THREE SIMPLE SECRETS FOR FORMING A FITNESS HABIT
By Sarah Shortt
So you’ve made your fitness resolutions and scheduled in your gym sessions … but now life is getting in the way. Here’s the proven formula for beating those exercise procrastination blues.
When it comes to exercise there are two extremes: those who know they should be exercising but don’t really want to – and those who make exercise an integral part of everyday life. The majority of us sit somewhere in the middle.
For most of us, the biggest secret to getting in shape and staying fit for life is getting the right fitness motivation. We need to start exercising not because we have to, but because we want to.
Cementing the fitness habit is about creating the shift from exercising because you have to – to exercising because you want to.
Research has shown that, when it comes to establishing the fitness habit for the long haul, there are three key factors that will influence your motivation and transform you into one of those people who just can’t wait to exercise.
#1 TAKE CONTROL
Take steps to actively manage both the duration and intensity of your training. Frequency before intensity is paramount. When you take up exercise there’s a temptation to go hell for leather from the start. In fact, you are much more likely to stick with it if you stay within your capabilities and don’t let anyone push you too hard. Just getting into the habit is the most important thing.
#2 CHOOSE THINGS YOU CAN DO AND THAT MAKE YOU FEEL GOOD
Competence relates to how confident you feel in your ability to complete the exercise – and this is a key factor in helping you achieve your exercise goals. If you feel something is outside your physical capabilities – or just isn’t you – you are likely to feel demoralized and give up at the first hurdle. It’s important to keep your confidence high when you start exercising, and you can do this by celebrating the immediate wins. Focus on the gains that occur as soon as you become active: increased energy levels, feeling less stressed, improved quality of sleep, and that endorphin buzz you experience immediately after a workout.
#3 KEEP IT SOCIAL
Exercising with other people can make everything so much easier – whether it’s with a personal trainer, your friend, or attending a group fitness class. Firstly, there’s the commitment to someone else – you’re far more likely to ditch your workout when it’s only yourself you’re letting down. Then there are the positive social aspects. In group fitness classes we see the “group effect” – that sense of cohesion that occurs when everyone is moving at the same time. When you feel connected to others during your workout, it will positively boost your results and it makes it so much easier to build up the exercise habit.
So there you have it. Take these three exercise and motivation tips and apply them to your fitness journey, and we promise that in no time at all, you will be exercising, not because you know you should, but because you can’t imagine life without it.
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This piece originally appeared at lesmills.com.