Fitness Goal Setting – Using Fitness Goal Setting as a Success Tool
Unlike resolutions, which are usually broken by February, goals are made to be set, attained, and set again at a new higher level. Goal setting is an important tool for evaluating your progress and successfully meeting your goals. It is the road map that helps lead you to your final destination. Short-term (immediate) and intermediate goals are the stepping-stones to your long-range goals. Short and intermediate goals are necessary so that success is experienced during the long journey towards your long-range and final, ultimate goal.
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I have heard this question often: “Can exercise lower my risk of type 2 diabetes?”
The answer: Absolutely! In a recent study of 41,000 women, it was found that moderate exercise (walking, biking, etc.), done four times per week, cuts the risk of diabetes in half as we get older. This is a very exciting finding! It was also found that 8% of diabetes found in inactive adults may have been prevented with moderate exercise. Although there are genetic factors involved in acquiring type 2 diabetes (previously called adult-onset or noninsulin-dependent), the biggest culprits in the development of the disease are inactivity and excess body fat. This research shows yet another debilitating disease that can potentially be avoided through moderate exercise.
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Research has shown that if your workout is not one of your top four priorities of the day, it won’t get done. Do I believe this? Absolutely! I have seen it in my 30+ years as a fitness professional as well as in my own life. If your workout or exercise time is not on your “have to do” list, it is likely to get pushed aside for other things.
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“I’m already thin… Why should I work out?”
This is one of those lines we don’t hear as much in the fitness industry as some others, but it is a question that deserves some attention.
Working out, including resistance training, cardiovascular training, and flexibility, is not just for people who wish to lose weight. Fitness training is for your health, not just your looks. Thin does not necessarily mean healthy. Research has shown that someone who is thin and unfit is actually less healthy than someone who has a few extra pounds and is fit. People who are thin and unfit can have heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc. just like people who are overweight and unfit. A sound exercise program can also make your body look and feel even better.
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Everyone has the same 24 hours in each day. Amazingly, people who never have time to work out find time to eat, watch television, socialize, etc. You can spend just a few hours a week for your health, but the key is to schedule your workout time as if it is any other important appointment that cannot be canceled or skipped. It is, in fact, one of the most important appointments you can schedule for yourself. Many people have work and family obligations and neglect their health by not exercising. When you schedule your workout, don’t answer the phone, schedule something new, take on an additional commitment, etc. Research has shown that if you do not make working out one of the top four priorities in your day, you will not get it done.
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Swimming is a great cardiovascular workout. It works all of the large muscle groups in your body and is especially ideal for people who have joint problems, problems with overheating, or are too obese for weight bearing exercise yet. Make sure that you are a proficient enough swimmer to get your heart rate into its target range and swim continuously for at least 20 – 30 minutes. Some people may need stroke instruction before being able to use swimming as a fitness activity. Check with your local recreation department or a private swim club for adult lessons. Many areas have masters programs for adult swimmers that can provide stroke instruction as well as group workouts. Remember to always put safety first and never swim alone.