We are well into January and already my new year’s resolutions are being tested beyond my willpower limit already, this year’s ambition, to do more and eat less, is already looking shaky. That’s why National Obesity Awareness Week could not come at a better time.
Here at TeamKinetic, we work with a wide range of organisations that provide sport, wellbeing, health and fitness opportunities, so I wanted to take a few minutes to discuss the importance of volunteers and voluntary organisations when we talk about weight management.
Behaviour change is difficult; we as human beings, are not good at making daily decisions that are good for our long-term health with the many temptations that provide short-term satisfaction so easily available. When we think about it, it’s easy not to go to the gym or to eat that cake as often that is in the short term the easiest or most pleasurable path forward.
When we think about getting more active, its difficult to remain motivated by the thought that in 12 months I may be slightly lighter and fitter. With this in mind, we need to think about other forms of motivation, how we can make the road to the goal more “sticky” and easier to stay on.
What the research seems to suggest is that developing friends and having a strong social setting around your physical activity makes you much more likely to stick with it. Having people who understand what you are going through and are there to offer support and a friendly face mean your motivations are not just based on fitness, but on a desire to spend time with your friends and peers.
Whether you’re a participant, a volunteer, a coach or just someone who supports the group and helps out at the start and end of sessions, you are part of that team or group; you provide that peer network and you play an essential role in making that group “sticky”.
As we recognise national obesity awareness week, I say thank you to all of you who make all these activities take place, whether you’re a helper, a coach or just making sure people feel welcome when they decide to come along.
Keep up your essential work people.