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Your Member’s Health: Making Exercise a Habit

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(Editors Note: The new articles that will come up in the Health and Fitness News section of Club Solutions Magazine Online, “Your Members Health,” will give you the opportunity to take an article and photo we’ve provided you and send it out to your members in your e-mail blasts or on your website at no charge. Just a little something extra to make your job a lot easier.)

We’re sure you can come up with no less than a dozen things you could (or prefer to) be doing rather than exercising. It can be difficult to make exercise a habit and stick with it.

Here are 10 ways to make exercise a habit:

  1. Do a variety of activities. Change your perception of what is exercise. Any physical activity will be good for you. So try a variety including weight lifting, running, tennis, cycling, aerobics or your favorite sport. This way there will be something you can do regardless of weather, time of day or whatever other excuse you may come up with.
  2. Accountability. Commit to another person. It’s very easy to let yourself off the hook; it’s harder to come up with an excuse your friend will buy as to why you can’t walk with them as planned.
  3. Make exercise non-negotiable. It will help you keep your priorities straight. Also, friends and family will learn that it’s important to you and they won’t ask you to abandon your workout for a day.
  4. Try to make it part of your morning routine. Working out in the morning will energize you for the rest of the day. There’s also no chance of the days excuses to pile up as to why you can’t workout. And just think, after work you can just go home and relax!
  5. But if you must, workout immediately after work. Going home can be the kiss of death. Are you really going to want to go back out? Don’t give yourself the opportunity to come up with excuses.
  6. Exercise even when you’re “too tired.” Chances are, you’ll feel better after exercising.
  7. Log your activity. Write down the things that are important to you. It could be how much time you exercise each day, how many steps you walked, how far you ran or cycled, what you weighed, etc.
  8. Be aware of all the indicators of progress. It’s an awesome feeling when your clothes fit better or when you take the stairs and aren’t winded, but don’t forget these other progress indicators as well: sleeping better, having more energy, your resting heart rate dropping over time, improving cholesterol, blood pressure, etc.
  9. Walk. Be it with a pedometer or your dog. Walking is good for you and you should try to work up to 10,000 steps a day.
  10. Reward yourself! You definitely deserve to reward yourself for sticking with it.  Positive reinforcement is helpful in changing a behavior. Set a goal and choose a reward and then set to work on achieving it.  You might buy yourself a DVD you’ve wanted after you stick to your fitness plan for one month, or buy new walking shoes when you achieve 5,000 steps a day. Whatever will motivate you!
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