How are you talking to your members about fitness?
When people imagine what fitness looks like, they tend to think of weightlifters, trainers or athletes. While these professionals are definitely fit, they’re not the end all be all goal for fitness. Even the smallest amount of exercise can benefit your overall fitness and health.
Many people spend a large portion of their day seated. A study from the University of Turku stated you can positively affect your risk factors of lifestyle diseases by “spending just one hour less sitting daily and increasing light physical activity.”
Light exercise can benefit your mental health as well. An ASICS study found just 15 minutes and nine seconds of physical activity can trigger a positive change in your mental state.
Another study published in JAMA Psychiatry found one in nine cases of depression could be prevented by doing two and a half hours of brisk walking per week. Broken down, that’s about 21 minutes of walking per day. Compared to adults doing no activity, even 10 minutes of walking per day could lower the risk of depression by 18%.
At its core, taking small steps means finding different ways to incorporate exercise into your daily routine, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Over time, those minutes add up to greater change.
How can you encourage small steps? The benefits of introducing fitness at any level are there, but your members have busy lives. How can you encourage them to build a few minutes of exercise into their daily schedule?
Make Fitness the Goal
For many people, their fitness journey begins with the goal of losing weight. However, studies have shown focusing on weight loss doesn’t show the same health benefits as focusing on overall fitness.
Obese people who exercise with the goal of improving their fitness can lower their risk of premature death by 30% or more — regardless if they lose weight. Sometimes scales don’t accurately reflect the internal benefits of exercise and that can be frustrating and discouraging. You can keep your members motivated by encouraging them to focus on improving their overall wellness rather than losing weight.
Embrace Gradual Change
You can’t become an athlete overnight. Improving your endurance and strength takes time and so does developing a fitness habit. Encourage your members to show up for themselves every day. It may only be for a few minutes when they start out, but that’s OK. If they start off intensely, they can burn out and drop the practice before it becomes a habit. Setting a routine like a walking program that increases in intensity over time can help them start off small and build the habit alongside their endurance.
Beginning a new fitness routine can be overwhelming and scary. Start where your members are comfortable and take it slow. If they’re struggling, showing them compassion can encourage them to keep going. Over time, they’ll build confidence in their new fitness habit.
You don’t have to be an athlete to reap the health benefits of exercise. Encourage your members to take small steps toward fitness, and they’ll see great rewards for their overall wellness.