Posted by: Dr. Tyrone A. Holmes | August 15, 2008

Why Exercise Programs Fail and What to Do About It: Part 2

       In my last post I described 2 reasons exercise programs fail, injury and a lack of time.  Here are 3 more reasons with suggestions for overcoming these problems:

1.  Boredom.  A common reason people stop exercising is because they get bored.  Therefore, it is important to have variety in your physical activities.  Try not to do the same exercises day-to-day or week-to-week.  Select activities you enjoy, not those someone else says you should do.  Remember, there is no BEST exercise.  Anything that gets you moving will enhance your fitness and overall health. 

2.  Lack of Support.  It is difficult to engage in a successful, long-term exercise program without the psychological support of your family, friends and even co-workers.  Develop this support by exercising with others.  This provides several benefits including a sense of camaraderie, a positive social experience and the ability to push each other to higher levels of performance. This is especially powerful early in your exercise regimen.  It is much harder to skip a workout if you have one or two friends exercising with you. Remember, for this to work you have to identify an exercise all participants can enjoy, and you’ll need to accommodate varying degrees of fitness.  One way to do this is to identify several different exercises or physical activities that the group will participate in on different days of the week.  For example, one day you might go for  a walk, another day a run and on a third day you might ride bicycles. This has the dual advantage of appealing to a broader array of potential participants as well as providing a nice cross-training opportunity.

3.  Lack of Motivation.  Each of the aforementioned factors can have a negative impact on your motivation to exercise.  However, at the end of the day, you must be able to define for yourself, your reasons for exercising.  Are you trying to get into shape for an athletic event?  Perhaps you want to look better for an upcoming social engagement.  Maybe you want to reduce your risk for disease.  Whatever your reason is, clarify it in your mind and always keep it in front of you.  One way to do this is to type up your reason for exercising and post it in highly visible areas.  This will provide you with a constant reminder of why you are exercising and can motivate you to continue through difficult periods when your enthusiasm is low. 

NEXT POST – August 25, 2008:

Assessing the Risks of an Exercise Program: Part 1



  1. Thanks for the inspiration. I’m going to remember this article when I fall off the wagon again.

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