As a trainer who has seen several clients who came to me to start training “because my partner wants me to,” let me say that the first rule is not to try to FORCE them to start. While you may love your partner and intuitively KNOW that exercise would be good for them, nagging them into exercising, in my opinion, seldom works (at least over the long-term, which is what you want/need to help address health problems). It’s difficult to know (or at least think that you do 🙂 what’s best for a loved one, and then watch them NOT take that step or advice. However, self-motivation is the key to long-term habit creation.
My best advice? Help them by “leading by example.” Participate in healthy, daily exercise yourself. Eat healthy. Get proper amounts of sleep etc. Modeling the behavior you would like your partner to undertake is a great way to start. Then, give them the information that they need to LEARN proper healthy behaviors (Note: this does not mean to try to force it down their throat, but to simply give them the information that they will need). Last, ENCOURAGE them. Positive reinforcement in my opinion is a great motivator! When you see them do something to help improve their health (like exercise) give them some recognition or praise.
I hope that this helps. Good luck!
I like what LaRue’s already said. I also love the idea of families exercising together. I don’t mean the kind of exercise that leaves them exhausted and crabby (unless BOTH partners enjoy that kind of thing), but making habits of the things they already enjoy. Take a stroll after dinner & chat together, go for a bike ride or a hike. If the more reluctant partner of the two has any interest in a specific sport or activity, I would encourage their significant other to jump on the bandwagon! Even if they only watch baseball or tennis, find activities that could relate to that interest (go to a slow-pitch batting cage or walk to the nearest card shop). Anything is better than sitting on the couch.
One final thought to go with not shoving ideas down their throat- don’t sneak them into anything. Showing up at a park where they “happen to have a bootcamp” will go over about as well as swapping the hamburger for turkeyburgers. If they’re not willing to do it themselves, they’ll only resent you for forcing the issue.
I agree with LaRue and Sara
Acceptance is important. You can’t make anyone, a significant other or not, exercise because you think they need to
Support is vital- Encourage and suggest but don’t force
Living the example is a must
Find a happy meeting ground: possibly find an activity that you both enjoy, it doesn’t have to be exercise per se but maybe a dance class that you can both have fun in and participate in together?
It is always a very difficult situation to watch loved ones making choices that are not good for their health. It can be downright maddenening to see how they compromise their health, and it is even worse if you are a professional to whom others turn for advice in the very situation.
But just like the others already said: you cannot make choices for them. You can only lead a horse to the water but you cannot make it drink.
Continue to support the person, try not to enable bad habits, lead by example and don’t nag.
Wow, I am a firm believer in leading by example!!! Simple adage, you can lead a horse to water…My experience has been with clients and success in training that it motivates their friends, family, co-workers to possibly start a program and the flip to that is, unfortunately envy, jealousness and such. I have had a couple of clients cancel training because their spouse could not bear to see them succeed.