Dr. Bart Lerner (EdD), president of Argosy University, Phoenix, offers guidelines for approaching an exercise regimen than can help everyone benefit from exercise.
"Simply stated, sport-exercise psychology can be defined as mental management of physical resources. Staying mentally focused is the most important factor," Lerner said.
To build motivation for exercise, Lerner recommends outlining the reasons why you want to participate in the activity. Some people exercise to improve their performance in a sport, while others exercise to tone muscles, or socialize with friends at a gym. "There is usually more than one reason why we exercise," Lerner said. "The number one reason is weight control. It could be to lose extra weight gained throughout the year or to address health problems that have a tendency to appear in overweight people."
Making changes in your environment can help keep motivation levels high. If your exercise equipment sits in the basement, consider moving it to a more convenient spot in your house. If you don't have the facilities at home, purchase a gym membership.
"When you provide for successful exercise experiences, good things can happen," Lerner said. "You don't have to do three sets of 10 from the start. Provide realistic goals. Doing one set will give you success, and you can build on that success each time."
Lerner also suggests making your exercise fun. "People are less likely to see exercise as a chore when it contains elements of fun. Consider adding music as a motivator during the session. Mix it up a bit by varying the content or sequence of the workout. Work on arms and legs one day, and legs and stomach the next," Lerner said. "By setting realistic goals that you can achieve frequently, you feel satisfied along the way. As you progress in the level of your workout, you'll feel better. At that point, the workout becomes its own motivator."
Lerner said that those who seek to benefit from working out should exercise three to five days a week for 25 to 45 minutes at a time. During each session, try to reach 60 percent to 70 percent of your maximal heart rate. A simple formula for figuring maximal heart rate is to take 220 and subtract your age. Each time you exercise, try to reach 60 percent of that number. To find your heart rate, feel your pulse and count the beats for ten seconds. Multiply by six to get the heart rate per minute.
"Exercise can reduce the chances of heart disease and hypertension, and reduce stress," Lerner said. "It releases endorphins in the brain, which can add to our emotional well-being. Exercise also makes one more aware of self, and can build confidence."
Courtesy of ARAcontent
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