Exercise Behavior is defined as behavior that motivates an individual to initiate and maintain regular workout routines. In addition, it dictates how a person chooses to exercise. One person’s tendency to initiate and maintain exercise it's primarily determined by their beliefs and by their attitudes.
A belief is a state or a habit of Mind in which trust or confidence it's placed in some person or some thing. Beliefs are not True or False, Right or Wrong, they are just Opinions that are passed around and transmitted to us from parent, teachers, society, friends, etc. Each thought enters our minds at a cost. It will either move us towards happiness and success or away from that.
Beliefs are very powerful in determining exercise behavior and should not be overlooked. If a person does not believe that exercise promotes health or it's instrumental in weight loss, or it makes him or her feel better, then there is little chance that person will initiate and comply to any exercise program. There's truly no motivation to do anything if there is no belief that that action will bring a benefit. Of course, we can always let go of our non-supportive beliefs, but that takes a great shift in our mindset and a clarity which for many is linked to results.
On the other hand, a belief that exercising is beneficial, helps provide the right motivation which is needed to initiate and maintain a program of regular exercise.
An attitude is defined as a mental position or feeling of emotion with regards to a fact or a state. If a person has a preconceived negative attitude towards working out or towards people who exercise in general, that person will probably not become a regular exerciser. For example, if a person feels that all people who exercise are fanatics or health nuts, and they do not wish to be labeled as such, that person will choose not to participate in any physical activity. Here is another example: If a woman who has muscle definition it's viewed as unattractive in her own eyes, or maybe she was told too many times that being muscular is a sign of being unattractive, it would be difficult to convince herself to work out. Attitudes and beliefs are formed through family, social, and educational experiences.
Going back to the second part of the exercise Behavior definition, it talks about how a person chooses to exercise. Again, exercise choices are affected by attitudes and beliefs. Personal choice dictates whether someone makes the decision to exercise alone, with a partner or in a group setting.
Education also determines how a person chooses to work out. If someone was taught at some point that straight leg lifts are the best way to train the abdominal muscles, that will be the preferred type of exercise that person will constantly choose, no matter if we tell them again and again that leg lifts do not truly work the abdominals, but they work the hip flexors instead.
Therefore, as a fitness professional or a health coach it is critical to explore an individual's exercise believes and attitudes in order to reduce the risk of them dropping out. This can be done through direct questioning, getting to know them or you can make your own questionnaire or survey to have them answer at the beginning of your class.
As a fitness professional, or a health coach do not impose your beliefs and attitudes about fitness, health, nutrition, etc on to your participants or your students. Instead,
be a good role model by putting your beliefs aside guide, but be open to explore and discover new things and get to learn the people who surround you.
To learn more about what motivates you, what is your Why and how to get to reach what you want in life and in health, check out: