How to Make Exercise a Habit: Tips and Strategies for Getting Active

We’ve all been there before – you wake up with heavy eyelids to the annoying sound of the alarm. It’s pitch black, your body feels heavy, and you say, “just 5 more minutes”. It’s not just 5 minutes.

Granted, early morning workouts are tougher to be consistent about, but we can also find ourselves guilty of skipping exercise throughout the rest of the day and free slots in our schedule. And when we do workout, it ends up being a one-off session.

Making exercise a habit is not always easy, but once you get in the groove, you’ll find that your mental health will be thanking you for not having to simply think about your next workout with dread. Right now, let’s go over some tips and strategies for effective exercise habit formation:

Start Small and Set Realistic Goals

One of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to establish an exercise habit is trying to do too much too soon. This can lead to burnout, injury, and ultimately giving up on exercise altogether. Instead, start small and gradually increase your activity level. For example, start with a 10-minute walk each day, and gradually increase the duration or intensity of your exercise over time.

But you’ll have to listen to your body to know what to do, because “small” will look different for everyone.

It’s also important to set realistic goals. Don’t set yourself up for failure by aiming for an unrealistic goal like running a marathon in a month. Instead, set smaller goals that you can achieve, such as working out three times a week for 30 minutes each time. As you achieve these smaller goals, you will build sustainable confidence and motivation to continue.

Make Exercise an Enjoyable Part of Your Routine

In order to make exercise a habit, it needs to become a part of your daily routine. This means finding a time that works for you and sticking to it. For some people, this may mean working out in the morning before work, while for others it may mean going for a walk during their lunch break or hitting the gym after work. We know you can be busy, but there’s always a way to stay active, even when you’re busy.

It’s also helpful to find an exercise that you enjoy. If you hate running, don’t force yourself to run every day. Try different types of exercise until you find something that you genuinely enjoy, whether it’s yoga, swimming, dancing, or hiking. When you enjoy your exercise routine, it’s much easier to make it a habit.

Hold Yourself Accountable

Accountability is key to making exercise a habit. One way to hold yourself accountable is to track your progress. Keep a journal or use a fitness tracking app to record your workouts, and celebrate your successes along the way. This can help you stay motivated and on track.

Another way to hold yourself accountable is to find an exercise buddy. When you have someone else relying on you to show up for a workout, it’s much harder to skip it. Plus, working out with a friend can make exercise more fun and enjoyable.

Remove Barriers to Exercise

Sometimes, the biggest barrier to exercise is simply getting started. To overcome this, try to remove any barriers that may be preventing you from exercising. For example, if you hate driving to the gym, try finding a workout that you can do at home with minimal equipment. If you struggle to find time to exercise, try breaking it up into smaller chunks throughout the day, such as taking a 10-minute walk after each meal.

It’s also important to address any physical barriers that may be preventing you from exercising. If you have a chronic health condition or injury, talk to your doctor or a physical therapist about exercises that are safe and appropriate for you.

Make Exercise a Priority

Finally, in order to make exercise a habit, it needs to be a priority in your life. This may mean saying no to other activities or obligations that conflict with your exercise routine. It may also mean finding ways to fit exercise into your busy schedule, such as waking up earlier or using your lunch break to go for a walk.

Remember that exercise is not just about physical health, but also mental health. It’s a way to reduce stress, boost mood, and improve overall well-being. By making exercise a priority in your life, you are investing in your health and happiness.

Unfortunately, some of us can lean towards being reactive, instead of proactive, meaning it’s hard to do what we need to do until we’ve hit rock bottom.

Over the long run, these small everyday choices will either be an investment or detriment to your future health. It’s up to us.

Investing in Healthy Habits With Genetics

Not sure where to get started? Your genetics may provide an optimal jumping off point to craft sustainable exercise and diet habits, just for you.
When you take a CircleDNA test, you’ll unravel your genetic makeup to provide you with hundreds of insights into areas such as injury risk, optimal nutrition, and more. This can help you tailor your fitness routine to your individual needs and empower each daily decision you make. With CircleDNA, you can take the guesswork out of exercise and start making the most of your workouts.

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