Article by Edward McAuley, professor of Kinesiology at University of Illinois
Have you started an exercise program only to watch it slip away? About 50% of those motivated enough to start an exercise program drop out within the first six months. For the best results you should do at least 20-40 minutes of light to moderate aerobic exercise three times a week. But if you are like most of us the best intentions don=t always happen. Only about 20% exercise infrequently, and about 40% don=t exercise at all. The most sedentary group is adults 45 to 64 years old.
Why We Stop Exercising- It should be remembered that initial involvement in an exercise program may not be a particularly pleasant, fun, or enjoyable experience. The most common reasons for quitting are time constraints and lack of motivation. It is not that people can=t go out and exercise for 20 minutes, but it=s that they find a reason not to. What you need is to emphasize the gains you are making through exercise. Build your self-confidence; gear your exercise program to see results from day one. Look for progress and celebrate any improvement.
Getting Past the Three Month Hump-Based on a five-month study, the first three months of a program are the crucial period for deciding the longevity of an exercise program. If the exercise program is conducted with attention to developing self-confidence, you are much less likely to drop out during the following months. People with a belief in their ability to exercise, even in the face of obstacles, exercise more often and perceive the exercise to be less physically demanding.
Faculty/Staff Bulletin--submitted May 8, 1997.