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5 tips on how to make exercise a habit

Health

Let’s make a running start towards your 2022 fitness new year's resolutions!

The most effective way to propel yourself towards a more active lifestyle is to make your changes into habits, whether that’s going to the gym, a run, or exercise class.

It can be as simple as putting one foot in front of the other but often these first steps are the hardest and we can over think the process.

For some, they might start out with mountains of motivation to achieve their goals, however this begins to peter out as time goes on. For others, they may struggle to find the motivation to begin with.

Below are 5 essential tips to fuel your inspiration and keep you on track!

1. Commit to thirty days

Three to four weeks is all the time you need to make a habit stick.

If you can make it through the initial conditioning phase, it becomes much easier to sustain.

A month is a good block of time to commit to a change since it easily fits in your calendar.

One way you can do this is to keep an exercise journal.

Plan your workouts for the month and write them down, this means you can go into each workout already clear on exactly what you need to do, eliminating any uncertainty and keeping you on track to solidifying your habit.

2. Make it daily

Consistency is critical if you want to make a habit stick.

If you want to start exercising, commit to doing something every day for the first 30 days, even on days you really don’t want to.

On low energy days you could adjust your work out to something more manageable, encouraging you to keep going instead of completely writing that day off.

Activities you do once every few days are trickier to lock in as habits.

3. Remind yourself

Around two weeks into your commitment it can be easy to forget or miss a couple of days.

Place daily reminders or meetings in your diary to execute your habit each day.

If you miss time it defeats the purpose of setting the goal of creating a new healthy habit to begin with.

Keep your exercise journal in a prominent location that can serve as a reminder. If working out at the gym and your exercise journal is in your gym bag, keep your trainers somewhere you can see.

4. Stay consistent

The more consistent your habit is, the easier it will be to make it stick.

If you want to start exercising, try going at the same time, to the same place for your thirty days.

When cues like time of day, place and circumstances are the same in each case it makes it easier to build a habit.

5. Be imperfect

Don’t expect all your attempts to change habits to be successful immediately.

Change isn’t linear and it is very difficult to unlearn old habits that may have been around for months, or even years. It can take numerous independent tries before these new habits are cemented in place.

Try your best, but expect a few bumps along the way.

With this in mind, you’re more likely to pick yourself back up and carry on when you hit a hurdle.

Prioritise your physical health and experience improved energy, sleep and a reduction in stress, anxiety and low mood.

How Companion can help

For more inspiring tips and strategies to achieve your fitness goals, check out our new guide, 'Making exercise a habit', written by Companion fitness advisor, Adam Harris.

Adam is a personal trainer who brings all of his knowledge and experience from working with athletes, sports brands and private clients for over a decade, to help people live a healthier, more active lifestyle. For more information about Adam, click here.

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