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December 30, 2013

How to make exercise a habit

How to make exercise a habit How to make exercise a habit

Last updated: November 18, 2014

Taryn Siwale

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Category: Fitness

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One of the hardest things is making exercise a habit. But it can be done. Here are eight simple steps to make fitness feel natural.
How to make exercise a habit

One of the hardest things about exercising is sticking with it and making it part of your weekly routine. Let's face it, a walk here, a bike ride there and an aerobics class once in a while isn't the stuff good, strong bodies are made of. It’s recommended that we do 150 minutes of exercise per week. This may sound like a big ask but, if you can keep up your motivation for a couple of weeks, it will become a habit - and you'll really see and feel the results.

Tip: Break up your 150 minutes into shorter sessions and track them in your Fitness Diary

8 top tips to make exercise a habit

Follow these tips and soon fitness will be as natural to you as waking in the morning and falling asleep at night. Speaking of which, did you know that exercise helps you to sleep better? Remember, you can track sleep in your Sleep Tracker.

  1. Timing is everything. Work out at a time that fits your schedule. If you plan to hit the gym after work, but often stay late, it's going to be hard to make your workout a regular part of your week. For most people, mornings are the most realistic time. If you can get up an hour earlier for one week, you might find that exercise wakes you up and energises you for the rest of the day.
  2. Seek convenience. Pick a gym that's close to the office, so swinging by in the morning, popping in at lunch time or on the way home is super easy. Before you know it, your car will practically be steering itself there.
  3. Make fitness a priority. If you work out in the evenings, make sure your friends and family know that other engagements will have to wait until after your exercise time. The more you and everyone else in your life become accustomed to scheduling around your workout, the less likely you'll be to blow it off for other activities.
  4. Plan ahead. Half the battle is being organised. It doesn't take much. While you're packing your lunch or laying out your clothes for work the next day, be sure to pick out clean exercise clothes, pack your gym bag and fill up your water bottle so you can get up and go in a jiffy.
  5. Talk it up. Decide that you're going to be that person in the office or around the neighbourhood who is awe-inspiring for motivation. Post on social media that you are exercising. When people start noticing you looking fitter, tell them that you now exercise four to five times a week. Hearing yourself describe your life in this way makes it real - and will inspire you to keep it up.
  6. Enjoy it. The truth is, the feel-good chemicals released during exercise can leave you craving more exercise. If you can reach the point where you yearn for that fitness ‘high’ the way someone might desire coffee, motivation will no longer be an issue. When you hit that ‘high’, record it in your Mood Booster
  7. Add variety.
  8. If you do the same thing every day or week, you are bound to get tired of it. Plus, you’re body gets used to exercising the same set of muscles. Vary your routine with a range of cardio and toning exercises so you never get bored. For inspiration, take a look in your Fitness Diary
  9. Set goals. By setting achievable goals and tracking your progress, you can stay motivated to keep exercising on a regular basis. Tracking is a great way to do this. Try using a fitness device such as a Fitbit that you can synch to your Fitness Diary, use a step counter or the Tesco Health and Wellbeing App to set goals, monitor your progress and stay focused.

Tip: Staying hydrated is important when exercising. Make sure you drink plenty of water and track it in your Food Diary

For more fitness advice try these articles:

Why strong is the new skinny

The best way to build muscle healthily

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