I went roller-skating recently, for the first time in about, oh, 25 years! Yep, there are still rinks around. While it was great fun wobbling around, I saw something that disturbed me. There were dozens of kids there enjoying the skating and while there were one or two mums and dads helping really little kids, most of the adults there were just…..sitting. Sitting and watching. Sitting for three hours, watching their kids skate around.
I’d like to make it clear that adults ARE welcome to hire skates. There were a few other adults doing so. But overall, most were just sitting, eating junk food, watching their kids. It was a bit depressing, watching them watch their kids move without moving themselves.
What a missed opportunity to interact with their kids while getting some enjoyable exercise at the same time!
Why weren’t they getting out there?
Why aren’t most Australians getting out there and moving in general?
It’s a complex issue, of course, but I think one of the factors is that it’s SO MUCH EASIER to swim with the tide than against it.
It’s easier to be one of the parents watching your kid skate than it is to skate with them. It’s easier to be in the group of parents watching your kids play footy than it is to be the lone weirdo who runs laps of the park while the kids play. It’s easier to work through lunch with a sandwich at your desk than it is to hit the gym. It’s easier to not have to bring a gym bag to work than it is to bring your gym gear. It’s easier to go with your work colleagues to lunch than it is to pack and bring your own healthier option. It’s easier to get takeaway than it is to shop for ingredients and prepare a meal at home. Easier, easier, easier. Our instinct is always to go along with what the herd is doing.
Of course, when we get to the other end of the time scale, it’s NOT easier to have a lifestyle disease weighing down your last few decades on the planet…
I know on the PTA blog that we’re preaching to the converted – if you’re in the middle of your personal training certification, you’re already okay with standing out! But it’s important we discuss this with our clients, to see how open they are to being the odd one out. When we ask them if they are ready and willing to change, that question includes many small tasks they’ll need to do outside of the time they spend training with you they may not have considered: getting off the tram a stop early to get more movement in. Carrying their gym stuff around. Packing a lunch most days. Learning to cook a few simple recipes at home.
The fact is, we live in a fat-centric environment, meaning there are many unseen forces that nudge us towards gaining weight steadily over time. Cultural factors, business interests and the way our environment is set up all contribute to the choices we make. Many studies have now shown we can powerfully influence our choices by simply making the healthy choice a tiny bit easier and the unhealthy choice a tiny bit more difficult. Idiot-proof the home and work environment and help your clients mentally prepare to be okay to stand out from the herd and you’ll set them up for success!