Throughout the year the ammount of people at the gym varies, wether it’s new years resolutions or getting in last minute shape for summer. As motivation falls to the wayside and schedules begin to pick up or become more exciting, staying in shape is usually the last thing on your mind. With the arrival of spring and summer just around the corner, you might be gearing up to head back to the gym and get that summer body. Even though you said tomorrow yesterday, it is really easy to say it again today. If you were one of those people who fell off the track, there’s some new science behind why it’s so difficult to get back into shape. You’re not lazy, it’s just science.
Five Stages of Change
So why is it so hard to stay in shape? Healthy habits can often be a victim of our environment and lifestyle. The five stages of change start with pre-contemplation; here you start to wonder if you should get back into shape and what are the reason is for getting into shape. Then once you find a solid reason, contemplation happens; how should you do it? Where should you start? When should you start? Next, you start the preparation phase. Here you map out a schedule or a diet and exercise plan. You might start collecting things you need like workout gear, new shoes, a membership to somewhere, whatever it is that you need to then move forward. Next, you move into the action phase. Here is where you execute your plan and then use the maintenance phase to keep the plan going. Whether you are starting for the very first time or re-visiting square one, it’s important to remember that change is a process, not an event. For effects of regular exercise, continue reading on the next page.
Effects of Regular Exercise
A study was recently published which explored the effects of regular exercise over an extended period of time, followed by an extensive period of no activity. The purpose of this study was to examine the role genetics might play in muscle memory. It was originally believed that the genes present in muscles would remember or retain their memory of past exercise. Unfortunately, there were no genetic links discovered; however, a new discovery was made. This discovery answered the age-old question, why is it so hard to get back in shape?
Aside from lifestyle and environmental factors, getting back into shape is difficult for athletes and non-athletes alike. In this study, 23 people were selected to participate in exercise training. The participants were asked to train one leg for three months. Using a machine similar to a stationary bike, where they kicked and pulled their leg 60 times for 45 minutes. For three months, four times a week, participants exercised their single leg, which was then followed by nine months of zero exercise for both legs.
Even if you were a lifelong athlete, getting into shape is hard for everyone. Your body doesn’t remember like you think it might. With that in mind, it makes the mental hurdle of going to the gym or that exercise class you haven’t been to in months, that much easier. You don’t have to beat yourself up for not being where you were, physically, 3 months ago. The genes in your muscles do not have the ability to retain any memory of past exercise and there is science to back this up. Just because you were cycling ten miles every day many months ago does not mean you can do the same thing months later having not been on a bike at all.
The best tip you can remember is this: the easiest way to get back into shape is it to stay in shape. Regular exercise is important for more than just aesthetic purposes. While genetics play a role in your long-term health, diet and activity level play just as an important role in your health. Holding yourself accountable is difficult and it is easy to make excuses. Make it easier on yourself by joining a class or exercise group where others will be holding you accountable as well.