You’ve been working diligently on your fitness program–whether it’s exercising or food changes. You’re coasting along until you hit a bump in the road–it may be self-sabotage or somebody who consciously or unconsciously derails your wellness plans, leading to inevitable setbacks.
We Baby Boomers and seniors need to learn to how to recognize these situations and quickly turn them around. Here is a list of common fitness saboteurs; learn how to combat them with practical strategies that really work from the American Council on Exercise (Fit Facts, 5 Common Fitness Saboteurs and How to Defeat Them):
1. Unrealistic Expectations—Novice exercisers get frustrated when they expect big results too soon after starting a fitness program. Because they haven’t lost a huge amount of weight or met other goals, they throw in the towel. To avoid this mistake, set realistic goals and practice extreme patience. If you stick with a regimen, your body will respond to exercise. It takes at least six weeks of regular exercise and sometimes more for physiological changes to kick in. It’s called the training effect. You’ll know it’s happening when your workouts start feeling easier; when you can tolerate longer, harder exercise sessions; and when you can do housework, yard work, or climb stairs with less effort.
2. Stress—When you’re up against a work deadline or the kids are sick, you may feel you can’t handle one more thing, including exercise. But taking time out to go for a brisk walk or workout is one of the best things you can do during times of intense stress. Exercise helps alleviate stress, anxiety, and depression and helps boost your mood, enabling you to cope with whatever you’re facing. Even a short workout is better than nothing.
3. The Unexpected—You were going to walk after work, but now you’ve been asked to work late. Or perhaps you planned to swim, but then you find out that the pool is closed for maintenance. Life happens, and you can either throw up your hands and say, “forget it,” or accept it and roll with it. Resilience is your ability to bounce back quickly from life’s surprises and setbacks. This can be improved with practice. As you become more resilient, you’re less likely to ditch your workout when something comes up. Instead, you’ll be able to quickly modify your plans and move forward.
4. Negative Self-Talk—“I’m so lazy, I’ll never be fit;” “I didn’t even exercise once this week;” “I’m such a loser.” Would you talk to a friend or loved one this way? Listening to negative self-talk isn’t motivating, so what’s the point? Negative self-talk only destroys your confidence and motivation to the point where you can’t visualize success. But you don’t have to put up with it. The next time you recognize a critical thought, stop it and replace it with a positive thought, like this: “I’m so proud of myself for walking at lunch time today. It took a lot of effort, but I did it.” Behavior change is hard. Give yourself some credit for every step you take toward your fitness goals. Practice intentionally giving yourself positive feedback and watch your motivation soar.
To discover other ways to shore up your fitness program, give me a call!
We can discuss some practical tips and discover if any of my programs or classes are a good fit for you.
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