Skip Navigation Links



    Learn More     Subscribe    
Join Now!      Login
Medicial Mistakes Quiz
How many people each year suffer some type of preventable harm that contributes to their death after a hospital visit?
eeping Fit

How To Transform Them From Sedentary To Active

© Wayne L. Westcott PhD

The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled Keeping Fit by Wayne L. Westcott PhD. View all columns in series
Dr. Westcott Of course, you will want to use your own creativity and special interests, as well as the unique characteristics of your market, to build the right kind of programming for the inactive population in your area. However, there are basic elements you can use as a foundation to create a strong, successful program.

To help you integrate components that will ensure an effective class or program, I am going to outline fundamentals learned from over a decade of experience designing exercise programs specifically for the average sedentary adult.

At the South Shore YMCA in Boston, we train as many as 500 formerly inactive adults in a year. Our participants respond well to a basic training program (20 to 25 minutes of strength exercise and 20 to 25 minutes of endurance exercise three days a week), using standard training principles. We incorporate several educational and motivational teaching techniques to enhance member satisfaction and adherence.

After an eight-week training program, participants complete an anonymous, written questionnaire regarding their exercise experiences. The average rating has been 4.9 out of 5.0. Although some individuals drop out, about 95 percent of those who finish the program continue to exercise on a regular basis. In our experience, eight weeks of carefully designed exercise is sufficient to change the lifestyle patterns of previously sedentary adults.

How You Can Do It
To develop your program, you need to concentrate on three key aspects: motivational approach, exercise methods and teaching methods. I will begin by briefly describing our approach to motivation, then discuss endurance and strength training exercise methods and, finally, offer tips on successful teaching methods. While I will speak from my experience with one kind of program, keep in mind that you are free to take these ideas and create your own unique offering.

1, 2, 3 . . . Get Motivated!
At South Shore YMCA, we use the "awareness, attention, achievement" approach to get and keep our new exercisers. You can probably come up with your own strategies for making this three-step approach work, but the following ideas have worked for us.

Step One:

Exercise Awareness
To us, this means, "Get the word out!" To introduce the benefits of exercise to people in our surrounding communities, we use television segments; radio shows; business newsletters; and presentations at schools, hospitals, churches, senior centers and service clubs. However, our regular "Keeping Fit" newspaper column - presently in its 14th year - is far and away our most effective tool for reaching and teaching the sedentary population.

The majority of our weekly exercise articles are directed toward the inactive market, including youth, adults, seniors, overweight persons and weekend athletes (golfers, skiers, etc.) Each article presents about 700 to 800 words of basic exercise information, typically emphasizing training benefits, principles, and options for nonexercising individuals.

Step Two:

Exercise Attention
Awareness is a good starting point, but it is rarely sufficient in itself. Unfortunately, most nonexercisers have difficulty sticking with a home-based exercise program. They purchase equipment and learn how to use it, but they seldom adhere to a regular workout schedule on their own.

Add your comment   CONTINUED    1  2  3  4  5  6  Next   
About The Author
Wayne L. Westcott, Ph.D., is fitness research director at the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, MA. He is strength training consultant for numerous national organizations, such as the American Council on Exercise, the American Senior Fitness Association, and the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation, and editorial advisor for many publications, including Prevention, Shape, and......more
Share   Facebook   Buzz   Delicious   Digg   Twitter  
From Our Sponsor
Featured Events
Wellness Inventory Certification Training
     September 16-December 16, 2014
     Teleclass, CA USA
Additional Calendar Links
Wellness, Self Responsibility, Love, dimension!

Home       Wellness       Health A-Z       Alternative Therapies       Find a Practitioner       Healthy Products       Bookstore       Wellness Inventory
Healthy Kitchen       Healthy Woman       Healthy Man       Healthy Child       Healthy Aging       Wellness Center       Nutrition Center       Fitness Center
Free Newsletter      What Doctor's Don't Tell You      Discount Lab Tests      First Aid      Global Health Calendar      Privacy Policy     Contact Us

Disclaimer: The information provided on HealthWorld Online is for educational purposes only and IS NOT intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.