If you’ve struggled to embed an exercise routine you’re not alone. Every spring thousands of well-meaning rookies join gyms and fitness facilities, but the sad fact is that less than one month later almost half of them will be back to square one, defeated, discouraged and no closer to a healthier life.
Too many people make the mistake of leaping into exercise when small steps are needed for consistency. Fitness habits are like any other, gradually make it a routine part of your life until you cannot live without it.
Here are six key approaches to help you get hooked on exercise and screaming for more.
- Phone a friend
Working out on your own can be a real struggle. Sometimes we just need someone to meet us, to encourage us, so we do not leave before we even begin! Our research at Penn State shows that having a social connection is a key factor when it came to perseverance and exercise satisfaction.
- Go with what you know
Standing around, unsure of what you’re doing might make you feel like a novice. Studies show you’re more likely to continue if you feel confident doing your chosen activity. And if you are bravely trying something new, ask for help!
- Take it easy
Take it easy, at least at the start. Many people drop off after the first few workouts because they experience the pain and exhaustion of going too hard, too soon. A quality instructor or trainer will give you options so that you can adjust the exercises to your fitness level. Make sure you take them!
- A little goes a long way
When you are getting started, shorter time and more days per week is optimal. Have you heard of anyone jumping on the treadmill for 55 minutes when they’re starting out? Not a good idea. So don’t feel you have to stay for an entire group fitness class or yoga session.
- Regular rocks
Finding the right time to exercise can be critical to your success in establishing a habit. If you’re not an early morning person don’t set yourself up for failure by scheduling sessions hours before you typically wake up. Choosing a time that you can regularly attend the gym makes it easier to turn up consistently.
- Celebrate every success
It’s not going to happen overnight, but it will happen. Focus on the positive results that you’ll experience right away: you’ll feel less stressed and more energized. Once you’ve successfully established your healthy habit, your summer fit body will not be far away.
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