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When an individual begins an exercise program for the first time or after a long layoff, he or she may notice patterns or trends developing over time. One of these trends is something we call the "six-week syndrome."

Starting a program can create some anxiety and, perhaps in many instances, excitement. As the
program continues, approximately around week six, the novelty of the actual exercise experience begins to wane or even wear out. The realization begins to creep into one's consciousness that proper exercise requires hard work and dedication. Interestingly enough, as the program continues, the exercise doesn't seem to be getting physically easier for the individual. This is as it should be; your body needs to be continually challenged for it to make continued improvements.

It's also approximately at this six-week stage that the motor learning period (when your body learns how to most efficiently contract and manipulate exercise movements) comes to a close. It's now time to roll up your sleeves and really get down to instigating improvements in our body's lean tissue. Some individuals, regardless of their results, terminate their program at this point to search out an easier, more amusing form of recreation. We can certainly "recreate," but we must also exercise. It's also here the misinformed trainee will change or switch around their exercise order, selection, or even mode of exercise. Just about the time at which the body is really gearing up to improve itself, misguided trainees change something with their exercise strategy and begin the motor learning cycle all over again.

Proper exercise is a logical strategy employed to improve your body. It isn't meant to be entertaining, fun, or amusing. It isn't meant as a distraction from your daily routines. Proper exercise is a requirement to lead a healthy, functional life. It isn't a luxury; it's a necessity, and it should be treated as such. People don't look for interesting experiences and entertainment from the act of brushing and flossing their teeth. Exercise should be considered in this same category. Your dentist will explain to you, "If you want to keep your teeth, you have to brush and floss." And your exercise specialist will explain to you, "If you want to keep (and improve) your lean tissue, skeletal integrity and strength, and cardiovascular system, you have to employ proper exercise."

Stimulate your body with proper exercise. But never attempt to stimulate the side that craves entertainment, amusement, and fun during an exercise program. "Fun," as it relates to proper exercise, comes in the form of compliments you receive from friends and family. It comes in the form of self-satisfying glances in the mirror early in the morning as you prepare for work. It comes from being able to physically participate and play with your kids or friends. It comes in the form of not requiring a walker or cane when you're 70, 80, or 90 years old. As you age, if you don't consistently expose yourself to proper exercise, the activities you currently enjoy will cease to be fun, as these activities become ever more difficult for you to perform.
Ask yourself if you're slipping into this trap. If so, hopefully this outlines the correct perspective to move you forward. IBI

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