This morning I had a few extra minutes – not a likely scenario for me these days! – so I decided to peruse a few of my favorite online outlets for health and fitness news. Huffington Post’s Healthy Living is always great and I love FitSugar‘s playful articles featuring fun recipes and cool workout gear. But today my attention was caught by an article in the New York Times’ Well blog…
“Sold on the Feeling, if not the Benefits of Health,” by Gina Kolata, struck a chord. First of all, because it reminded me of blog post I wrote not too long ago about why we do what we do. But beyond that, it really got me pondering about how and why exercise is marketed to, well, everyone! It’s interesting to consider the many ways that the “importance of fitness” is represented, from health benefits to appearance to the endorphines that just make you feel so good coming down from a workout. Yet still, only about 50% of Americans exercise 3 or more days per week. What is missing from exercising’s campaign to get the other half moving? Perhaps it’s time to consider a bit of re-branding.
As Kolata’s article suggests, people embark on an exercise routine with the notion that it “makes you feel good” and has tremendous “health benefits.” But how do we twist this even further to reach the goal of 100% of Americans getting to the gym, studio, or sidewalks? The only thing I can think of, besides the knowledge of many people’s overzealous TV habits, is that perhaps people are simply intimidated by the notion of exercise. “Fitness goals seem unattainable, so why start now… Scared of being judged at the gym…” Well, I’m here to suggest a re-branding solution: Ditch “exercise”/exchange for “movement”.
Encouraging daily “movement” feels, to me at least, a little less daunting. Getting started with small movement goals like taking the stairs instead of the elevator; biking to your friend’s house on the weekend instead of starting of the car; walking to grab a healthy lunch. With regards to getting started at a formal gym or studio, I recommend signing up for a private session to start. Keep an eye on our Facebook page, as we occasionally offer free consultations. Introductory Packages are offered at a discount for the new clients and centered on constructing a personalized agenda to suit an individual’s current capabilities and goals.
So let’s collectively reconsider our ideas about exercise and get the ball rolling. Whatever will get you moving, it’s always the perfect time to start. And remember: there’s no wrong way to approach it!