Making Exercise a “Habit”

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For some people, exercise is as much of their daily routine as a morning cup of coffee. For others, the mere thought of exercise makes them cringe. We all want to be healthy and happy, but sometimes we try to make exercise a little too complex. The good news is that if we can stick with a fitness routine long enough, exercise becomes a habit that is second nature. Here are four simple tips to help get you started.

1. Keep it simple. Sometimes we think creating an exercise program is complicated, almost like there is a scientific equation for success. The secret to success? Move. It’s just that simple. Whatever it is you love to do physically, make time in your day to do it. Focus on making the program simple and straightforward so you don’t become frustrated and give up. An example of keeping things simple is going for an evening or morning walk with your partner, or incorporating some stretching and jumping jacks a couple of times during the day.

2. Commit to 30 days. Thirty days! Yes, it has been shown that it takes thirty days to create a habit, whether that habit is around exercise, nutrition, biting your nails, or anything else. In the beginning of a new program, it is important to stick to it for thirty days, or four consecutive weeks. This does not mean exerting yourself physically every single day. But as you have created a simple routine, repeat it for thirty days. If you choose walking as your form of exercise, set a goal that you will walk at least three days per week for 20 minutes for thirty days. You will be amazed at the results, both mentally and physically.

girls running outside3. Pair up with a Partner. Go for an evening walk with a friend and you will be more likely to get moving. Human beings are social creatures so when we begin a new exercise routine, having a partner can make our new habit feel effortless. Imagine – which is easier? Waking up at 7 am to walk alone, or waking up at 7 am knowing your best friend is on their way over with coffee for a nice walk around the park? Ask your friends or family members to join you, or head to your local sports club and find a new workout buddy.

4. Reward Yourself. Giving yourself a pat on the back is critical for success. Therefore, make sure to reward yourself when achieving progress. Doing so teaches your brain to anticipate pleasure after hard work. Nevertheless, your rewards should be something besides food. Indulging in unhealthy eating habits will backfire on your health resolution. Instead, reward yourself by doing something you like, such as getting a full hour massage, dinner and a movie night with your loved one, buying a new workout top, or anything else you enjoy!

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