Tag Archives: make exercise a habit

7 Tips to Restart Your Exercise Habit

ExerciseHabitBlogIf you’re like me, you were hung-ho to start a new exercise routine in the beginning of January. Then, February rolls around. It’s cold and gloomy outside. You’re getting over a head cold. Your work schedule is especially hectic.

It’s easy to become derailed from your fitness routine. The important thing is to get started again.

Exercise has so many health benefits. It can help improve your sense of well-being, give you more pep and energy, let you sleep more soundly, make you feel more alert, relieve stress and give you more self confidence.

Here are 7 tips to get your exercise habit back on track:

Set specific goals
You might want to run a marathon, bike 100 miles or train for a triathlon. The best way to get there is to set specific, smaller goals that will lead to your big goal. You may want to practice running a mile first, or biking 20 miles and improving on the time it takes you. You may just want to get more active. You could set a goal to walk two or three miles every day.

Do activities you enjoy
There’s no rule that says you have to go to the gym or buy expensive equipment. I personally don’t like to run. So, I don’t run. There are plenty of physical activities you can do that you enjoy. It may take some time to find what suits your personality. You can try team sports, walking with friends, playing tennis, bike riding or whatever is fun to you.

Make exercise a priority
Until you put exercise at the top of your to-do list, you’ll find every reason not to do it. Make your exercise routine non-negotiable. Then, it will become an integral part of your daily life.

Create a ritual
Your workout routine should become so ingrained that it becomes a ritual. This means that the time of day, place or another cue will automatically lead you to begin your workout. If your physical activity is completely random, it’s harder to get in the habit of sticking to that ritual.

Mix things up
You can still mix up the types of exercise you work into your regular routine. You’re more likely to get bored if you do the same thing every day. Plus, if you work your muscles with the repetitive motion every day, your muscles adapt to it. You burn fewer calories and build less muscle. Switch up strength training with cardio activities like swimming, cycling or kickboxing.

Make it social
Commit to working out with another person. If you promise to meet a friend at the gym or go for a walk after dinner, you’re more likely to make it happen. You can also challenge your friends to meet their exercise goals through phone calls, texts or social media. A strong social network can motivate you to reach your goals.

Reward yourself
Experts say that making behavior changes is hard and that rewards motivate. Decide on a goal and a reward, and work toward it. You can buy new walking shoes after you meet your walking goals. Or get together with your exercising buddies and go out for dinner. Come up with rewards that will motivate you to keep at it!

15 exercise and fitness dos and don’ts

Fitness and exercise stretchingI started an exercise routine about a year ago. At first I was very enthusiastic and committed to working out several times a week.

Now, I have to force myself to fit in exercise. I am really not seeing any results so it’s difficult to stay motivated. I know that regular exercise is vital to good health. It’s just hard to be consistent in my workouts.

I recently read an article explaining that most people make fitness mistakes. This means your exercise routine may be unsafe. It can also mean you aren’t getting the most out of your workout. These mistakes could even cause you to fall short of your fitness goals.

Here are 8 exercise and fitness DOS to help you reach your goals:

Do write down your fitness goals
If you put it in writing, you are more likely to stick with it. Post your goals on the refrigerator or bathroom mirror. When you feel less than inspired to workout, it can give you the motivation you need to keep at it.

Do warm up
Many of us bypass warming up and jump right into our routine with cold muscles and stiff joints. You are more likely to cause an injury than if you warm up your body first. Start out with stretching exercises or walking before you begin more rigorous exercise.

Do stretch more
In addition to reducing sore muscles and strains, stretching can improve your range of motion and flexibility. To get the most from stretching, add it to the end of your workout when your muscles are still warm. It also helps you cool down slowly. If you stop exercising abruptly, you can feel dizzy, lightheaded or nauseous.

Do drink water
It’s important to rehydrate your body when you exercise. Be sure to drink plenty of water before, during and after your workout routine. This will replace lost electrolytes and keep your body in balance.

Do find the middle ground
Many people work out too intensely while others don’t work out intensely enough. You may try to lift too much weight or start a new routine before you’re ready. On the other hand, you may spend too much time socializing when you’re at the gym or exercising with friends instead of getting the most out of your workout. You can work with a fitness instructor or trainer to help you determine the routine and intensity that’s right for you.

Do use good form
At the very least, if you are exercising incorrectly you won’t achieve the full results and may become discouraged. At the worst, you could cause an injury or do harm to yourself. You can work with a professional trainer to ensure that you are achieving the best results.

Do vary your routine
It’s important to mix up your routine. First, it helps to prevent repetitive injuries and by changing your workouts you will see better results. Second, it keeps you from getting bored and can give you the motivation to stick with it.

Do eat healthy
What you eat influences the effectiveness of your fitness regimen. Good nutrition combined with regular exercise will help you reach your goals. In addition, when you eat healthy, you have more energy to workout and stay active.

Here are 7 exercise and fitness DON’TS to help you get more out of your workout:

Don’t skip breakfast
Be sure to eat breakfast every day. Eating breakfast helps rev up your metabolism and gives you the energy you need throughout the day.

Don’t get stuck in a rut
You may find yourself on the treadmill, doing the same routine for the same amount of time. It’s easier to do the same thing over and over than to mix things up and vary your routine. Yet, it’s important to vary the type of exercises you do and change the time and intensity so that you challenge your muscles and workout your entire body.

Don’t skimp on sleep
Your body needs sleep so that you can function at your best levels. Getting enough sleep can also give you the energy and focus you need to make the most out of your exercise routine.

Don’t set unrealistic goals
If you set goals that are too difficult or not realistic, you will only be disappointed. A healthy weight loss is 1 to 2 pounds per week, so it would be unrealistic to lose 50 pounds in a few months. You may find more success setting other types of goals. For instance, you could work toward walking three miles a day or running a mile without stopping. When you accomplish a goal, you can set new goals.

Don’t over do it
By doing too much too quickly, you can do more harm than good. If you want to challenge yourself, work your way up gradually and always listen to your body. Working out until you’re tingly or tired is fine, but you don’t want to push it to the point of muscle exhaustion.

Don’t compare yourself to others
You are a unique individual. What works for some people may not work for others. You shouldn’t measure your results against someone else’s successes or failures. You can only do what is best for you.

Don’t give up!
It is very difficult to turn exercising into a habit. And it’s very easy to become discouraged with your workout routine. The key is to stick with it. If you fall out of your exercise routine, make yourself get back in it. Get encouragement from a friend. Bribe yourself with a reward if you meet certain goals. The important thing is to just stick with it!