We have known for several decades now that simply providing people with accurate, easy to understand information about exercise and wellness is no guarantee that they will actually act on this information. Never before, on the web and in the media has there been such a wealth of easily accessible information about paths to active, healthy living, and simultaneously never before has there been such a prevalence of inactivity and obesity/overweight in the US. Clearly knowledge and education are not sufficient agents for behavior change and yet much of the approach in this area continues to provide the same information over and over again and continues to expect a different result. Hold on a minute .... That reminds me of something

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
                                                                                                             Albert Einstein


Hmmm ...time for a different way of thinking! I have posted some 'thinking' below which could perhaps be the start of a different direction. This is not an exhaustive list by any means but hopefully serves as starting point 'options'. They are not meant to be guidelines or instructions. Some of these options have been part of my thinking for a while and some came to me as I was thinking about and writing this article. They all have an evidence-based background.

Different thinking vs usual thinking

Different: Adopt a positive attitude and approach to exercise and physical activity by emphasizing the achievement of goals. Usual: Once you have set your goal, think of all the obstacles that can get in your way and then think of ways to avoid or overcome them (HUH?). Research has shown that an "asset-based" (goal oriented) approach is consistently more effective than a "deficit-based" (obstacle overcoming) approach

Different: Focus on getting "more good" i.e. the positive benefits of exercise and activity (more energy, more alertness, greater self confidence). Usual: focus on getting "less bad" (reduce high blood pressure, reduce anxiety, stress etc). Was it Frank Sinatra that sang "Ac-centuate the Pos-itive... E-liminate the Negative"? That gentleman was ahead of his (wellness) time!

Different: Provide opportunities for clients to think about and clarify what is important to them about exercise. Usual: Expert stresses what is "good for them" about exercise. NOTE: this is not the same thing - think about it!

Different: Consistently emphasize that heath related physical activity is easy to achieve and far easier than most people realize. It's never been as easy as this to get active! Usual: "Just do it" or "I just have to do it" or "I should do it"

Different: Consistently "reframe" exercise and physical activity (with lots of examples, case studies and research) so it is presented and viewed as an integral part of a normal enjoyable life. Usual: Exercise is something that is external to the person and not particularly enjoyable. Something necessary that 'should' be done and so just has to be endured. What a drag!

Think about it

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