My Health Behavior Led me to Take up Sports
How it works
Personal health behaviors encompass any activities an individual undertakes that impact their wellbeing. These health behaviors may help to prevent underlying medical conditions (Baranowski, Perry, and Parcel, 2012). Although some personal health behaviors are deliberate, others are entirely unintentional. My health behavior is a gradual shift to frequent exercising, especially taking morning or evening walks, and running. The transition from not exercising to regularly exercising came about due to the benefits it brought to my life, which are related to both physical and psychological health.
For instance, frequent exercise reduces cardiovascular mortality and aids in maintaining low blood pressure. As for psychological benefits, it can lead to reduced stress and anxiety levels. Regular exercisers may also experience improved mood states. While health behaviors may be personally motivated, social determinants and community constructs also play significant roles in their maintenance or change.
According to Riekert, Ockene, and Pbert (2013), social determinants consist of various prevailing conditions that influence specific health behaviors. These conditions include those at work, school, home, the place one was born, and age. Consequently, some factors underlying these social determinants include socio-economic conditions, the neighborhood, education level, and existing social support groups, among others. Social determinants play a key role in fostering the growth of a health behavior or in changing it. Current socio-economic conditions may make it difficult for individuals to modify their health behaviors (Riekert et al., 2013).
In my case, social determinants have positively shaped my routine individual exercise. An active population in the neighborhood can motivate an individual to stick to their exercise regime. For instance, motivated groups of people emerge in the morning to jog, walk, or go to the gym. If an individual misses their scheduled exercise, a jogging or gym partner may reach out to them. Well-maintained walking paths in the neighborhood allow people to jog without fear of vehicular accidents. Well-lit areas enhance visibility and safety for those who exercise in the morning or at night. The provision of bike paths and bike racks accommodates those who prefer cycling. Additionally, affordable resources such as gyms and personal home trainers are available for both exercise enthusiasts and beginners. However, tight work schedules can hinder individuals’ availability, forcing them to wake up extremely early to fit their exercising into their schedules. Consequently, an individual may skip their routine exercise due to this.
Community-level constructs assist in creating a conducive environment for behavioral change, reinforcing individual efforts in routine exercise. This reinforcement comes in the form of expectations, support, and networking for access to resources.
Individual-level constructs facilitate the maintenance or disregard of a health behavior, primarily depending on the individual’s motivation for the behavior. Due to the positive effects on health and psychological wellbeing, there is a high probability that an individual will consider routine exercise beneficial. The society’s existing perceptions about the benefits of exercising can either encourage one to continue or drop the exercise habit. For example, if people around me or my peers don’t perceive exercising as beneficial, it may cause me to adopt the same belief, resulting in a loss of motivation to exercise.
The intrapersonal level of influence and the perceived benefit construct have the highest impact on my decision to exercise regularly. The intrapersonal level encompasses intrinsic factors that affect how I perceive exercising. Attitudes and beliefs about exercising directly affect its execution. If one already has little motivation or perceives exercise routines negatively, it is likely that one won’t participate in the exercises, even with conducive conditions. Conversely, if one has a positive attitude and perception, they are more likely to exercise and be motivated to do so. Similarly, the perceived usefulness of exercising in the prevention of heart-related diseases and maintaining the health of my body influenced my change to regular exercise.
An individual-level intervention may help me best to maintain my daily exercise routine. According to Riekert et al. (2013), this type of intervention for behaviour change relies solely on the individual. Although individual-level interventions may be affected by socio-economic issues, it remains an effective way to maintain a healthy behavioural change. This is because motivation within individual-level interventions stems from oneself. Some of the strategic programmes within individual intervention include goal setting, health behaviour reinforcement, and social support. My behavioural change to regular exercise will be goal-oriented. Effective planning, including a well-written schedule, will assist me in adhering to my routine. The schedule will list the types of exercises and the specific days on which I will do them. With this type of planning, I can minimize wasted time and 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 will enable me to utilise the available resources to reinforce my exercise routine.