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Iowa Weight Loss Specialists Exercise Project

Posted on November 27, 2018 at 3:00 PM by Iowa Weight Loss Specialists

Iowa Weight Loss Specialists’ behavioral health experts are excited to announce the IWLS Exercise Project, a series of reviews of local fitness centers and programs to help you find a program that suits your interests and goals.

For those who do not know me, my name is Paige Harnish. I am a licensed mental health provider at the West Des Moines office. For those of you who do know me, you have likely heard what I call my “exercise spiel”. To put it short, I am very passionate about exercise and believe you should be too. I talk to my patients, and well, everyone about exercise because benefits of exercise are all-encompassing and what I consider “the most bang for your buck” in enhancing a multitude areas of life and personal health. To cut the list short, a few benefits include:

  • Decreases in anxiety, depression, anger, & fatigue; enhanced mood
  • Increases in sense of well-being, alertness, clear thinking & energy
  • Stress reduction
  • More positive self-concept
  • Higher quality of life
  • Illness improvement (i.e. heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, etc.)

Unfortunately, understanding the benefits of exercise is the easy part of exercise. Implementing a consistent exercise routine is a whole other ball game. Through my work at Iowa Weight Loss Specialists, I understand the many barriers that people encounter when contemplating exercise. Exercise can be intimidating, uncomfortable, and painful.

The key to making exercise work is finding an exercise routine that is in line with your interests and goals. The most common error I observe with implementing an exercise routine is lack of fit—whether that is with difficulty level or the environment. Exercising at home is not sustainable for everyone.

I am excited to work closely with Travis Havens, exercise specialist at Iowa Weight Loss Specialists on this special project to provide you with a vast amount of information and possibilities at local fitness opportunities. We look forward to supporting you on your personal journey.

My name is Travis Havens and I am the exercise specialist here at IWLS. Growing up in a small town, I spent a majority of my childhood outside finding ways to have fun with friends, which in turn led to an affinity for being active. I have a passion for helping patients gain a better understanding of the wide array of benefits associated with a consistent exercise routine. Here at IWLS, we take pride in getting you the support that you need to be successful— whether that is a building personalized workouts for you to do at home or helping you find a fitness center environment that you feel comfortable in.

In an effort to help bring you one step closer to finding your new home away from home, Paige Harnish, LISW and I have started networking with Des Moines area fitness centers by traveling to different gyms to experience a workout for ourselves. In doing so, we can provide you accurate and relatable feedback about everything you need to know from training methods, class size, cost, etc.

One thing that I have really taken to heart is the impact that preparation has on a successful routine. If you truly want to make positive changes in your life, do your best to take the extra time and prepare. Make an effort to find a gym that suits your needs and is a place that justifies making a monthly or yearly financial investment in. The more variables you can eliminate, the more likely you are to stay on track and reach your goals.

One of the toughest decisions to make is where you want to be doing a majority of your working out. We understand that everyone’s personal preferences, financial flexibility, comfort level and schedule are unique, so it’s important to arm yourselves with the resources that will accommodate your needs in a variety of situations. Take into consideration that winter is coming (I have a hard time accepting the fact that summer & fall have already come and gone) and opportunities to be active outdoors are coming to an end. To assist you in the decision making process, here are just a few of the many positives associated with joining a gym:

  • High energy atmosphere – those last few reps are so much easier in a lively, energetic environment
  • Better ability to focus without distractions and an efficient use of time
  • Variety of equipment and workout space
  • Opportunity to meet new people and socialize
  • Making a financial commitment can be a source of motivation

No matter where you choose to spend your time exercising, it’s important that you have fun! If you’ve met with me before, odds are you’ve probably heard me talk about how exercise is a love-hate relationship. And it’s true. I mean, do I love having my quads scream at me as I’m finishing those last few squats? No, not exactly. But to say that I don’t love the feeling of having a strong, solid base underneath me would be a lie. In my opinion, some short-lived muscular fatigue is a small price to pay for the plethora of benefits that await you.

We understand that there will be days where you simply just don’t have the time or energy to make it to the gym, and that’s okay. Life happens. We also understand that you may not be able to work out at the same time every day, or on the same day(s) every week. However, on those days where you DO have the time and energy, it’s vital that you do your best to take advantage of it. If there are barriers preventing you from reaching your goals, such as hesitancy to investigate a new gym or being unsure of what to do in regards to workouts, please let us know. We’re here to help you break those barriers down with a vengeance.

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