I guess it is important to emphasize to people that tailoring exercise for a person is not a wholesale cookie-cutter process. Though I admire people who sell inspiring  DVD through infomercials offering miraculous results especially on week-end mornings, I do not subscribe to the ‘one size fits all’ routines. In my more than twenty years experience as a health care worker, Person A will always respond differently from Person B  given the same regimen of activity. The only time I would give a similar regimen to Person A and Person B is when they are absolutely the same in conditions or  I were doing a scientific study about my regimen.

In the real world, however, Person A and Person B will most likely differ in responding to any exercise routine.  For obvious reasons.

1. Age differences will require exercise modification. I certainly would not provide the same exercise for a twenty year old person and a sixty year old person.
2. Medical conditions will require modification. A person with a heart condition will have a different exercise routine from a healthy-no-diagnosis person.
3. Fitness status will require modification. A person who has been playing all types of sports and winning all games will have  a different exercise plan from someone who has been a couch potato all his life.
4. Mental attitude will require modification. A person who is lukewarm  to exercise will require a different approach from one who is gearing to exercise.

These are just 4 of the reasons that would make me design a program uniquely for an individual. These  are mainly my logic in raising the point of ‘individualized’ exercise programs. In the ideal world, there are certain activities everyone can do. Certain light activities like walking, doing light range of motion exercises, light regimens like tai-chi, anything light are usually ‘safe’ for some one 16 to 100 years old. Unfortunately, not everybody is into ‘light’ activities. A health care worker like me will draw a different plan for each person depending on the 4 reasons mentioned above. A person with joint replacement, recent heart bypass, recently diagnosed cancer, certain type of neurological  compromise, diabetes, pain, injuries and thousands more conditions will need a self tailored routine.

Though a Physical Therapist or a Personal Trainer will be able to provide these exercise regimens unique to your health status, that PT supervision will eventually end and, you, as the client, will be left on your own.

And that is usually where the underlying problem lies in our dysfunctional health care system. There is a missing self-driven consistency and follow-up which remains as the culprit in America’s fight versus an unhealthy population. Combine that with widespread unhealthy food and  a lifestyle promoting less activity,  we end up with a costly, skewed, impractical and overwhelming monster called Health Care Debacle.

No matter how we look at it - the  current system is intervention-driven rather than prevention-driven. It puts the total control on the health care provider instead of on the patient. It appears that  many patients have given up the management of their health to the Doctors, Nurses, PTs, pharmacists, politicians, lawyers, businessmen, insurance companies etcetera instead of ‘owning’ it themselves.

But the blame can not just be limited to the patients. It’s the whole concept of consumerism and these ‘for-profit’ health providers that took away the responsibility from the patient. Though it is ideal to wake up one day and have a butler assist you in your out of bed showering and dressing, followed by a healthy breakfast cooked and prepared by a personal cook, followed by a personal trainer who will guide you to your morning exercise, well, I assume only a few of us could afford all that.

Majority of us need to drag ourselves out of bed to work, prepare our own meals and push our bodies to exercise if we have energy at all. That is the reality of our lives. And though I may be able to pontificate  ‘that this is what we should do’ until the end of time, the truth is, it is hard to accomplish that.

1. We have to work  to pay bills. And that depletes us of energy.
2. We’d rather spend our  limited time to something more important, like family-time, instead of exercising.
3. We don’t always get excited by healthy foods.
4. We do not possess consistent days that will bring us to exercise mode.
5. There are always unexpected events that change even our best laid out plans. Bad weather, accidents, family incidentals.
6. Not all of us agree on proper nutrition, exercise and rest.
7. We may be physically active, but some of us can be very stressed.

This are very many barriers  that we need to hurdle everyday to achieve good health. And these barriers differ from one person to another. What is difficult fro Person A maybe to easy for person B or the other way around. So - the main target here is -

Which approach do you think works best for you? What will keep you compliant? What can possibly motivate you? What can make you happy while achieving good health at the same time?