Blog: Time for a Time-Oriented Fitness Tie-In

The end of Daylight Savings Time last Sunday morning brought the usual reminders to turn back our clocks (or, these days, appliances). Along with that, the greatest marketing idea to come out of this twice-a-year event: the notion of changing batteries in smoke and CO detectors. It sells batteries, and nobody can argue with the importance of staying safe.

Isn't it time the fitness industry made some of its own tie-ins, as well?

One of my friends raced in a Fall Back 5K last weekend. The race started around 1:40 a.m., right before the time change, so that runners finished before they started. Is that great or what? Someone in the fitness industry figured out how to harness the publicity generated by the time change, and get people excited about participating in this middle-of-the-night event.

There are a lot of other ideas, though, and they might be just the thing to get weekend warriors into some better habits. There's a recommendation that running shoes be replaced every 300 to 500 miles, depending on whose advice you're listening to, what surface you're running on and so forth. Careful runners do it. But a lot of other people don't, and wind up with shin splints, knee pain and other injuries as a result. Those who play racquet sports are supposed to have their racquets restrung as many times a year as they normally play a week. Do they? Yes, if they have good habits - but again, not everyone does.

Some people just don't pay attention to the advice put out by the industry because they just think those sources are out to sell more shoes, strings, whatever. It generally doesn't occur to them that the recommendations were formulated with the goal of keeping them less prone to injury, and more prone to performing better.

Maybe what we need is a 'Do this twice a year' initiative to use as a baseline for those stubborn people (you know who they are) who don't want to follow the official recommendation: Change your clocks, and by the way, it's time to change out your running shoes. Or your racquet strings. Or get your bicycle tuned up. It might be a method personal trainers can use if they're faced with a particularly noncompliant client.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not advocating driving consumers into sporting goods stores in the spring and fall if they don't need new equipment. I'm not trying to undermine the pros' recommendations, either. The possibilities are there, and all we need to do is capitalize on them.

You can mark your calendars now for 2012's dates: Sunday, March 11, is when we spring forward. Sunday, Nov. 4, is when we fall back. Personally, I will be getting new shoes in time for the next Fall Back 5K.

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