a program that you can stick with.
Whether that be a yoga program, a step class, joining a recreational basketball or racquetball league, or trail-cycling, it may be what you need to achieve your long term goals of lifestyle modification and permanent weight management.
For more examples of other variations/exercises look under Multimedia-VDF Exercise Tips
Try this Simple easy yoga
**Consult with a physician and/or medical healthcare provider before starting any exercise regimen
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Thogersen-Ntoumani, C., Shepherd, S. O., Ntoumanis, N., Wagenmakers, A. J., & Shaw, C. S. (2016). Intrinsic motivation in two exercise interventions: Associations with fitness and body composition. Health Psychol, 35(2), 195-198. doi: 10.1037/hea0000260