Make Exercise A Good Habit
Dear Dr. LeCrone:
In my work as a diabetes patient educator, I am often dismayed at the large number of people who find excuses not to exercise. Exercise is a very important part of programs to control or prevent diabetes, and I wonder if you could write about some techniques to help people become exercisers.
-A reader in Indiana
Like many other health care and health promotion strategies, consistent exercise is neglected. Knowledge of the following excuses and remedies for change can assist in developing an exercise program.
• Not enough time. The average American has at least 15 to 18 hours of leisure time per week. How this time is spent is determined by many factors, but this excuse simply boils down to priorities.
Unfortunately, health is not a priority for many people until their health is in jeopardy. Education can help, especially if it is started at an early age.
• Exercise is boring. It doesn’t have to be if you seek out a form of exercise suited to your personality or interest pattern.
An extrovert may enjoy square dancing or walking in a group, for example. An introvert, on the other hand, may find that jogging alone or swimming offers the chance to process and contemplate the world during periods of peace and solitude.
Some people enjoy exercising on a treadmill or stationary bicycle while reading a book, listening to music or watching the news. These activities divert the person’s attention away from the repetitive activity of the exercise itself.
• Exercise must be done in a certain manner or place. You don’t have to go to the health club, take time out for tennis or jog half an hour a day.
Instead, you can walk or bicycle to work, climb stairs during the day and, perhaps, mow the lawn after work.
• When I exercise, I always end up too sore or hurting myself. Injuries or soreness often occur because of trauma or overuse. While some people can tolerate running, others may need to go swimming or biking to avoid injuries and soreness.
Also, starting out slowly and then gradually increasing the intensity of exercise can decrease problems.
As any regular exerciser will tell you, exercise is a necessity that will become a part of the person’s daily routine over time. Make exercise a good habit.
Harold H. LeCrone, Jr., Ph.D. Copyright © 2007