A THOUGHTFUL APPROACH AND DELAYED START MAY BE HELPFUL. Are you looking for a 2020 challenge that motivates improved fitness, better nutrition, and overall boosts health? A way to stick with the several New Year (NY) Resolutions that you must repeatedly make every year, it seems, because your efforts to stick with them annually cease after a few months?
NY fitness resolutions tend to be broken after about 5-6 weeks if Gold’s Gym surveillance information of its members’ activities is believed. The company famously tracks the fall off in gym attendance each year (since 2013) and previously identified the second week in February as the point at which the decline begins. The date that drop is most precipitous has been variously pinned down as February 9 (2016) as well as February 18 (2014) and is referred to as the “Fitness Cliff”.
A 2018 article posted by independent.co that used Strava company UK data to calculate “Quitter’s Day” indicates it’s much, much earlier. As soon as January 12, Strava’s research shows, motivation begins to falter!
A 2016 piece from CBSnews.com on the topic reported that Gold’s survey of member excuses for falling off the cliff included lack of time, poor planning, and frustration at not realizing early results. Some members admitted they forget why they started! Others indicated they found it easier to fall back into old patterns.
Another reason for decreased motivation to exercise, especially indoors, may be that in mid-to-late February (in the northern hemisphere) the days tend to brighten with daylight time beginning to increase. Weather patterns start to change as well, such that in some locations the potential for consistently improved outdoor conditions exists. The reason for less resolve to hit the gym may lie outside rather than inside ourselves.
My theory is that the ‘brightening’ and better weather experienced with the approach of meteorological spring on March 1, add to the initial fall-off in commitment to fitness resolutions that require gym time.
In the quiet and relative darkness of winter and early spring months, when indoor activities are most comfortable and safe, we might be content to stay regimented and on track with January resolutions. However, the pace of life quickens in spring. Earlier sunrises and later sunsets, warming temperatures, and less need for restrictive and heavy protective clothing allow us more opportunities to sensually interact with newly awakening surroundings beyond the gym.
Once the great outdoors is again made available for exercise, we understandably may begin to ignore our January commitments to important but more regimented fitness routines. Rather than follow NY resolution-inspired training programs in buildings and on machines to gain needed endurance, strength, balance, and mobility, we choose to fall back into old patterns of mostly free-style aerobic exercise outside, with others.
The wheels can completely come off the NY resolution bus in summer when planning and scheduling are put away for impromptu games, fun competitions, group outings, and more. Fall might nudge us back to formal training for goal races, when gym workouts are necessary. By the end of autumn, after an easy Turkey Trot race, we may end up with no plan until January, coming full circle after the excesses of holiday celebrations, when all new NY resolutions become necessary.
Based on reporting about the “Fitness Cliff” and “Quitters Day” and my Brightening theory, there may be a method to successfully maintain NY fitness resolution momentum all year. The best approach might involve:
Check out the 2020 WINTER HEALTH program I am drafting for my personal use in next Wednesday’s blog. I plan to have it ready for January 12!
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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