How Do People Keep Up Their Exercise Routine
By Michelle Hoeing Bauche, MS RDN LD CSOWN
For some individuals, exercising regularly has become more of a habit than a chore. Those individuals can make exercise seem easy and effortless. But how does anyone actually get to that point? Sometimes, the effort just to get started can feel daunting and overwhelming.
The most successful individuals often prioritize their exercise and make the time to do it. Putting something on the calendar makes it much more likely to happen instead of just telling yourself that you’ll get around to it eventually. These days, everyone is busy, but we all only have 24 hours in a day. Therefore, it often comes down to how an individual chooses to spend their time that contributes to the most success.
Research also shows that individuals that get it done first thing in the morning are more likely to keep the habit. As the day goes on, more and more activities and tasks can be presented, and with that, more excuses not to exercise. However, when it’s the first thing you do in your day, you may be more likely to get it done and out of the way.
Some individuals also find that pairing their exercise with another activity they want to do makes it easier to exercise. For example, some people like to listen to a podcast while they walk the dog. Some people may set up their exercise bike or other exercise equipment in front of the TV so that they can exercise while also watching their favorite show in the evening. Research shows it’s easier to stick to a new habit when you pair it with a previously established habit.
Another way to keep up an exercise routine could also be to reward yourself with some kind of treat after you complete it or after you reach a certain goal. Keep in mind, food treats may not be the best approach here and may derail the progress you are making. While burning an extra 300 calories in the gym may make you feel that you “earned” that muffin, keep in mind that it’s not possible to out-exercise a poor diet. Instead, try to choose non-food treats such as a new pair of exercise clothes or shoes, a massage, or a pedicure to maintain that motivation.
Some people also find that having an accountability partner makes them more successful. If they know someone is waiting for them at the gym, they may be more inclined to follow through as to not let their friends or partner down. Additionally, some people might find that pre-paying for an exercise class or a gym membership also holds them accountable so that they don’t feel they are wasting their money.
Ultimately what feels valuable or motivational to one person may not seem helpful to the next. So instead, ask yourself what you want to achieve and why you want to achieve it. In doing so, you may find the key to keeping up your own exercise routine.