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Simply Fit, by Cindy Haskin-Popp, will help you make physical activity a part of everyday life. The health benefits of regular exercise and overall daily physical activity will be discussed. Fun, practical and easy-to-follow tips on an exercise program will be shared, as will the most current research. Fitness tips for families and seniors, on fitness centers and on buying proper and affordable equipment will be regularly given. 

Friday, April 23, 2010

Can a Personal Fitness Contract Improve Exercise Adherence?

At one point or another, even the most internally motivated individual needs some type of an external incentive when it comes to exercise adherence.  Many of us probably can admit that there are days when we spend more time coming up with excuses as to why we can't exercise than it would have taken us to actually do the exercise in the first place.  Social support is a great external motivator to get you to hop on that bike and go for a ride or take that walk around the neighborhood.  Formalizing that support through a written personal fitness contract solidifies your commitment even more.  This is an intervention tool known as behavioral contracting and its effectiveness has been backed by research.

What is a personal fitness contract?
  • A written document drafted by yourself that outlines your exercise goals and that is signed and dated by you and a friend or family member who will hold you accountable.
What should go into a personal fitness contract?
  • Short, tangible goals (e.g., I will walk 3 days/week for at least 30 minutes/session).
  • Timeline: Give yourself a target date by which you achieve your goals (e.g., I will be walking 3 days/week for at least 30 minutes/session every week by June 1, 2010).
  • Reward for achieving your goal (e.g., I will allow myself 15 extra minutes on Saturday morning to read the newspaper before I do housework).
  • Consequence for not achieving your goal (e.g., I will skip reading my favorite book so that I can go for my walk).
  • Plan for achieving your goal (e.g., I will go for a walk during my lunch break).
A successful contract is one that is flexible and outlines realistic goals.  New contracts can be drafted as goals are achieved or your circumstances change.

Note:  Before beginning an exercise program or increasing the intensity level of a current routine, a physician's approval should be obtained, especially for older adults and those at risk for or who currently have chronic health conditions.

Resource:
ACSM's Resource Manual for Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription, sixth edition, pp. 700-701.

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1 Comments:

Blogger Jackson said...

A personal trainer can be very helpful for a person who is concerned about his or her health and fitness. A personal trainer can give a diet and exercise routines that can help you to attain your health goals.

June 24, 2010 at 3:26 AM 

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