A lifelong fitness habit has its rewards. Not only does regular exercise control your weight and make you feel great, but it can also help fight off high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. What’s more, a consistent fitness routine can help you feel more energized, help you sleep better and improve your mood.
Set Goals and Start Slow
If you want to develop a lifelong habit, you must begin by setting goals. According to Forbes, clearly defined goals can help you focus, get motivated and sustain your momentum. Once you know what your goals are, write them down and begin taking small steps toward them. Don’t try to do too much at once, or you may get overwhelmed and give up.
Make Exercise Convenient
As a human, you’re likely a creature of habit who resists change. For this reason, you should strive to make exercise as convenient as possible. If you schedule your exercise session for an hour before you usually get out of bed, you may be less likely to follow through. You might find it easier to fit in spurts of exercise when your schedule allows, such as when you’re watching TV. Moreover, it helps us, creatures of habit, to cue our new habits to old habits. For example, what if you started to workout immediately after your coffee? Or right before you sat down at night?
Choose Activities That You Enjoy
Nobody wants to do something they don’t enjoy, so choose activities you’ll look forward to doing, such as playing in a sports league or swimming. Mayo Clinic also recommends working out with friends and changing up your routine to keep things interesting. The key is to keep from getting bored with your fitness routine so you’ll stick with it.
Focus on the Rewards of Exercise
Whenever you feel your motivation lagging, focus on the rewards that can come with regular exercise. Think about how much better you’ll feel after a good workout, how much healthier you’ll be if you stick with your routine or how great you’ll look once you’ve toned up. If all else fails, reward yourself with a little treat — a healthy treat, afterward.
Strive for Consistency, Not Intensity
Don’t worry about hitting the gym hard each time you go. Strive for consistency, not intensity. The CDC recommends healthy adults get at least 2 ½ hours of moderate exercise each week. For best results, vary between aerobic and muscle-strengthening routines. Once you master consistency, you can work toward increasing the intensity of your workouts. But don’t let how and when and what be the thing that derails you. Just do something, every day, and then build on that habit.
While you’re at it, why not get the kiddos involved? Planet Fitness is offering free memberships to teens this summer — help them build that habit early. (Not an affiliate link.)
Good habits can be difficult to create, but you’ve got this. All you have to do is take steps, even one step, and soon you’ll be living the healthy lifestyle you’ve always wanted.