Fitness Beginnings: Make Exercise a Habit
We all know we should exercise every day for better health. But fitting it in can be tricky with the competing demands of home, family, and career. If you have fallen off the exercise wagon before, then you know how easy it is to skip another day once you miss the first one.
That’s why it is so important for us to make exercise a daily habit. Research suggests it takes 21 days of doing an activity before it becomes a habit. If the habit is a new or a harder one (like exercise), however, it can take the average person up to 66 days to form a strong habit.
Here are some tips to work exercise into your daily routine.
- Set daily workout reminders on your phone or keep a daily activity log.
- Exercise around the same time each day. Try to exercise first thing in the morning or right after work. It is really hard to stay motivated if you go home before hitting the gym.
- Make your gym clothes visible. Lay your gym clothes out the night before. You may even want to sleep in them if you plan to work out first thing in the morning. If you prefer evening workouts, put them by the door or in your car the night before so you don’t forget them before going to work.
- Choose goals that are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely), and track your progress.
- Post your goals. Decide what your fitness goals are, and post them in a place where you’ll see them to keep you focused. Reward yourself when you achieve your goal.
- Pick some activities you enjoy and switch up your routine to make it interesting. Being active does not always mean going to the gym. You can always walk or run outside or play a sport.
- Exercise around others. Work out with a friend, sign up for a class or meet with a trainer to help you stick to your goal.
From walking the dog to riding your bike, mowing the lawn to practicing yoga, there are lots of ways to incorporate exercise into your day. Visit the CDC for more exercise tips.
Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expressions, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, or physical or mental disability.
Written by Natalie Jones, University of Kentucky Physical Activity Program Coordinator, and Lauren Fernandez, Oldham County Extension Staff Assistant.