By SUSAN JONES
It’s February and the lack of warmth and sun makes the idea of slipping into bed or under a blanket on the couch much more appealing than getting up and exercising.
Renee Rogers, assistant professor in the School of Education’s Department of Health and Physical Activity and programming director of Pitt’s Healthy Lifestyle Institute, knows this is when New Year’s resolutions really start to fade into memories, and she and the Healthy Lifestyles Institute are here to help.
The institute is offering free “Make the Move” consults to help you find ways to meet your goals. That doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily hear a sales pitch for the institute’s two fitness facilities or any gym, for that matter.
“It’s not just about when you come to the gym or when you go to the fitness class, but how many hours a day are you sitting,” Rogers said. “Can you take a light walk here and there? Is there an activity break you can do?”
But they will let you know what facilities are available on the Oakland campus for faculty and staff.
“We talk to people sometimes about what’s a better facility for you. Is the University Club a good fit, or is coming up to Trees (Hall)? Are you looking for something more a la carte or are you looking for everything all included? Where are you located on campus? …. I think it really comes down to what are you looking for,” Rogers said.
Part of the program also is instructing the graduate students in the department, who do the consults with supervision from full-time staff, that fitness professionals aren’t just the people who beat you up and create an exercise program for you. “They can also be the person that directs you to what’s the right place to start,” she said.
Many people make New Year’s resolutions to “start exercising.” And they think about “exercise as being this thing that you do that looks a certain way, and that’s not true,” Rogers said. “It’s about moving your body more. I think that’s where our team can really help get rid of any preconceived notions and really sit down with you to develop what’s the right pattern to get you started.”
The consult can be in person or over the phone. “It’s really just a nice interview. We sit down and talk about your goals, experiences, thoughts.
“We’re really passionate about, how do we meet the person where they’re at,” she said. “And that’s really where the starting point of the consult comes from — if we don’t understand you, we don’t know about you, that’s hard to do. In our research, we do that on every participant we work with; we have really in-depth conversations with them. But in the real world, in the fitness world, it’s, ‘Here’s the service sign up or don’t.’ ”
For those who did make resolutions to exercise more, Rogers said, “I always look at it as the intentions are there, and they’re great and they’re positive. However, sometimes we don’t realize the work that goes in, or we frame ourselves as needing to look like something that isn’t realistic. ... But before you give up, it’s a good idea to ask for some help, and that’s what we offer is that help and guidance.”
About 40 percent of people make resolutions, Rogers said, but after six months nearly half of those have quit.
“One of the most important predictors of whether someone’s successful is this idea of self-efficacy — a person’s belief that they can pull it off,” she said. “For the people that feel like they want to give up, it’s probably because a good pattern hasn’t been established or things haven’t been put in place that help build up their self-efficacy, like why do you have to go to the gym every day? Why don’t you start with taking a 10-minute walk at lunch?”
Anyone interested in getting a “Make the Move” consult can email to set up an appointment through the Be Fit Pitt website, where you also will find information about the fitness centers, group classes, and the new weight management program available to faculty and staff.
Susan Jones is editor of the University Times. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-648-4294.
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