Fear of failure stops many people from exercising or trying new activities. According to David E. Conroy, PhD—assistant professor of kinesiology and director of the sport psychology lab at Pennsylvania State University, University Park—they may specifically fear the shame and embarrassment that come with failure. They may be afraid that they won’t fulfill their ideal self-image. The thought of not doing well at exercise may make them anxious that they are not as competent as they believed and lower their self-esteem.
Almost everyone you talk to these days is concerned with their health and wants to look and feel better, so why are obesity rates skyrocketing among both children and adults? Despite our best efforts, the fitness community has not been able to inspire the sedentary masses to embrace a healthier lifestyle.
Ps y c h o l o g y OF Exercise
By J i m G a v i n , Ph D, a n d Av i M a r k S p i t z e r
hat's new in the world of exercise psychology? Unlike sport psychology, which traditionally focuses on the concerns of elite athletes, exercise psychology focuses on the world of everyday mortals. Some of the core questions asked in this science include ...
Are you aware that, for your clients, one of the biggest obstacles to motivation may be fear? That’s right. In fact, identifying the best ways to help your clients address their fears can very well be one of your biggest challenges as a fitness professional. To keep your clients motivated, it is important to understand the behavioral factors affecting motivation, to know the best ways to reward your clients and to identify—and help them overcome—the fears they face.
First, you hear a collective deep breath as arms are raised toward the sky; next, peals of laughter and the sound of hands clapping in rhythm. What is this, you ask? A boisterous crowd at a baseball game doing the “wave”? An audience at the local comedy club? Surprise: It’s
a meeting of the Laughter Club in the middle of a laughter yoga session!
It is estimated that 3 to 5 million people in the United States are injured from recreational, exercise and sport-related activities each year. While the primary causes of these injuries are physical, psychological issues can also contribute—and impact recovery as well.
As fitness professionals, we are well aware of the beneficial effects of exercise during stressful situations. But on September 11, 2001, managers and staff at fitness facilities worldwide wrestled with how best to help their members cope in a time of unprecedented tragedy and fear. Was it best to keep clubs open and try to offer members some semblance of normalcy? Could staff be expected to carry on and teach regular classes? What would be the right way to respond if a club did stay open? And when should normal activities resume if the club closed down for a while?
Something is amiss in our industry. Despite constant confirmation that physical activity improves health, our population is getting less and less fit. According to retention and adherence expert Rod Dishman, PhD, head of the exercise psychology lab at the University of Georgia, exercise habits haven’t changed much in the past 15 years. Dishman’s research indicates that 50 percent of new exercisers still drop out within six months of starting