Challenging exercise misconceptions


Some people love the gym. It can offer some well-deserved time to focus on you, a great stress reliever and releases endorphins that make you happy. Others view it as an experience similar to the dentist; bringing a sense of foreboding, an uncomfortable experience to put off for as long as possible. Just like the dentist, many people have irrational fears about exercise, avoiding it wherever possible rather than realising the benefits it can bring.

Having the right mindset for exercise is so important in allowing it to become a lifestyle. Exercise professionals understand the benefits and pleasure that exercise can bring, and the difference it can make to an individual’s life. Communicating this positive attitude to someone who has negative connotations associated with fitness can be as important as anything else you teach them. You must train the mind as much as the body; it should not be underestimated what a useful tool a positive mindset is when it comes to achieving your goals.

Getting people to realise that exercise is something accessible to them, can provide a moment of awakening in people’s lives.  To do this, the common misconceptions must be challenged.

I have to work hard for hours to see any results

Nothing worth doing is ever going to be easy; not putting the necessary input into exercise will not bring any noteworthy results. Not trying small changes with the belief it won’t make a difference is counterproductive. To someone with a sedentary lifestyle, adding 15 minutes a day will make a difference. Keeping that up will allow for the duration and intensity to be increased.  Making small changes can make a big difference, doing something is far better than doing nothing at all. Every step forward is one step closer to achieving a fitter, healthier lifestyle, and they all count.

15 minutes a day is almost two hours each week, or 104 hours a year; compared to doing nothing before, 104 hours is not to be sniffed at.

I’m too old or unfit to exercise

Exercise professionals have a duty to quash this misconception completely; exercise isn’t just for those who are young and fit, in fact it is arguably more important for those who don’t fit into this category. It is vital for these groups to understand that exercise can be individually tailored for any specific requirement. It is not necessary to compare themselves to anyone else’s standards, other gym users are far too engrossed in their own workouts to worry what anyone else is doing. What’s more, however long exercise has been ignored, it is never too late to start.  It’s not the level that is started at that it is important, just the direction headed.

The gym is boring

Going to the gym may not be for everyone, but it does offer a practical solution to being able to exercise for lots of people. Gym boredom can be kept at bay by switching between gym work and other activities. Running and circuits are great activities that can be done outside, without any specialist equipment necessary.  Thanks to the outdoor gym company, even using traditional gym machines can be done outside, providing a nice change of scenery and fresh air.

If working out in the gym is the only feasible option, there are plenty of ways to ensure it stays stimulating. A programme designed for an individual should work them hard, leaving little time to get bored. Changing or intensifying the programme should help if a client feels like they are stuck in a gym rut.

Many people stick to the same few machines, often as they are familiar with their favourite machines or are too unsure about trying a new one. Ensuring clients are competent in the use of all gym equipment and understand what aspect of their fitness it is aiding will ensure they have the confidence to push themselves hard and try new things.

I don’t have time

Finding the time to fit in anything new is difficult, but exercise is something that should have its place in a daily routine. The benefits that it brings completely outweigh the time it takes.  Feeling tired after work is very different from exhaustion felt from exercise; often a workout is what is needed after a long day in the office and leaves you revitalised and with more energy to face the next day.  It needn’t take a long time, little and often is just as effective as a big workout. Making exercise a habit will increase the chances of carrying it on in the future.

I will never be good at it

What is good is relative; exercising regularly will make anybody better than their previous level. Allowing people to realise what are realistic expectations for themselves, and how to recognise their achievements will encourage them to keep going.

It is important not to judge an individual against the standards of others, and discourage them from doing so themselves. Specific and achievable yet challenging targets are the best way on measuring progress and keep the enthusiasm high. Never expect too much too soon, it deserves enough merit for acknowledging more exercise is needed and taking the first steps to a more active lifestyle.

Allowing someone to discover the benefits of exercise who was previously too nervous to have a go is one of the most rewarding things for an exercise professional. With the countless examples of how exercise has changed people’s lives and health, communicating this important message and challenging misconceptions is fundamental.

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