Lately, we have been hearing a good deal about the Twelve Days of Christmas, but what about the new special called, 12 Days of Fitness at The Alaska Club? You may ask what the point is of that. I can only tell you from personal experience, that twelve days has made a big difference in our household. I happen to be married to a man who really does not like to be active outside in the winter and who has been told by his doctor that he needs to shed a few pounds. Every winter he gets cabin fever, becomes grumpy, and the mood can be decidedly less cheerful around our house. Bah humbug to season cheer. Does this sound familiar?
Most health behavior specialists will tell you that establishing a new habit takes at least three months of practice before it becomes engrained. This holds true with dietary habits as well as exercise habits. So what’s the point with having a 12 Day special for only $25 if we really need three months to develop the long-term habits? Well, I can tell you what happened in the case of our household. There definitely is sound logic to having a small dose of something as a trial period. If a person feels as if they can be consistent at a new habit for just two weeks, it’s a huge confidence booster. Two weeks is a restricted period to try something new out where the risk of failure is low. For some reason, a person doesn’t feel so overwhelmed because one has this burden of committing to the practice of a lifetime of entirely new habits. After all, it’s ONLY two weeks. Some people also feel intimidated by what they THINK they will experience at a health club. They think that everybody at the Alaska Club will have the perfect body and people who are not exactly super athletes will feel out-of-place and out-of-sorts.
I never thought I would witness my husband happily packing up his gear to go to The Alaska Club every day. After twelve days of working out, he believes in his ability to do something as simple as spending an hour or more walking the treadmill, riding the bike or walking the blue jog/walk path. I think John went there initially with all manner of inhibitions as he has never worked out before at a health club. Not only does he like the variety of machines that he can use, but he also likes the atmosphere. The people are friendly and he noticed that most of the folks working out do not look like action heroes in comic books. He is also getting more competitive with himself. John now likes to try the machines that indicate how many calories he has burned up because, of course, it is quantifiable. It is part of his psyche to like to quantify things because it brings out his competitive spirit.
The first week, he would come home and proudly proclaim to me that he had “burned up 400 calories” on the treadmill. Last night, he gloated that he had utilized 600 calories. He wants to start trying the other options of working out available now as well. I told him that when he’s done with his training, he should try the Jacuzzi, the dry sauna and the steam sauna then take a shower (in that order) and he would feel like a newborn baby. So he’s jazzed to try that as well. His frequent attendance there has also hooked me into swimming more often, one of my favorite sports options at the club. This is marital therapy at its finest: a new activity now that we do together. “Babe, let’s go work out!”
Twelve days did it for my husband. Tomorrow, we’re signing him up for full membership. His mood at home is decidedly more cheerful, more self-confident and I noticed him considering healthier food choices as well. Twelve days is fast becoming a permanent healthy way of life for my husband. And it’s definitely improved the marriage as well!