With motivation seeping from your pores, it’s time to get the body you’ve always wanted. But what happens when the initial buzz dies down? Exercise adherence takes a nosedive. Here’s why and five exercise adherence strategies to ensure you look forward to the gym even after the honeymoon period is over.
Exercise Adherence – what’s the story?
Research suggests that 50% of people diving headfirst into an exercise program will drop out within the first 6 months.
Trost et al submitted a study to the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise to find out why the initial fire under people’s butts was being extinguished. Here’s what they found along with the all-important fix.
5 exercise adherence strategies to keep the excitement going
1) Demographic and health
Overall, men are more physically active than women. Wipe that smug grin off your face, bro – your man-bits aren’t going to automatically drag you to the gym. Especially if you’re overweight which was negatively associated with sticking to exercise.
The Fix: Start slow. If you’re overweight, you don’t need to psyche yourself out by beasting yourself at the gym. Start by tracking your food on MyFitnessPal and slash your daily consumed calories by 30%. Add a brisk, 60 minute daily walk into the fold and you’ll melt the fat before even setting foot into a gym.
It’s all about confidence. Not just for attracting your better half, but for sticking to the gym. The research found that confidence in your ability to perform the exercises correctly was the number 1 reason that will make or break your consistency.
The Fix: Get the most inspiring personal trainer in your gym and book them to take you through one full-body workout. You’ll learn to correctly perform all major exercises. As a bonus, the inspiring trainer will favorably influence your exercise adherence according to a study in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity.
3) Behaviors and results
Expecting, and then not seeing results immediately take shape can put off even the most motivated among us. Not enjoying the process of gaining fitness and just doing it because you have to also reduces your will to carry on.
The fix: Understanding from the start that your fitness outcomes can often take months increases adherence. This also increases confidence because you stuck it out long enough to see results, further enhancing your belief in exercise long-term.
4) Social and cultural support
Going it alone can be a difficult road. Those who had no support from friends or family were far less likely to plough through to their goal.
The fix: If you have a buddy who’s been talking the talk, now might be the perfect time for you both to go all in. If your family are unsupportive, create a new exercise family. Classes and group training environments are big enhancers of exercise adherence.
5) Environment and accessibility
A gym miles away from home has been shown to sap motivation real fast. That spitting sawdust gym with broken machines and showers isn’t a great idea either. Being dissatisfied with a gym has been shown to put you right off.
The fix: Trost et al found that having easy access to an exercise facility with inspiring exercise leaders helps keep you hyped about training. Pick a gym that you can jog or cycle to for a convenient warm-up, with added adherence to boot.
For more content about exercise adherence strategies, nutrition, and workouts, get TRAIN magazine direct to your inbox every month for free by signing up to our newsletter