Monday, March 15, 2010

Book Review - How to Start an Exercise Program

ACSM Fitness Book

This is an excellent book for anyone currently living a sedentary lifestyle that is looking to start an exercise program. I like that this book allows readers to come to the conclusion that they might not be ready to exercise yet. When half of all new exercisers end up returning to their sedentary lifestyle, finding the proper motivation to take up a fitness regimen is essential.

The ACSM fitness book helps the reader find the true reason for their motivation to exercise by asking the following questions:

What is it about my body and mind that I am unhappy with that could be positively affected by exercising regularly?

Would I really like to change, even if it means I am giving up something I am accustomed to?

Do I think I can mobilize the mental strength if that’s what I want or need to do?

What has my previous experience with personal health behavior change been? Will that help me this time around? What can I learn from experience that will help me this time?

For whom do I want to make the changes – myself or someone else?

The book also asks if the reader uses phrases like “I have to,” “I ought to,” and “I should” when describing the intent to exercise rather than “I want to” or “I would like to.” Telling yourself that you “ought to” do something induces guilt rather than positive motivation. Positive motivation connects a positive feeling with an action, not a negative feeling like guilt.

According to ACSM, physical fitness has four components, Aerobic fitness, muscular fitness, flexibility and body composition. The book provides a baseline assessment procedure and a list of exercises in each of the four categories that will take sedentary individuals from a low fitness level to a high fitness level in aerobic fitness, muscular fitness and flexibility.

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