7 Habits To A Consistant Exercise Routine
How many of us are guilty of promising to begin a new exercise regime, only to lose interest or become discouraged?
Sticking to a regular exercise routine is a struggle, especially for those who are trying to fit the time into their very busy lives. Getting fit, staying active, and moving more than sitting are proven ways to stoke your metabolism and keep your brain nimble, so it definitely pays to form healthy new habits that prioritize physical health.
Listen to your body
I was in the “can’t be bothered” category for what I believed to be good reasons. I hated the way the fitness world made me feel--I never felt like I was doing enough or doing it right, and decided there was no point in trying. When I finally did give myself a pep talk and began to form fitness habits I felt guilty if I wasn't consistent with them. An unhealthy cycle of on-again, off-again exercising resulted, which got me nowhere fast. Over the years I finally figured out a way to stay healthy and guilt-free while being active. Here are my tips to help you hop on the fitness bandwagon:
1. Start small
Big dreams and ambitious goals are wonderful to aim for, but they can quickly feel too overwhelming. In haste to achieve those goals we take on too much too fast, get injured, burned out, and convinced the whole physical fitness thing is not for us. The solution to this set-up for failure is to start with small steps. Even if you have a history of working out but it's been awhile since you’ve done it regularly, taking the slow route is way more beneficial than jumping in where you last left off. Real change happens over time and habits take a while to become habits. Begin with ten to fifteen minutes a day of yoga, body weight exercises, cardio, anything at all as long as it feels like it is something that can be accomplished on whatever schedule you determine is best for you.
2. Be consistent
Consistency sounds like a huge time commitment, but it's really about letting go of any guilt you may feel for not setting aside an insane amount of time to exercise. At this point you want to get yourself to the mat (or weights or machines or kickboxing class) on a steady and regular basis. This could be as little as two days a week for twenty minutes at a time. Just keep showing up those two times and spend those twenty minutes performing some kind of exercise. You’ll soon feel comfortable doing the exercises, and may soon find that if you don’t exercise you don’t feel right. That’s how good habits become embedded.
3. Stop comparing
This one is crucial for kicking bad self-talk that will deter you from going through with a workout commitment. Don't look up fitness and health workouts unless it’s to learn proper form and positions for the exercises. The constant comparison and “push” yourself mentality won't be helpful when you are a beginner. Unhealthy comparisons can actually make sticking to a plan harder since every person's body is so different. Unless you are prepared to commit that major span of time to pumping iron or training for a marathon, you don’t have to be concerned if you don’t look like a bodybuilder right away. Those bodybuilders didn’t get where they are overnight, and the improvements you’ll see in yourself are your reward.
4. Track your progress
This is the fun part of exercise. Now that you started on your fitness journey it's important to stay motivated by tracking your progress.The methods of keeping track are varied, as basic as a notebook for writing down the number of reps, or wearing a fitness tracker, or downloading an app that does it for you. Seeing how many steps you've taken that day or how your heart rate has improved encourages you to do stay the course and do more. Observing your progress will keep you feeling inspired to continue improving your workout.
Here is a tip! Always opt for the stairs instead of the elevator during your work day.
Set some goals
5. Use an exercise app
What I like about apps is their ease of use. They show you how to do the exercises properly, then leave the rest up to you. Unlike exercise videos that require you to follow at their pace, an app allows customization of your workout. Feeling gung-ho? Do a HIIT workout. Feeling kind of blah? A meditative yoga routine can de-blah your ‘tude. Apps are also great because of their versatility--whatever your physical limitations, an app will guide you in achieving proper form and avoiding injury.
6. Make the time
This may be the most difficult aspect to keep up with, but it can be done! Finding a block of time to dedicate to fitness when your day already feels like it’s jam-packed is not an easy endeavor. Which one of your regularly scheduled obligations will get eliminated in order to make room for yet another obligation? A good look at your typical daily activities will reveal at least a few minutes somewhere; don't limit yourself. If all you have is 20 minutes a day and you don't have a gym to go to that's fine. The point is to start somewhere and take advantage of the time you can give to working out. Suggesting a walk during lunch with co-workers, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, working at a standing desk, are valid active pursuits. Start slow and don't feel guilty about it.
7. Change your goals
If your goal is to lose weight really fast, exercise might not be the most effective means to that end. If you want an actual lifestyle change, these habits might help. Recent studies have shown one of the keys to longevity is staying active but not necessarily going to the gym. That's really important because our goals should focus on health and not on feeling “less than”. Having the right mindset will help you make the changes you want to see in yourself. These changes may take some time to become obvious, while establishing healthy new habits, and ultimately these habits will stick and that's what really counts. Having healthy habits that improve your mental and physical well being should be the goal.
It’s totally doable to burn some calories in your seat if you are not lucky enough to sneak away for a lunch break. You just need a little creativity to make it worthwhile!
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Working out and staying healthy takes effort but progress can only be made when your mind is in the right space. Use these tricks to positively reinforce your new fitness habits, rather than letting perfectionism get in the way and ruin all your hard work. You’ll bounce back into it easily if you have to take a break. Having a good association with being active will get you motivated to do more.