The Fifth Dimension Of Fitness

Pick up any magazine, diet and fitness book or listen to health reports and you will frequently hear about the four dimensions necessary to get MAXIMUM results from your fitness program: (1) nutrition; (2) resistance training; (3) cardio training; (4) “mind” training.

If one or more of these four dimensions are missing from your program you are not going to achieve the same results as you would with all four in place. Yet, some people have all four pieces of the puzzle and they still struggle to get results.

That’s because there are actually FIVE dimensions to getting fit, but you rarely hear about the final, important piece that is needed – social support.

There are many forms of social support – family, friends, church, trainers, coaches, support groups, online support. Social support can work two ways, if you are around negativity it can drag down your efforts to make changes to your life, but if you receive positive support it can make all the difference in achieving your goals.

In a July 2007, New England Journal of Medicine report, Harvard researchers in the Framingham heart study found a strong correlation between weight gain in one person and the weight gain in his or her friends, spouse, siblings, parents and neighbors.

While scientific verification proves this correlation, common sense tells us that people are part of a social group because they share similar interests and behaviors and parents are likely to pass on the same eating and exercise habits to their children; therefore, fitness levels are likely to be similar among social groups.

Not only did this report confirm what I call the Fifth Dimension about social influence, it also confirmed that geographic distance did not matter; even hundreds of miles did not decrease the risk of weight gain among close social ties, if they were obese.

So what does this report mean if you are trying to improve your health and fitness? Are you doomed to fail if your friends and family are overweight? No, there are many ways you can find support outside of your family or social circle.

A fitness coach or personal trainer can offer you the support you need to stay on track when you are buffeted from all sides with family and friends who may not support your efforts, or maybe are threatened by the changes you are making in your life.

If hundreds of miles do not decrease the risk of weight gain, as proven by the study, then you can also get positive results with a supportive coach or community via the internet or telephone, which opens up even more avenues to success.

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