Can a Personal Fitness Contract Improve Exercise Adherence?
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.
- 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).
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.
ACSM's Resource Manual for Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription, sixth edition, pp. 700-701.