Making Exercise and Movement a Habit: The Secret Sauce to a Healthy Life
Exercise is essential for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It helps improve cardiovascular health, maintains a healthy weight, and boosts energy levels. Yet, despite its many benefits, many people struggle to make exercise a regular part of their daily routine.
One of the most common reasons people give up on exercising is because they start too fast, with too much intensity or volume. To avoid burnout, it’s best to start small and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts. For example, start with a short walk for 10-15 minutes, then gradually increase the time and distance as your fitness level improves. If resistance training is something you are starting with, start with two days a week, with a few sets per exercise, gradually increasing the reps, sets and weight.
Set a Specific Goal
Setting specific goals can help you stay motivated and on track. Your goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. For example, your goal could be to run a 5K in three months or to complete a set number of push-ups in a specific time. A plan will give you something to work towards and help you stay focused and motivated.
Schedule Your Workouts
Like any other important task, scheduling your workouts into your daily routine is essential. Treat your workout as an appointment with yourself, and make it non-negotiable. Choose a time that works best for you, whether first thing in the morning, during your lunch break, or after work (Checkout our blog on when the best time to exercise is for tips).
Find an Exercise Buddy
Having a workout partner can be a great motivator. Find someone who has similar fitness goals, and make plans to exercise together. Having someone to exercise with can make your workouts more fun, and you’ll be less likely to skip a workout if you know someone is counting on you.
Track Your Progress
Tracking your progress can be a great motivator. Keep a journal to record your workouts and track your progress over time. Seeing your progress can be a great source of motivation and help you stay on track.
Mix It Up
Doing the same type of workout can get boring, so try mixing it up. For example, try different types of exercise, such as running, cycling, swimming, or yoga, to keep your workouts interesting. You can also try other activities at different times of the day to see what works best for you.
Make It a Lifestyle Change
Finally, the key to making exercise a habit is to make it a lifestyle change. Exercise should become a regular part of your daily routine, like brushing your teeth or eating breakfast. Make it a non-negotiable part of your day, and you’ll be more likely to stick to it in the long term.
Making exercise a habit takes time, effort, and discipline. But, with the right mindset, you can make exercise a regular part of your daily routine and enjoy all the benefits that come with it. You just need to SHOW UP. Soon you will be on your way to making exercise a habit that you can stick to for the long term.
Shara Vigeant, BA, NSCA-CPT, CFSC