Getting help in remembering to exercise

I read an interesting article this morning. A study conducted by researchers at Stanford using subjects averaging in their mid 50s and previously inactive showed the importance of social support in helping people develop and maintain an exercise regime. The project followed adults, with an average age in their mid 50s, for a year and showed that people who got phone calls, even monthly ones,  from a health educator markedly increased their time spent exercising. That's compared to a group who only got initial health education classes. Even automated phone calls work, but a human touch was best. Those new and improved health habits held at the 18-month followup.

There were other bits of information I gl.eaned: the majority of people, like me, prefer to exercise alone. My wife participates in four exercise classes a week; I don't join her in any of those. I often think my way through issues as I exercise (especially during the 65 minutes I spend almost every dayon a recumbent bike), zoning out and working through issues or just allowing thoughts to come up as they will.

The Stanford lead investigator, Dr. Abby King is a PhD professor of Epidemiology and Medicine at Stanford's Prevention School of Medicine Research whose major research study relates to the role of physical activity as it links to other healthy behaviors and promotes improvements in life-coping mechanisms. She herself usually is a loner when it comes to exercise, but sometimes drips out for a period of weeks and then tends to join a small class to get back into her usual pattern.

What I take from this is if you don't find it easy to get into a pattern of regular exercise, find a buddy who will call you from time to time. Most of us will never end up in a formal research project like Dr. King's; almost all of us could help a friend and be helped in return.

Lynnette was just on the phone calling her another woman who is in the twice-weekly "Strong Women, Strong Bones" class she takes. She's developed a brand new, close friendship through this class, frequently has a cup of coffee afterward with her exercise buddy and the two of us, from time to time, go to dinner with her friend and that woman's husband.

As we age, I think social support is crucial and, if friends can help us stay in shape, maybe lose a few pounds or keep those off we've lost already, they have even more value in our lives.

So find an exercise buddy or even someone who'll help you keep working out, whether you walk together, go to a gym together or just make phone calls to support each other's good habits.

3 Responses to “Getting help in remembering to exercise”

  1. i always take calcium supplements to my bones strong-~,

  2. strong bones can only be obtained by taking lots of calcium and magnesium supplements and daily exercise*-;

  3. Peter Springberg says:

    Amelia, There's some controversy about taking supplemental calcium in pill/capsule form. There was a recent medical article which discussed a risk of increased coronary artery calcification associated with this supplement. My wife and I stopped taking calcium pills at that point and increased our dietary intake of calcium. I just wrote the editors of the "Harvard Medical Letter" and asked what their current position was on the subject. I know a nationally prominent cardiologist advised her patients to stop taking calcium until the issue was resolved.

    I do get lots of weight-bearing exercise and personally plan to continue that.

Leave a Reply