Keeping up: Sticking with exercise has benefits for body and mind
Bob Ray works on his upper body Friday at the South Campus Athletic Club in Moses Lake.
Cheryl Schweizer/Columbia Basin Herald
David Peralez works his arms with free weights Friday at the South Campus Athletic Club in Moses Lake.
Dennis Gerber does leg exercises Friday morning at the South Campus Athletic Club in Moses Lake.
Staff Writer | January 13, 2022 1:00 AM
MOSES LAKE — Bob Ray, who was doing upper body work at the South Campus Athletic Club in Moses Lake Friday morning, said regular workouts are important to him for his physical well-being, but more than that.
He started working out regularly when he was 14.
“I’m 67, so I’ve been doing this a long time,” he said.
Ray said he’s discovered mental as well as physical benefits to regular exercise. He doesn’t handle stress as well, he said, and is more irritable when he’s not working out regularly.
“When I’m not (exercising) I’m a different person,” he said.
Stacie Palmer, class manager at Jazzercise in Moses Lake, said she, too, started exercising when she was a teenager, as a member of the dance team in high school. But after high school she had to find another outlet, because she didn’t want to quit exercising.
“You have a spark that lights the fire,” she said.
Jose Zambrano, manager at the South Campus Athletic Club, said the benefits of exercise don’t always show up on the outside, at least not immediately.
“One thing we’ve learned at the gym: it’s not just what you see in the mirror,” Zambrano said.
Even though changes might not be visible on the outside, at least not right away, people who exercise regularly experience increased stamina and strength, he said.
Bill Spark, owner of The Bicycle Shop in Moses Lake said exercise helps improve cardiovascular health and helps diabetics lower blood sugar.
“On all of these I speak from experience,” he said.
Palmer said Jazzercise provides more than a place to go exercise.
“You will not believe how many friends you will make here,” she said.
It’s sticking with it that’s the sticking point. Any gym regular knows the likely seasonal pattern – a lot of people come in with the New Year, determined this is the year they’re going to get into shape. And for a while throughout January and into February, the gym is pretty full.
Then the days start getting longer; it’s still daylight after work; it starts getting warmer outside. And there are other things to do – the garden needs work and the lawn needs mowed; it’s time to break out the grill after its long winter hibernation, and fishing season opens. And maybe there’s time for that bike ride or run, but there’s less time for that gym visit or exercise class.
Zambrano said membership at South Campus has increased since Jan. 1. It hasn’t increased as much as previous Januaries, something he attributed to the no good, very bad weather of the first week of 2022.
One of the challenges of staying with a gym schedule is results can be slow in coming. Athletes will be disappointed if they expect results in a month or six weeks, he said. Getting the most out of a workout schedule is not just a matter of short-term weight loss, or short-term body changes.
“It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” he said.
The trick is staying with the gym schedule, in spite of all the other options, and he said there are ways to do that. There is, for instance, support in numbers.
“Always try to find a workout buddy. Someone to keep you accountable for your workouts,” he said.
Another critical factor is the gym itself. No one gym is going to work for everybody, he said, so people should visit different facilities and ask what each one offers. In most places, that information will be available up front, he said, and most gyms will offer a tour if they’re fully staffed.
“Scope it out. See how you feel with the atmosphere the gym is offering,” he said.
Prospective gym members also should talk with people who already use the facility, to see how they like it, he said.
Many gyms also come with personal trainers, and Zambrano said it’s a good idea to use their services.
“It’s always good to start off with a personal trainer,” he said. “Especially if you’ve never been to the gym or it’s been years since you were at the gym.”
Like a workout buddy, a trainer makes it easier to stay up with a workout schedule, he said.
Personal training has changed over time. Washboard abs aren’t the goal for every client.
“They’re more focused on making people healthier,” he said.
But the best gym might not be a gym at all, rather an exercise program instead, or a bike ride or run. Palmer said doing something she really likes makes it easier to stick with it. In addition, paying for a class or membership makes it more difficult to break the commitment, she said.
Spark took his bike out for a ride a few days after the snowstorm that dumped 6-8 inches in the Moses Lake area. Sticking with an exercise plan, whether it’s riding a bike or running in the winter or going to the gym in the summer, is a commitment, he said.
“Like anything else, it just requires a little self-discipline,” he said. “You have to be committed.”