Image by Andrzej Rembowski from Pixabay
Kent Probst, BS, MEd
Kent Probst is the owner of Long Healthy Life Blog
How to Make Exercise an Unbreakable Habit: Why it’s Important
With the wide ranging benefits of exercise and a large segment of the population being sedentary, it’s not surprising that many people would like to know how to make exercise an unbreakable habit.
One study found that 50% of people who start aerobic exercise drop out in 6 months.
Scientific researchers have identified many factors that affect exercise adherence, asking the question: How to make exercise an unbreakable habit?
Based on factors researchers have found that affect exercise adherence, here are ten strategies you can use to make it more likely you’ll stick to your workout.
How to Make Exercise an Unbreakable Habit: 10 Strategies
1. Tailor Your Exercise to Your Needs
Getting involved in exercise programs just because they’re popular may not serve your needs. A workout that doesn’t address your needs will waste your time and make it harder to reach your goals, increasing the likelihood that you’ll stop exercising. The frequency, intensity, time, and type of exercise should be appropriate for your fitness level and goals.
2. Change Your Workout Regularly
Doing the same workout for a long time contributes to boredom due to lack of variety. When you lose interest in exercise, you’re more likely to drop out. It’s a good idea to change your workout once a month, or when you start getting bored.
3. Consult an Exercise Professional
When you have a fitness professional in your corner, supporting your efforts, answering your questions, and holding you accountable, your exercise adherence will be greater. A personal trainer can design a workout and then check up on you periodically. You can keep consulting fees down by doing most of your workouts on your own.
4. Take Advantage of Technology
Some people may benefit from the use of technology to monitor progress, provide feedback, customize a workout, and connect with peers and professionals. Taking advantage of technology as a way to make exercise an unbreakable habit is a good idea, especially if it works for you.
5. Get a Fitness Assessment
A fitness assessment can identify health barriers to exercise and give you a detailed baseline picture of where your strengths and weaknesses are. A fitness assessment can also help you manage your expectations.
6. Find a Workout that You Enjoy
This one seems obvious, but some people seem to think the most effective exercise is painful and difficult. It doesn’t have to be this way. An unpleasant experience can cause you to drop out rather quickly. So make exercise fun!
7. Make it Convenient
An exercise program that’s easily integrated into your daily life will make it more likely that you’ll keep following it. When starting an exercise program, consider costs, physical barriers, distance from your home, and your schedule.
8. Join a Fitness Support Group
Having a group of people to lean on when you’re struggling to lose weight and maintain it will greatly increase your odds of success. Emotional support may be just as integral as diet and exercise when you’re trying to make exercise an unbreakable habit.
9. Record Your Progress
It seems easier just to go in and do your workout than to worry about keeping a record of what you’re doing. But if you want to maximize progress, it’s important to keep an electronic or written record of your exercise program. Being able to go back and look at your workouts a month or two ago will tell you what’s working and what’s not.
10. Set Reasonable Goals
You’ll be more motivated and less frustrated if you set small goals which are easily attainable. Your goals should also be measurable, timed, and specific. After a certain period of time, re-evaluate your goals. Plan your exercise on your calendar. You’re more likely to hold yourself accountable, and it will provide a structured plan.
Sticking to the Plan
Life events and lack of social support often cause people to relapse to their bad habits. John Lennon said, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”
Life events such as divorce, loss of a job and a death in the family can cause you to relapse.
Realizing that there will be road bumps along the way will make it easier to stick to your plan. If you know what obstacles trigger a relapse, you’ll be more mindful about avoiding or dealing with them.
Make sure you have the right tools and resources. Having a social support network to help you through the tough times will go a long way.
Making exercise an unbreakable habit is within your grasp.
Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you purchase through these links. Please note that I’ve linked to these products purely because I recommend them and they are from companies I trust. There is no additional cost to you.