My Health Behavior Led me to Take up Sports
Personal health behaviors involve any activities one undertakes that shapes his or her wellbeing. These health behaviors may serve to prevent underlying medical conditions (Baranowski, Perry, and Parcel, 2012). Although some personal health behaviors are deliberate, others are completely unintentional. My health behavior is a gradual change to frequent exercising, especially morning or evening walks, and runs. The change from not exercising to regularly exercising was due to the benefits it had on my life. The benefits not only relate to health but also range to psychological ones. Exercising more often decreases cardiovascular mortality, as well as helps one in maintaining low blood pressure. For psychological benefits, one may experience reduced stress and anxiety levels. A more frequent exerciser may also experience improved mood states. Even though health behaviors may be personally motivated, there are social determinants and community constructs that determine its maintenance or change.
According to Riekert, Ockene, and Pbert (2013), social determinants are existing prevailing conditions that help in shaping certain health behaviors. The determinants include conditions at work, school, home or a place where one was born in and their age. Subsequently, some of the underlying factors of these social determinants include the socio-economic conditions, neighborhood, education level, and existing social support groups among others. The social determinants play a major role in either helping a health behavior grow or in changing it. The existing socio-economic conditions may also make it difficult for one to change their health behavior (Riekert et al., 2013).
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In this case, social determinants have helped in shaping my routine individual exercise positively. An already active population in the neighborhood may help motivate one to stick to their routine exercise. In the morning, for instance, motivated groups of people come out to jog, take their morning walks, or go to the gym. If at all one misses their exercise schedule a jogging/gym partner may contact them to inquire. The existing well-maintained walking paths in the neighborhood allows people to jog without fear of getting hit or being in the way. Presence of well-lit areas promotes visibility and safety when taking morning runs or for people who choose night exercises. There are also bike paths and bike racks for people who prefer to cycle as their exercise. Additional affordable resources such as gyms and personal home trainers make it easier for exercise enthusiast and exercise beginners. However, tight work schedules for people who work hinders their availability. As a result, people may have to wake up really early to fit in their exercise schedules. In some instances, one may forego the day’s routine because of that.
Community-level constructs help in the creation of a conducive environment for a behavioral change. The construct reinforces individual efforts of a person in their routine exercise. The reinforcement comes in terms of expectations, support and networking to get access to resources.
Individual-level constructs facilitate the maintenance or disregard of a health behavior. The individual constructs depend primarily on the individual’s motivation for the behavior. Due to favorable outcomes on health and psychological well-being of a person, there will be a positive consideration for a routine exercise. Existing perceptions about exercising benefits from the society will either help one to continue or drop the exercise habit. For instance, if people around me or my peers do not perceive exercising as helpful, I may also be subjected to believe the same, hence lack motivation in the exercise.
The intrapersonal level influence and perceived benefit construct have the highest impact towards my change to exercising regularly. The intrapersonal level entails intrinsic factors that affect how I perceive exercising. Attitudes and beliefs about exercising directly affect its execution. If you are already have little motivation or perceive the exercising routines negatively, it is likely that you will not do the exercises even with conducive conditions. Vice versa, if you have a positive attitude and perception, you are more likely to exercise and be motivated to do it. Similarly, perceived usefulness of exercising in the prevention of heart-related diseases and health for my body impacted my change to regularly exercising.
An individual level intervention may help me best to maintain my daily exercise routine. According to Riekert et al., (2013), this type of intervention on a behavior change relies solely on the individual. Though individual-level interventions may get affected by socio-economic issues, it remains an effective way to maintain a healthy behavior change. This is because motivation within the individual level interventions emanates from oneself. Some of the strategic programs within individual intervention include goal setting, health behavior reinforcement and societal support. My behavioral change to regularly exercise will be goal oriented. Effective planning that includes a well-written schedule will assist me in adhering to my routine. The schedule will contain the types of exercises and the specific days in which I will do them. With this type of planning, it will help minimize time wasting and allow me to achieve my desired outcomes such as weight maintenance or a healthy cardiovascular/body condition. Introducing a self-reward may also serve to reinforce my exercise adherence. Furthermore, seeking social support from the community setting will allow me to capitalize on the available resources to reinforce my exercise routine.