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A personal fitness journey can serve many purposes and take many forms. But one thing that tends to be common among the most effective personal fitness efforts is that they’re not lonely. While it’s certainly possible to achieve fitness goals all on your own, you’re likely to do better — and have more fun in the process — if you have some support along the way.
With that in mind, we’re going to highlight some of the people in your life you can turn to for support.
A personal trainer will be the first type of person most people think of for support, and it’s a good idea. Not only will a professional trainer help with motivation, accountability, and perseverance, but he or she will also help your actual fitness efforts to be more effective. An Everyday Health post about getting a personal trainer put it in helpful terms, stating that trainers help to “tailor workouts” to suit your unique needs and goals. They are, ultimately, educated and experienced professionals who can recognize what’s working for you and what you might need help with if you’re to succeed. It’s hard to imagine better support than that!
Another profoundly effective support option is a fitness group. It could be anything from paid exercise instruction, to a yoga class, to a group of old friends. But whatever it is, there are very clear studies suggesting that people tend to have more effective workouts when held accountable by — and competing with — others. Fitness studies conducted by Oxford University have indicated, for instance, that the bonds forged in exercise groups definitively “enhance exercise ability.” This means that you may run farther, do more push-ups, or even hold yoga poses longer simply by virtue of having group support around you. And that, of course, makes your fitness routine all the more effective.
If you’re not one for regular runs, resistance workouts and the like, one of the real keys to sticking with your fitness routine will likely be figuring out what exercises you’ll be inclined to stick with. It’s for that reason that we’re including mention of a dance instructor! Per our own ‘Dance Your Sexy Back!’ post, dance fitness can be life-changing — and can lead to significant physical changes, as well as boosts in confidence. This is not to say you should drop everything and dance if you have a fitness routine already worked out. But if like many before you, you discover you’re more likely to stick with dance than push-ups and jogging, it’s worth exploring more! Finding a dance instructor you like (and trust) can help you get more into it, and give you someone to work with for as long as you keep up the routine.
Mental Health Professional
Many are under the impression that psychiatrists are the only mental health professionals, and that they’re only needed when specific conditions are diagnosed. The reality though is that mental health is steadily becoming a more diverse profession, serving more extensive needs. There are now therapists that help with a range of needs from general anxiety to diagnosed mental illnesses. Additionally, with online medical programs leading to a greater number of people entering healthcare, Maryville University’s information about nursing careers reveals that some nursing specialists are now handling mental health as well. In short, the field of mental health is a lot bigger than most think — and it’s perfectly reasonable to seek help with your fitness routine in this field. If you’re finding that your routine leads to stress or anxiety, then even semi-regular therapy — with a nurse specialist, therapist, psychiatrist, or anyone similarly qualified — can help you to move past difficulties and succeed with your routine.
Finally, a nutritionist can make for immensely helpful support as well. Today, many are inclined to look past this option in favor of any of a number of apps and online programs that act as nutrition trackers. Those can certainly be helpful. However, if you’re concerned with support it’s hard to beat having a human professional you can speak with about your diet. He or she will be able to tell you what about your diet may be holding you back, recommend new options that can help you reach your goals, and even assist you if you have setbacks. It’s a type of support no other person or entity can really offer.
Aside from these options, you can of course find support among family and friends as well. But if you’re truly looking to piece together an effective fitness routine, looking into some of the possibilities above will still help you toward your goal.
Article exclusively written for handful.com by Ruth Jordyn