We have all heard the news — the incidence of heart disease, obesity and type II diabetes is going through the roof. Chances are you or someone you know well fits this bill. We have also heard repeatedly that, along with proper nutrition, exercise is one of the best weapons in our arsenal to maintain good cardio health, fight off obesity and control type II diabetes. So then it should be no surprise doctors are prescribing exercise more often than ever, although it turns out this practice is relatively new but gaining momentum (see “Effectiveness of Physical Activity Advice and Prescription by Physicians in Routine Primary Care“, Grandes et. al., Archives of Internal Medicine, April 2009). Of course it’s easier said than done, especially when your lifestyle is sedentary and the thought of exercise is downright foreign, not to mention a bit intimidating.
There are unlimited resources out there geared toward the non-exerciser, from introductory fitness programs at the neighborhood health club to DVDs promising 6-pack abs in a matter of weeks. In every case establishing an exercise routine for the first time requires initiative, persistence and a commitment to a lifestyle change. Joining a health club or buying a DVD is a good start but often the journey ends there. Thankfully as human beings we embrace the opportunity to be social, and often our social circle plays an important role in starting and maintaining an exercise program. Every day thousands of friends, families or coworkers encourage each other to join in group walks, exercise events, fitness classes at the gym, etc. But even this can be short lived. The missing piece to maintaining exercise is creating a common goal for both you and your peers that demands regularity and accountability. A friendly exercise competition accomplishes all this, and sites like DailyEndorphin offer easy and effective ways to set up individual or team-based exercise challenges (what team can walk the most miles in one month). Not only are you accountable to yourself, but now your teammates depend on you to carry your weight and often this friendly peer pressure is the key you needed to unlock your inner exerciser for good!
An easy, affordable, FUN way of igniting a new exercise habit would be to try one or more of our diverse menu of highly flexible fitness challenges with a group of friends, family, or colleagues. Or all of the above!