Column 11 - Choose Your Exercise Program

Original publication date: November 16, 1983

If you were one of many who started an exercise program in September chances are the program is nearing the end or has already ended. At this time when you are debating whether to continue with the activity, you should ask yourself what it is you want out of fitness and did your program satisfy you.

If you can honestly say you joined a fitness program for yourself and how you would benefit, you'll probably continue with some type of activity. If, however, you began a fitness program because of the influence of others, you'll probably have to revaluate your fitness goals and choice of activity.

When I say influence from others it could be the badgering of husband or wife to lose weight so you could wear the same size clothes you wore when you were married. Your friends at work may have dragged you into their fitness plans. Your doctor may have advised a fitness program because of high blood pressure or high weight gain. Your whole family may be pressuring you so you need a might out by yourself.

Influence from others is what it takes for some people to get out and try something new. Once you've started a program, however, it takes more than outside influence to keep you going back each week. You'll continue to go because you either like the program itself, or the feeling you get after the activity. Or you may continue to go as a social night out to be with and meet new people.

Just as there are many reasons to continue with a program there are as many reasons to stop going. If it's a fitness class you joined, you may quit because of the inability to lose weight or tone down, sore and abused muscles, a stiff and aching back for days after the class, excess energy which you were unable to control which may have led to insomnia, or a simple dislike of your instructor.

Rather than quit the activity altogether, good advice would be to change fitness instructors or switch to a different club which uses a different format of exercising. A fitness class should not leave you feeling sore and run down with pronounced after effects days later. Five to 10 years ago fitness classes were brutal in an army like fashion.

If you didn't crawl out of the class aching from head to toe, the instructor didn't give you a good workout. We are now, however, more concerned with harmful exercises which should be avoided. The back especially is treated with caution. You should finish your class feeling you've worked hard but able to recuperate and continue on with your day.

If you have entirely different reactions to exercising such as loss of breath, dizzy spells or lightheadedness, upset stomachs or cramped muscles, the problem does not lie with the instructor but with you. You are trying to do too much too soon. These are danger signals warning you to slow down until your body is better conditioned. You should not exercise to the point of uncomfortableness. You should be able to breathe in a rhythmic manner. If you cannot talk while exercising you are exercising too hard and should take it easy. Fitness takes time and patience. Knowing this should make your decision that much easier to make.

Copyright 2021 K.L. McCluskey, all rights reserved.