Predictors of Exercise Adherence

Health |

Some recent work has confirmed important information that is supported by comprehensive research reviews.9,20It was determined that three important factors help toexplain whether a person will drop out of, or stay with, an exercise program.5 These variables must be addressed if you seek to empower members for long-term exercise success.

You may be surprised to learnthat how wella workout enables rapid physical progress is not one of them. In fact, prescribing “by the book” to expedite cardiorespiratory and strength gains can often promote dropout.3 The factors (or resources) that can reliably predict long-term exercise success or failure are as follows:

1. The amount of social support received by the new participant (from a spouse, partner, family, friends, peer group or other exercisers)

2. The participant’s ability to use self-management and self-control strategies (e.g., positive self-talk, goal-setting practices, relapse prevention or dissociating from discomfort)

3. The participant’s ability to tolerate physical discomfort

Of the three, ability to tolerate discomfort may be the most important (and least attended to by exercise professionals).Obviously, all the knowledge about promoting physiological gains through theoretically valid exercise programming will do nothing if the intensities, durations and frequencies prescribed cannot be tolerated well enough for a training effect to take place and be maintained.