How do you stick to an exercise program? Do what you love and be patient | Family

COLUMBUS, Ohio – For years, Peggy O’Connor wanted to start exercising, but her body seemed to have other plans.

O’Connor is a cancer survivor (lymphoma). Her treatments included removal of most of her pancreas and chemotherapy.

These procedures left her with diabetes and nerve damage in her legs and feet.

“At different times I prepared for fitness, but because of the nerve damage I just ended up getting injured,” O’Connor said.

Last time, she said, “I was just trying to walk fast and jog, and I tripped over a metal plate on the street, fell on my hand and finished. by following three months of physiotherapy.

“It’s so irritating.”

Last fall, she discovered the Exercise is Medicine program run by the Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State University.

With the help of a fitness specialist at OSU Health and Fitness Center in New Albany, O’Connor found that she could work out effectively on an elliptical machine rather than a treadmill, on which her occasional foot drop problems tripped her. She also used rowers and weight machines.

It’s a 12 week program, but it didn’t take long for O’Connor to see measurable results.

“I have a continuous glucose monitor, and from the start I noticed that my blood sugar during the workouts dropped dramatically. “

After several weeks, O’Connor said, her blood sugar had dropped even when she wasn’t exercising.

“It made me feel really good,” she said of her training schedule. “It was motivating. “

O’Connor is one of many people who start and stop an exercise program, a particularly acute trend in January.

According to a 2018 survey by NPR and The Marist Poll, 13% of those who make New Year’s resolutions cited exercise more often, making it the most common resolution.

Unsurprisingly, fitness center attendance increased in early January, according to data from several fitness apps collected by Bloomberg CityLab and reported in a January 2019 article. The data showed a gradual decline in attendance from the third year onwards. week of January, and by mid-March, attendance had returned to pre-New Years levels.

“We see new faces at the start of the year, but it seems like they usually don’t stick to it,” said Amy Kleski, director of retail operations at McConnell Heart Health Center and Neuroscience Wellness Center. from OhioHealth.

How to increase the chances of sticking to it? Kleski and other experts offered this advice:

What’s your why for your resolution?

To be effective, resolutions must have a deeper, identified meaning.

Maybe people want to lose weight, so we ask “Why do you want to lose weight?” ” she said. “Maybe the benefit is better health, maybe they want to be able to follow their kids or grandchildren. There has to be something more personal, so that it resonates with people and that they continue. “

Set realistic goals

One of the common pitfalls of people starting a new exercise program, experts say, is trying to overdo it, too soon. Sometimes this happens when newbies go to a gym and compare themselves to others, thinking that they have to do the same exercise or during the same time as someone else.

“Try to use specific, measurable and achievable, realistic and time-based goals,” said Allan Sommer, wellness program manager at Wexner Medical Center. “If you’re sitting on the couch right now and not exercising at all, my goal next week might be, ‘I’ll go to the mailbox and come back three times.’

“So you don’t say, ‘I’m going to start walking.’ Set something that you can track and monitor, and then hopefully you can say, “Oh, I can do that, so maybe now I’ll try this. “

Choose wisely

It sounds basic, but experts lament how often people choose an exercise program that they don’t enjoy or that isn’t practical.

“Patients ask me all the time, ‘What is the best exercise?’ and I tell them, ‘The one you’re going to do,’ ”said Dr David Groen, primary care physician at Mount Carmel Medical Group. “I don’t mean that sarcastically. Pick something that you are going to do. You can tell you want to start swimming, which is a great form of exercise, but if the nearest pool is an hour’s drive away, you’re not going to stick to it because it’s very inconvenient. .

Be patient

Perhaps part of the decline in fitness center attendance between January and February and March is due to new practitioners not realizing that it takes a while to get results.

“If you haven’t exercised for a while, it takes almost three months to notice changes in your outward appearance,” Sommer said. “The first thing that happens is these nerves that work on the muscles haven’t been used that way for a long time, and then there’s a whole shift in the metabolism going on inside you. do not see outside.

“I always say you have to be prepared to stay with me for at least three months. You might not lose weight, you might not look different, but I guarantee you will feel better.

Everything helps

The oft-cited recommendation from the American Heart Association is to have at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous activity.

But experts warn against letting perfection be the enemy of good.

“We encourage you to get moving every day,” Kleski said. “Some days you may feel really dedicated and exercise for 60 minutes, but there may be a day or two when you only want 10 minutes of walking, and that’s okay.

“People need to give themselves grace. “

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