Tuesday 23 April 2019

Shattering The Glass On Exercise Promotion

"It's easy to fit exercise into every single day."

"Just take 20 minutes to get up and move!"

"Time is only an excuse to not exercise."

How often do we see statements like this plastering our media? According to fitness and health professionals out there, exercise is the easiest, simplest thing to insert into your day or week, and no one has an excuse to skip it.

In theory, this makes sense. We all definitely spend 20 minutes or more doing unimportant work during our days. Replacing it with a 20 minute walk should be no problem.

The problem that I have with promotional messages such as this is that they ALL come from professionals who work and spend their entire days in health-promoting environments. Personal trainers who work at gyms, therapists who do exercise with clients all day, doctors who maintain health initiatives for their entire staff; the list goes on.

Let me make this clear. We professionals say that exercise is easy to work into a day because, for us, it IS easy! We work in settings that contain exercise equipment. We spend all day positively enforcing the idea of movement. Our job is to focus on health!

But for the individual who works an office job on the 20th floor of a building in the downtown core with little surrounding greenspace; the member of a staff that is, overall, not active or interested in health promotion; the person who works a second or third job on the side to support their kids, this message has little hold.

If you're not part of that environment, yourself, can you just imagine so for a second? Access to exercise is one thing - and one that many people still do not have to a great extent. Motivation is another. When you spend your days surrounded by people and work that do everything but promote exercise, what is the inclination to partake. (Aside from gorgeous Instagram trainers who make you feel guilty for skipping something soooo easy in your day.)

Now, I'm not saying that the public is a lost cause to convince to exercise, and I'm not guilt-free of trying to make broad, general statements on ways to incorporate exercise into the day. However, as a mindful practitioner, I realize that access and motivation for exercise is a highly-individualized thing, and generalized tips will not go far. It boils down working with each client, one-on-one, to develop methods and ways to increase a client's participation.

And don't feel bad because that guy on Facebook says it should be easy.


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