Do you want to incorporate exercise into your daily life, but you aren’t exactly sure how or where to start? Is your busy work schedule or bustling social life preventing you from eating a healthy diet and working out as consistently as you’d like to? There are plenty of reasons that can come up for not exercising regularly (ex. the weather, crowded pools or gyms, burnout from other responsibilities), but this definitely does not need to be the case. Here are some ways in which you can make exercise a daily habit – they are very much worth it and you will feel happier and healthier!

Credit: Karen Obrist

One way that you can make exercise a daily habit is starting small. When the word “exercise” is mentioned, people often think of heading to the gym and participating in sessions that last between 30 minutes and an hour around three to four days per week. However, even a little bit can make a difference. Heck, you’ll still experience some benefit by starting to incorporate just five or ten minutes a day, and building up as is appropriate for YOU. 

For example, the small workout can be a quick abdominal or core workout during the commercial break of your favorite TV show, squats or lunges while doing various chores around the house, or taking a walk through your neighborhood. Starting with small workouts can definitely help you make exercise a habit because you may find it easier to motivate yourself to do something continuously for five minutes rather than an hour. Additionally, smaller workouts can help your body become more accustomed to moving, which can motivate you to exercise for longer amounts of time gradually. And don’t forget, smaller bursts of exercise spread through the day can add up if you’re working towards a goal of 30 minutes most days of the week. 

Another way that you can make exercise a daily habit is setting smaller goals. One major reason why people do not reach their fitness goals could be because they set goals that are unattainable. If you have a device such as a FitBit, Apple Watch, or a similar wearable, the default step goal on said device may be too high. For instance, if the default goal on your device is 10,000 steps per day and you’re barely cracking 4,000, lower it to a goal that is more attainable for you right now, one that you can feel more confident and motivated to work towards. Once you have consistently reached the lower goal, you can increase it gradually to whatever your long-term goal is.

Another way that you can make exercise a habit is exploring a variety of different types of workouts. What works for one person may not work for another and what works for someone at one point in their lifetime may not work later. There is something for everyone. For example, if you scroll through Instagram and see that someone has tried a combination of a ketogenic diet and an hour of cardio daily and lost a significant amount of weight, know that they are one person having one unique experience (or a curated version of their experience they’re showing on social media) and that is not necessarily reflective of what you should be doing.

When you are seeking health information on the Internet or social media, look for the author or content creator’s credentials, such as their profession (doctor, registered dietitian, certified personal trainer, etc.),and for peer-reviewed research that backs up the claims the content creator is making. In other words, if the content creator does not have any credentials listed in their post, know that you may be better served checking out a resource that does have that training and research behind it.

 

This blog post was written with help from intern, Katerina LoPresti.

 

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