Tuesday, March 16, 2010

10 Easy Ways to Form an Exercise Habit

It’s easy to start an exercise program, but it’s another thing all together to commit to it. Many people start a new workout program only to stop after a few sweaty sessions. So how do you make a workout routine stick?

Whether you’re exercising for fitness, health and wellness, weight loss, or to gain energy and sleep better at night, an exercise program is endlessly beneficial. Here’s how to stick to one.

10 Easy Ways to Form an Exercise Habit

1. Vary your workout. Keep your exercise program interesting by taking part in several activities you enjoy. Try running, cycling, walking, playing tennis, swimming, aerobics or any other active pursuit. You won’t stick to exercising if you don’t enjoy it.

2. Find a workout partner. Staying committed to an exercise program is easier if someone else is counting on you to be there.

3. Make exercise a priority. Schedule your workout times at the beginning of each week and don’t allow yourself to cancel.

4. Work out first thing in the morning. If you get up early to workout, there’s nothing stopping you. If you exercise later in the day, there’s a thousand little things that can potentially interfere.

5. Exercise right after work. If you’d prefer to sleep in, bring your workout clothes and exercise on the way home from the office. Make it a non-negotiable part of your day.

6. Exercise even when you’re feeling tired. If you neglect your workout every time you feel too tired, you’ll never fit it in. Plus, exercise is a great way to beat fatigue.

7. Keep a log of your activities. If you’re a runner, walker or cyclist, make it a game. Choose a destination (as far away as you’d like), calculate the miles to said destination and then record how long it takes you to “get there” on paper by keeping track of how many miles you run, walk or ride each day.

8. Know progress comes in many forms. As your body gets fitter, you’ll start to tone up and lose weight (as long as you’re maintaining a healthy diet). But there are other markers of progress you should be aware of. Sleeping better, thinking more clearly, having more sustained energy throughout the day, gaining strength, breathing easier, and enjoying lower levels of stress and anxiety are all improvements in your health and wellness. Improvements in cholesterol levels, bone density and blood pressure are also big benefits.

9. Build exercise into your day. If you have a dog, walk it twice a day. Walk or bike to work or to run errands. Make exercise automatic.

10. Set goals and reward yourself. Rewards are the best motivation, so treat yourself to something special – be it a new workout outfit or a nice dinner – when you reach a personal goal. Congratulate yourself for taking positive steps on improving your health and wellness.

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