5 Ways to Make Exercise a Habit

Consistent exercise is a lot like regular investment savings – it builds up benefits over time. The health benefits range from lowering blood pressure and cholesterol to reducing cancer risk and improving sleep. But the best immediate benefit might be that it makes you feel good.

All these great things come from exercising regularly. So, the trick is making it a habit rather than a once-in-a-while occurrence. Try these tips to make exercise part of your routine:

  • Set a goal. Make it something you are very confident you can do, like taking a 20 minute walk everyday. Taking on more than you know you can achieve is setting yourself up for failure.
  • Write your goal in a journal and keep track of your weekly progress. Make notes about your successes as well as challenges standing in your way. Your notes will help you strategize to overcome specific challenges and reinforce your successes.
  • Ask for help. The people in your life can be a tremendous source of support. You may find a friend, spouse, sibling, co-worker or neighbor who is happy to join you in making exercise a habit.
  • Believe you can succeed, be patient with yourself and stay focused on the rewards that come with your new habit. For most people, it will probably take between 2 and 8 months to establish a new habit. Allow yourself time and don’t forget that you are doing something really good for yourself that nobody else can do for you.
  • When you do hit an obstacle (and you almost certainly will), don’t beat yourself up. Treat yourself like you would treat someone you care about. Stay positive and get back on track as soon as possible.

Making exercise a habit is not easy and it won’t happen overnight, but it will lead to many good things. Trust the process you set out for yourself, stay positive and it’s just a matter of time before you start reaping the rewards of your exercise habit!


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Michael Bento is an Advanced Trainer at the Clubs at Charles River Park. He holds a Masters degree in Human Movement and is certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine as a Corrective Exercise Specialist and Performance Enhancement Specialist.

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