by Kenneth Rudich
The last Fitness and Wellness post urged people to learn about the concepts of fitness and wellness for themselves, rather than rely on others to give them adequate support and advice.
The rationale for advocating this approach rests with the hope that, as an informed consumer, you’ll be better equipped to determine what is right for you; and that healthy living habits will grow to become second nature in your daily routine, almost like breathing or sleeping. Not only will you be taking responsibility for, and control of, your own fitness and wellness, but you’ll enjoy the sense of confidence that comes with it.
For this reason, a legitimate fitness expert, one who is earnest about what he or she is doing, will typically establish this as a goal for their clients (or students) right from the outset. They’ll formulate a strategy that takes a person from starting off as dependent on them to becoming independently self-reliant. If your source for expertise should fail to outline such a progression early on in your acquaintance, then perhaps it’s a good idea to shop for a replacement.
from dependence to independence
According to Dr. Charles Corbin, an emeritus professor of health and wellness, the journey from dependence to independence consists of six steps.
Step 1: Dependent behavior. For many fitness consumers, the first step – and perhaps the most difficult – is to commit to getting started. This means finding a reliable resource(s) for guidance and information. Beware of quacks or charlatans looking to make easy money by selling gimmicks built on bad ideas or empty promises. Always do your homework, including background checks to make sure they are legitimate. Are they certified in the field? What kind of certification do they possess – does it come from a legitimate source? Do they belong to any professional associations or organizations that help to affirm the quality and currentness of what they offer? What kind of experience do they have, and is it consistent with assisting you to become an informed consumer?
Step 2: Working toward an initial state of health and wellness. New fitness consumers seldom start from a place of already well-established health and wellness. Most will need to pursue it, and they will require proper guidance to get there. But this goal alone, even after having reached it, is still not the be-all-end-all for achieving the broader aim of becoming an informed consumer. Dr. Corbin characterizes this stage as “temporary health and wellness” because clients have yet to fully digest the knowledge, skills and habits for independently managing their own program. Without that, they are at risk of stumbling backward.
Step 3: Self-assessment. Consumers must be able to gauge where they’re at; and whether or how they are progressing across time. Learning to assess all the various aspects of health and wellness, particularly as it pertains to you as an individual, is critical to gaining eventual independence. Self-assessment aids with the detection of what is working, what isn’t working, and where adjustments may be needed.
Step 4: Self-management. Self-assessment is good, but it must be coupled with self-management. Self-management allows consumers to plan their own program according to their needs as they currently exist, to keep their goals realistic, to monitor their own behaviors, to make adjustments, and also maintain the required discipline that gives them staying power.
Step 5: Problem solving. This is where the consumer’s knowledge and skills have been sharpened enough to recognize and overcome the barriers that may be inhibiting their ability to reach step six. It also means they’ve been endowed with the knowledge to evaluate what others are saying or promoting to determine if it’s right for them or, even more generally, if it’s consistent with the known concepts of health and wellness.
Step 6: Lifelong Healthy Living. This is where all the previous steps come together. The acquired knowledge, skills and habits drive you to remain active as an independent and self-reliant fitness and wellness consumer. It has essentially become second nature to you.
it’s never too late to become a fitness and wellness consumer
Taking the reins for managing your own fitness and wellness throughout life may well be one of the more empowering gifts you can ever give to yourself, as well as to the people you care about and who care about you. It can foster quality of life for years to come.