Have you ever found yourself eager to get into shape, but just can’t seem to actually do any of the exercises? What you need to do is learn how to get a fitness habit in place.
If you don’t know where to start, we’ve come up with some tips on how you can easily develop this fitness habit so you can properly begin your journey toward a healthier, active lifestyle.
Importance of Developing an Exercise Habit
When you think about habit formation, you think about developing behavior that is automatic. Consistency exists throughout our lives as we form little habits without realizing it. Concerning our fitness, we must make a conscious step to creating a habit rather than subconsciously.
There’s no doubt that this is a difficult task, especially for beginners. Not everyone can simply get up and “just do it” when it comes to exercising consistently. Several things get in the way such as our individual health concerns or simply not finding the time or space to workout.
Even those of us who can get up and start hitting the gym or going for a run can find it difficult to stick to it over time.
That’s why it’s so important to develop this habit. The more you stick to it, the easier it will become. This habit will then begin to feel like anything else you do in your life from brushing your teeth or eating dinner at dinnertime.
Also, a fitness habit is a great way to make the exercises themselves easier to perform. That isn’t to say you can’t still challenge yourself, but you may not feel so fatigued or run-down after working out. It may also improve your recovery afterward too so you’re more capable and willing to get up and exercise the following days.
Simple Steps to Take to Create a Well-Rounded Fitness Habit
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when developing any new habit, in particular one that deals with physical activity. So, we came up with some helpful steps you can consider taking that may make the process go smoother. These aren’t listed in any precise order as they’re meant as a foundation of sorts you can work on.
1. Focus on activities you like.
A big hurdle that faces so many of us when it comes to exercising is not actually enjoying what we’re doing.
If you don’t like something, or it feels like punishment, do you think you’ll be able to do it time and time again? That’s why a good step to take to build an exercise habit is to focus on activities you like.
Do you enjoy being outside? If weather permits, then consider going on frequent walks, runs, or bike rides. Maybe head to a local park to get a change of scenery, or stick to your neighborhood if familiarity works best for you.
For those of you more social-based, consider bringing a friend along or joining a class at a local gym so you can get fit with others with similar goals at your side.
It also helps to broaden yourself to more than one activity you enjoy. This way, in case something happens (e.g. snowy weather conditions getting in the way of outdoor exercise), you always have another thing to do.
2. Slip exercising into your daily routine.
Since a habit is natural and innate, it makes sense then to slip some physical activity alongside the daily routine you already have.
An easy way many people do this is by exercising while watching TV. This is simply done with exercise machines like a sole f80 treadmill, elliptical, exercise bike, etc.
Since you already know you’ll be in one place for an extended amount of time, you can casually slip in some fitness routines while you’re at it. You don’t even need an exercise machine to do this, however. There are other moves you can perform in front of the TV that can include weights, resistance bands, and more.
3. Set reasonable goals.
Setting goals is a common thing many of us do, but not all of us understand how much more beneficial it is to have realistic goals.
You don’t need vague ones like “lose weight”. At the same time, you don’t need outrageous ones like “lose 50lbs in a week”.
Focus on specific, short-term, and obtainable goals instead. This way, you have a better chance of meeting them rather than feeling discouraged from not reaching those unobtainable goals.
A better approach to the typical “lose weight” can be “lose 20lbs in three months”. Or it can even be “lose enough weight to fit into my old jeans”.
They’re far more realistic and give you time to build up your habit to meet the goals.
4. Map out a plan.
For those of you who like to plan, this step can make the habit process far easier. Even if you aren’t typically into planning, it can help in the long run toward your fitness goals.
Whether you need a visual aid like a planner or you can keep it in your mind is up to you. The purpose here is to narrow down specific times when you’re going to exercise.
If you’re working during the week, for example, set aside time on the weekends to get more active. Maybe you want an energy boost for the day, so you decide to move your activities to early mornings.
As long as you have some sort of plan, you can focus on checking that off for the day.
5. Create accountability for yourself.
It can be tough to get into shape without having accountability for yourself. Now, we’re not telling you to go on and punish yourself if you miss a workout. Instead, look at it as a way to keep yourself on track.
This can be by working out with a consistent partner that will let you know if you’re trying to find excuses not to do it and help steer you back on the path.
Another good way to have accountability is through a fitness tracker as it constantly keeps you up-to-date on your progress and whether you’ve reached certain milestones.
Developing a fitness habit doesn’t come naturally for all of us, but there are some basic steps we can take to make that process simpler.
There are times where it can feel tough, so it’s important to give yourself a break and room to slip up sometimes. Remember: a habit isn’t formed overnight. Try to stick to it, and you’ll reap the benefits in the future.
- Dan Barcelon
Dan Barcelon is the editor-in-chief of the Non-Athlete Fitness blog. Dan’s blog is dedicated to the un-athletically inclined who want simple and easy fitness, nutrition, and health tips. He started the website as a resource for those on a weight loss journey and to build a community of people who prioritize their health.