New Technology Boosts Motivation

Fitness & Exercise

By Kerri O'Brien

N
early anyone who has set out on a fitness plan in their lives has hit a moment where motivation lags. Goals are lost, enthusiasm wanes and people start searching for some secret potion to help them stay the course with their health and fitness routine.

This issue doesn't simply plague exercisers, but the facility owners, managers and personal trainers working to keep people coming back regularly and moving forward in their fitness journey. Today, more sophisticated exercise tools are making their way to the facility floor to give exercisers as well as fitness professionals a needed boost.

The journey, not the outcome

Unfortunately, exercisers don't always position themselves for success from the start of their fitness program. They usually set lofty weight-loss goals or distant milestones when they should be focusing on small goals they can build from over time. When exercisers set their sights on specific objectives such as achieving a particular number of workout days in a week, a length of exercise time or a target heart rate level, they embark on a fitness journey. And on this journey, exercisers are better positioned to develop a lasting commitment to fitness.

The latest fitness equipment is structured to address this journey and provide exercisers with the feedback they need to achieve their goals. Today, exercisers can watch their time or distance increase on large, easy-to-read consoles, capture their heart rate using accessible sensors and move the pin to lift more weight on a strength training machine. As exercisers progress with these building blocks and their commitment to fitness strengthens, the equipment also makes it easier for them to build on those small goals-add more time, go to the next level and lift more weight.

Four corners of motivation

Even with the journey mindset in focus, everyone needs help creating and maintaining inspiration and motivation over the long term. There isn't a mysterious potion for motivation, but there is a recipe filled with straightforward ingredients of enjoyment, partnership, convenience and balance that can help exercisers sustain their commitment.

The good news for exercisers as well as fitness facilities is that they aren't alone. Equipment has become much more sophisticated in recent years with new technology, features and tools that create the right inspirational mix to help exercisers avoid common pitfalls.

Making it enjoyable

Exercise can and should be fun, and today's equipment is making it easier than ever for exercisers to be entertained while working out. New cardio products outfitted with iPod connectivity let exercisers listen to their own music as well as watch their own video content. By finding something they like, be it reading, watching their favorite television show or podcast, or listening to music, exercisers can beat boredom.

New cardio fitness equipment also has more workout options from which to choose. This ability to adjust programming on a daily basis creates the variety and challenge exercisers need to prevent the doldrums.

Partnering up

Exercisers should buddy up and find a fitness sounding board when they get started on a fitness program. Oftentimes this outlet is a spouse, friend or personal trainer, but now it can be the equipment. Tools such as a virtual trainer for treadmills and cross-trainers can offer insight on programs and encouragement during workouts, giving exercisers that added boost.

Keeping it convenient

The easier it is for exercisers to get on and go, the more likely they are to come back again and again. Placing fitness within easy reach of home or office and choosing products that are simple to operate make it easy for exercisers to come back again and again.

New technology also is making it convenient to keep track of workouts by giving users the ability to extract the data directly from the machine using a common USB memory stick. Exercisers can take this information home to track their progress and set new challenges for their fitness routine.

Finding balance

When exercise feels like a chore, people don't want to fit it into their lives. It's a struggle and strain that they'd rather ignore. Creating a workout mix that strikes a balance with cardio and strength training can prevent boredom, be time-effective and optimize fitness success. The time for fitness is there, it's a matter of recognizing when it's there, when it isn't and never letting it become a source of stress.

Once people get on the right fitness path and begin to surpass those small goals, they realize all they're capable of achieving. Suddenly, the burden is lifted, the habit created, and the commitment to the fitness journey blossoms.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kerri O'Brien is the director of the Life Fitness Academy, the training and education arm of Life Fitness. She has nearly 20 years of experience in the fitness industry, having worked in a variety of fields including for-profit fitness and spa centers, nonprofit YMCAs and university/college and municipal recreation centers. For more information, visit www.lifefitness.com.




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