Cooper Wellness Offers Tips for Sticking With an Exercise Program

| 7/29/2010 5:30:51 PM

Dallas — ( — At some point, you may have started a diet-and-exercise plan with the best of intentions, only to abandon it several weeks later because you'd pushed yourself too fast and hard. During healthy stay-overs at Cooper Wellness, certified trainers explain how to stick with an exercise program over the long haul.

Losing interest weeks after starting a program can occur if early results don't meet high expectations. Lack of patience and discipline, particularly when it comes to working out in a gym, are other reasons. Results can't be forced, and a new regimen may be inconvenient or even uncomfortable. Exercise programs started after New Year's often fall by the wayside before February.

"The best exercise plans and diets let you ramp up slowly, to get accustomed to change gradually," says Todd Whitthorne, executive director at Cooper Wellness. "It may take six or eight weeks before you start to see real results." He adds that you need to stay focused during that time, and don't want to get into a stop-and-start pattern.

A study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California found that weight gained during an exercise hiatus can be tough to shed when activity is resumed at a later date. The study, conducted by the lab's Life Sciences Division, revealed that the key to staying trim is to stay active year-round.

Dr. Kenneth Cooper, founder of The Cooper Institute, advises starting a fitness program slowly and speeding it up gradually. Accept the fact that it will take time, he says. That way you will avoid injuries that can result from beginning too fast. Think of fitness as a journey, not a destination, he advises. Since people get out of shape over time, it takes a while to become fit again.

Weeks into an exercise program, some individuals feel better and may see their clothes become a little looser. Their workout performance improves. But after a while, doing the same routine at the same intensity doesn't produce the same results and can feel monotonous.

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