Hatfield, UK -- Now be honest, have work pressures ever prevented you from exercising? If you've felt this way as fitness professionals, imagine how the everyday
person feels. A recent UK study confirms what most stressed-out workers already know, the intentions to exercise fall far shorter that the actual acts of doing so.
The report disclosed that many people in high stress jobs are not exercising as much as they want or need. Doctors Nicola Payne and Fiona Jones of the University of Hertfordshire along with Dr. Peter Harris of the University of Sheffield studied more than 200 employees of a UK computer company to investigate whether working life influences exercise behavior. They were looking for "predictors" of exercise in a group of employees.
In the October 2002 issue of the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, they revealed that "Although one out three employees had planned to exercise, one in five did not exercise as they had intended. Those who did exercise did so for about 60 minutes less than intended."
Focus On Increasing Confidence To Improve Exercise Adherence
"High demands make exercising elusive. The only factors that differed between the employees who exercised as they had planned and those who did not, were work demands and self-confidence", the report says.
'High-strain' jobs made large demands and employees felt less control over their job. They reported not only less self-confidence in their ability to stick to an exercise program, but they also exercised less frequently than their colleagues in lower strain jobs.
Accordingly, "People with these types of jobs either may not have time for exercise, or they may be unwilling to exercise because they need to recover after the working day". People need to focus on increasing confidence in their abilities to exercise, even when faced with demanding jobs.
Now you fitness directors all know that an effective antidote to stress is exercise. The challenge arises when the ailment itself prevents the execution of the remedy. Helping members deal with this will be vital to them achieving good health.
So, What is Stress?
According to information published by Edith Cowan University in Perth, Australia, "Stress is a response to change, threat or long-term frustration. Some stress is actually good for you, helping to mobilize your mind and body to be at your best." So, from our ancestral beginnings, stress was a survival mechanism.
"However, too much stress, especially prolonged, increases the risk of a number of diseases, including heart disease, asthma and duodenal ulcers. It can also put pressure on relationships at work and at home.
Age is no barrier to stress. It can affect a young child starting school, a teenagers facing exams, an adult who loses a job or starts a new one, parents coping with family difficulties, and seniors nearing retirement. v While it may not be possible nor worthwhile to get rid of stress completely, there are approaches and new living habits you can develop to help manage stress."
Replace Worrying with an Action Plan
The best advice for stressed out people is to come up with an action plan, and part of the plan should be exercise. Instead of worrying, they should think of what they can do to change the situation they are worrying about. Far easier said then done. Edith Cowan University does offer solid steps to overcome stress.
Exercise Support Groups
As we know, most people do find that physical activity or exercise is the best way to manage stress. And, it has the added advantage of improving general health. However, when members are caught up in the moment, they forget about that euphoric high from the endorphins and they're too much in the "frazzled state". Consequently they forgo their exercise routine and with the added guilt, they feel even worse.
Assuming the member isn't enlisting a regular personal trainer who will keep them on the program, one suggestion is for the stressed members to join an exercise support group. Their classmates will help to keep them on a regular program. Better yet, they should participate in a mind-body program that lifts the spirit yoga or Pilates.
For strength trainers that same benefit can be derived from a "lifting buddy", who's real value other than spotting them is to keep them from copping out.