Human Behavior Assessment and Modification Project



Human Behavior Assessment and Modification Project

Proposed behavior change: Exercise 30 minutes everyday

Article 1: Healthy mind, healthy body: Benefits of exercise

This seminar held in March 13, 2014 at Harvard Medical School had two speakers and one moderator who are all passionate about a healthy mind and body, possible through good exercise. In the seminar, the speaker talked about the functioning of various body parts and how exercise affects them on a daily basis. Hormones are released more effectively after a 30 minute workout and go ahead to improve mood, also known as ‘ runners high’, boosts insulin production, helps menopausal women to reduce risk of cancer and help to breakdown fats to provide energy. The immune system is strengthened by reduced stress hormones. Exercise slows down bone loss in old age and increases bone strength and density. Exercise unclogs blood vessels by burning off the fat and strengthens the heart against dangerous heart rhythms. It generally gives the body an opportunity to burn fats for energy leading to loss of excess fats for energy release.

They highlighted several benefits of exercise such as; it lessens the likelihood of developing heart disease, which is the number one killer for men and women in the United States (Minter, Davis & Arany, 2014). Exercise does this by balancing blood lipids, artery resilience, reduces inflammation and blood clots and lowers the risk of individuals that are already suffering from heart disease from dying from it. Exercise was also found to lower blood pressure and hypertension.

It helps to prevent diabetes by lowering blood sugar, boosting insulin production and doing away with excess weight. Walking and running help to reduce bone loss as one protects joints by easing swelling, pain and fatigue. It helps to reverse knee problems since every pound of weight lost reduces the load of weight on the knee by 4 pounds. (Minter, Davis & Arany, 2014) it also relieves stress and uplifts moods through hormones.

In the seminar the following fundamentals were given on how to go about it. Track time or calories to know just how much exercise you need. Recommended workout time is 2 hours and 30 minutes per week. Calories lost per week should be 500-2000 per week. Exercise should be spread out throughout the week. Moderate activity is safe for most people but working up to more vigorous activity helps in cuts of weight and the amount of time used in exercising. The seminar activated people to being SMART. S-specific goals, M-measure progress, A- achievable progress, R-realistic progress, T-time commitments must be set.

In my proposed behavior change, I intend to form realistic and achievable goals towards it because of the insight given by the article. I am also better informed now on why I need to adopt exercise immediately because of all the benefits involved especially long term ones. I learnt that even in old age I can be successful at exercising and being a healthier elderly person without most complications that arise in old age. Minter, Davis and Arany were successful in enlightening me on why I need to be self-motivated, plan my day to fit in exercise, plan simple rewards for myself and be creative about my work out routine. I am happy to know that although little is known of the benefits of exercise for other ailments because studies have not been extensive enough, it was still good to know that exercise is beneficial in preventing severe coronary heart disease, rehabilitation from stroke, treatment of heart failure and prevention of diabetes. More research is recommended for doctors and patients’ help.

Article two: Exercise and physical activity.

It is written by the National Institute on Aging and advises older people on what they need to do to get going. It emphasizes not only on regular exercise but on physical activity as well to reduce the risk of diseases and disabilities prevalent as people grow older. Physical activity is expansive and not hard to attain. Activities like raking leaves, brisk walking, watering the garden or taking the stairs every opportunity given can give one exercise that makes sense (pg. 20). Exercise on the other end is structured physical activity that often needs to be planned ahead of time. It is a guide for staying active and having fun while getting endurance, strength, balance and flexibility (pg34-88) it advices the older ones to find a starting point and stick with it. Setting goals and finding ways of fulfilling them every day make it a routine to participate in the physical activities you like. It advices on talking to your doctor before commencing any physical activity for people that have had back surgery, hip surgery, uncontrolled health problems and those with chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease and arthritis. Caution is necessary even in exercise and one should find out if any exercise is restricted to them They should be open and talk about unexplainable symptoms such as chest pain, painful joints, dizziness or short breaths and how to get back to exercise after a short span of illness. (pg. 28) one should also take care that their preventive care is up to date especially for disease such as osteoporosis.

Small things like finding the right shoes for exercise are very important as you progress with age. For older adults a shoe is one that is skid free, cushioned, spacious enough for your toes, replaced when worn out, are the right fit. A personal trainer is very important and one should look out for certification from known institutions, education and experience, can he or she develop a program that best suits you? Do they know of your health conditions and the medication you are on, do they listen carefully and answer your questions? Are you okay with their personality? Have they provided you with their expectations? Is the cost affordable; are they comfortable with you referencing them? Finding the right person that you are comfortable with is a big plus.

Routine can be tiring too, a good break is often well deserved. Take a trip, play with your grandchildren or take your partner to the places you liked visiting when younger and reminisce. Being too hard on you is not healthy at all and rest is fundamental for the general wellbeing.

Reading through this book for the elderly, I realized that though tailored for the elderly, as a young person one can draw important lessons from it. I learnt of the important benefits of a good shoe for exercise, the benefits of finding a gym instructor that you can relate with and with whom you can understand. I learnt that physical activity is as important and that sitting and TV time should be as limited as possible. Health wise, the article is perfect in enlightening one on medication, doctor sessions and exercise. The article is excellent in helping one set achievable goals, sticking with them and taking a well-deserved break when you need it.  It is important as a youngster to take exercise seriously so as not to have complications when older and much later in life. As a young person struggling with a job or education you learn that life is not all serious and getting rest is important.

Article 3: Be Active your Own Way.

It is a guide for adults based on the 2008 physical activity guidelines for Americans. Physical activity benefits people across all ages, types, sizes and colour. It advocates for starting slowly, knowing just what to expect, feeling good about, build up over time by finding more exercises to incorporate in your routine, add more time and days, and speed up where you have been slow. What is unique about this journal is that you get to pick an exercise you like and not one you are uncomfortable with. It is refreshing because it will be happy to go and exercise. You also get to choose your most comfortable time and to have a support system of friends or family who keep one on his toes. Every little bit of exercise is supposed to add up one way or another, either in intensity or time taken. Strengthening of muscle and bone is essential for adults and should be done at least twice in a week. It is important to choose activities that work on all body parts. Try moving on from the recommended 2hours 30 minutes a week to more work out time in a week.

Staying safe is an important part of exercise and should be taken seriously. One can do this by starting slowly especially if one has been inactive for a while. Learn about activities that rae best for you, choose activities that fit your current fitness level. Use the right equipment and sports gear. The place for your activity should be safe as well, this includes, forest tracts, the gym or other outdoor environments. See a doctor if any complications arise. There are two types of activities: moderate and vigorous. Moderate may include dancing, riding a bike on level ground, gardening, and walking and water aerobics. Vigorous ones include aerobic dancing, riding a bike fast, fast dancing, and heavy gardening, hiking uphill, jumping rope, martial arts, jogging and running. Keep track of your weekly performance; it is likely to boost your morale. This can be done by having a worksheet you can fill out on aerobics or strengthening activities throughout a week.

This guide helped me to realize just how important it is to monitor one self and keep track of what you are doing to know if you are headed in the right direction. It was important to note that for a beginner like me, I needed to take it slowly at first to prevent burnout. We love the idea of exercising but we rarely think of the danger that might be lurking in our places for exercise. So I have learned to look at my environment first before I can engage in activities and hurt myself. I have also learnt the importance of doing activities that are at par with my level of exercise and the importance of using the right equipment for a particular exercise and the need for good shoes. I learnt the importance of being me and choosing activities that I enjoy thoroughly and doing them at the times I am comfortable with and add on activities according to my pace. I also learnt to monitor my health and see a doctor whenever I spot a pain or swelling in my body. I learnt to incorporate normal chores in my routine such as gardening, doing the dishes, walking the dog, taking the stairs and normal gardening can be enough activity before I get to the exercise time.


Healthier US Gov., h. (2017). Cite a Website – Cite This For Me. Retrieved 22 November 2017, from

Minter, M., Davis, I., & Arany, Z. (2014). Cite a Website – Cite This For Me. Retrieved 22 November 2017, from

NIH, N. (2017). Cite a Website – Cite This For Me. Retrieved 22 November 2017, from

My Journal Entries

Week 1: 1st December, 2017

Today was the day I have been waiting for and trust me; I had a lot of energy to expend. I was taking all my energy to the University Village Center. I found a group of ladies doing a dance work out and because I love dancing I joined in. It was real fun and the blood pumping in my ears was enough motivation. I didn’t even notice the hours fly by. At the end of the workout I was too tired to eat so I took a salad and enough water and went to bed early.

Week 1: 2nd December, 2017

I didn’t realize just how unfit I had gotten. My knees feel like jelly and my thighs are on fire with every step. Walking today has become a daunting task. The things I take for granted on a daily life basis. At least I got the eating part right yesterday. Today I plan on eating lots of vegetables and fruits plus a smaller serving of pasta. I don’t think I can hit the gym today. I will take it easy, but I will walk most distances and take the stairs instead of the lifts or escalators. I will be fit enough to partake in exercise again but until then, I will just bear the pain, gracefully.

Week 2: 8th December, 2017

The pain is now in my past. The weekend helped because I went cycling with my friends and while we had fun at it, I got the chance to strengthen my lower muscles and I feel fit enough to go on with my scheduled exercise appointments. I am learning new do at home exercise techniques such as squats which are supposed to work on my rear muscles. Others include, skipping rope and crunches. I will have to do all that in the evening because I have a busy schedule today and the only time I will get is in the evening.

Week 2: 9th December, 2017

Last night was lit; I got my best friend to join me in my exercise at home. She was excited because it was fun and she also got challenged. We drew up our goals by setting the parts of our bodies that needed the most work. Our common problem areas were the lower tummy and the thighs. She promised to join in when she can. I at least have a work out mate in the home arena. Today I went to aerobics class and the instructor was a professional and because it was my first time I was eager to impress and the instructor was not too hard on me. He was quick to offer advice and guidance where needed. I went to the market after the exercise session and shopped for vegetables for my salads and some for cooking with my carbs and chicken. I am trying to go slow on red meat, but that does not mean that I have completely gone off them. I also bought fruits and blended a glass of juice to refresh my body after a long and eventful day.

Week 3: 15th December, 2017

Aargh! I am agitated because the expected results are not coming in as fast as possible. My problem areas are still glaring and if there is any change it is minimal. It has to go and fast, my lifestyle is pretty changed and I hope for more visible results. May be there is something I am not doing right or maybe I should be patient enough. There is a massive boost in my energy bubble, I can now effortlessly run up a flight of stairs and not pant at the top. My back pain and stiffness is disappearing and my knees feel way lighter. I am also happy most of the time; I think the exercise is doing wonders for my happy hormones. My friends even say that my skin is glowing! I feel alive and that for now counts for a lot! I can perform more physical activities without complaining of exhaustion and look forward to my exercise sessions with more enthusiasm. I feel that this is a step towards the right direction and its worth a thousand steps.

Week 3: 17th December, 2017

I am learning to use gym equipment like working the treadmill, the rowing machine and the weights I am supposed to lift. I now know my way around the gym equipment and can help myself. I am gradually increasing my intensity by flat-tummy Pilates and cardio boxing and core workouts. I feel more energetic now and can do some of my exercise at a half pace faster than I used to. Work out sessions are now my way of releasing stress and pent up steam and I come out feeling better. I sat down today at lunch hour and organized my thoughts on how I plan to reward myself for my efforts. I could only come up with two ways. Gift myself a snack and a meal I have been craving on my cheat day which will be Sunday. This is supposed to keep me on track during the week and psychologically prepare my mind for a healthy week if it has to have that treat on Sunday. I also decided that from now on I will have a day to break my routine and take time to rest. I have a feeling that my body would love that very much. It will be a reward worth taking a chance on.


Week 4: 24th December, 2017

Hurray! My friend encouraged me to see my progress on the weighing machine and I am glad I did, I have managed to cut 10 pounds! I am over the moon. At the beginning of my journey I had set out to shed 20 pounds, I am glad I am halfway there. After jogging in the evening, I had invited my friend over to teach me on how to make low fat meals and healthy ones at that. I was surprised at how tasty they were despite being healthy. My notion that vegetables can’t be healthy when cooked is officially over. My friend proved me wrong. Today my walking was so exciting it is Christmas Eve and I walked for ages looking for the perfect gifts for my friends and family. I had wondered so far away from home and only realized it when I began my journey back home laden with shopping bags. I am having friends over for dinner and I am planning to wow them with my new cooking skills. Attah girl!

Week 4: 26th December, 2017

Christmas with friends and family in a foreign country has a way of making people closer even for people whose culture and faith does not believe in it. I joined in the festivities but in the few days leading up to a new year I am not taking in the temptations of food and drinks all around me. I don’t have enough time to do much exercise so I decided to offer my services to any chore that will provide physical activity such as decorating, doing the dishes and gardening as well as mowing the lawn. I am also slowing down on caffeinated drinks. I can’t remember the last day I had a cup of coffee. It had started becoming an addiction and I am glad I stopped. My tummy looks so much better and my thighs too. No more flab, just muscle.

Week 5: 6th January, 2018

The New Year is here and my New Year resolution includes climbing a mountain. My friends and I are planning a field excursion to the nearby mountains. It is time to get fresh air and explore! I am getting more confident with my routines and I am glad I did not over indulge over the holiday season. I am picking up healthy habits such as eating a heavy breakfast and controlling my food potions during the day. I have also successfully done away with candy and most sugary snacks. Today I managed to stretch my workout to one hour, something I am totally proud of because I have been struggling with it for quite a while now. Another hurdle out of the way. More accomplishments for me and my goals are getting achieved.

Week 5: 8th January, 2018

With my tummy and thighs having a new look, I am moving on to my shoulders and arms. Today I begin my journey toward sculpted shoulders and toned arms. I have to know my weights and how best to go about it. I am working on my consistency and hoping that my psyche remains top notch. Today I ran as well, a few miles, encouraged by my neighbor who is an avid runner. I am glad I did not pant and huff, it was easy because of all the exercise I have been getting.

Week 6: 15th January, 2018

I have been charting my progress and looking at it today I was impressed. I have come such a long way.  Today as I walked from the gym I was glad that I took up this challenge. It feels good to be lighter and I feel so much more flexible. No activity is beyond me and I must say that I am glad that my studies are benefiting as well because I am no longer exhausted when studying and my concentration levels in class have picked up. My memory is excellent, I don’t know if there is a correlation but somehow I don’t forget what I have learnt as fast.

Week 6: 16th January, 2018

The mountain climbing is tomorrow, so today I packed my best pair of climbing shoes, gear and food as well as water. My physical activities today will help me build up strength on my legs and thighs. My arms are better toned now so I will not be incapacitated in places that require rock climbing.

Lab Unit 10: Health Behavior Assessment.

I followed my plan through although I must admit it was hard at the beginning. My timelines did not work as fast as they needed them to but with perseverance they eventually brought me results.

The journal entries were helpful because each time I felt like giving up, I would go back and find out just why I began this in the first place and which goals I had achieved and which ones were still pending. The pending ones gave me motivation to achieve them while my accomplishments were the pillow I would lean on for comfort and push on. My friends were very supportive, the people at the gym too and the most supportive one was my instructor who pushed for results any time I was lagging behind.

My progress was mostly hindered by new activities that I was supposed to take on along the way and sometimes setting the time for exercise was daunting. My goals were all reasonable and all of them were achieved. I am proud that my efforts did not go to waste. I am now on my ideal weight and I am not going to add on more weight but I will maintain my current healthy one. I am glad that system is stable now especially diet wise and I am able to burn fats more effectively. I love my new skin, no more tags, just glow.

To maintain my changed behavior, I intend to keep my positive friends, continue with my routine and improve to a better one, still eat healthy balanced meals and cut on my sugar intakes just like before. I will also influence more of my friends to take up healthier life styles.