Regular exercise is a habit known to promote optimal health. Perhaps you hate it or perhaps love it. But, it is the most valuable habit you can have in your life. If you already you exercise consistently, you definitely know what I mean. But if you have not yet managed to be very active in your daily routine, in this article I have for you 5 sure-fire steps to start the exercise habit and turn it into a true permanent habit.
Also, discover why exercise can be a recipe for more than keep the doctor away. Decide to do something good for yourself and read on.
Usually, people who exercise, they begin to eat better and be more productive. They smoke less and show more patience with colleagues and family. They use their credit cards less frequently and say they feel less stressed. Exercise is a key habit that triggers a widespread change.
– Charles Duhlig
Let’s face it: it’s not so difficult to start an exercise routine. After all, most have tried it more than once. The problem, of course, comes with doing it consistently, ie make it a habit.
Very often, your initial enthusiasm evaporates and your energy decreases gradually; you are distracted by other things going on in your life, or maybe you do not get to see results fast enough and suddenly bam! you throw the towel.
I will not lie, exercise may be uncomfortable at first. And that is the main reason why is so difficult to start. Even if you already have established your routine exercise, you may feel some days that resistance towards the exercise.
The good news is that all your effort is well rewarded. Exercise affects many areas of your life (without realizing it). You just have to focus on building the habit of exercising and profits fall from the sky. Think about this: Four workouts of 1 hour each per week represent only 2.4% of all our time. That perspective is very little investment in exchange for so many benefits.
Furthermore, the great advantage is that it does not necessarily you have to do an hour workouts. WHO (World Health Organization) recommends at least 30 minutes of daily physical activity.
And to start having the habit of exercise you can start with much less this time. If you look good and be healthy, do not quite convince you . Then I have many others benefits to show you when you exercise.
Exercise strengthens your muscles and your mind
In addition to building a strong body and look good. The benefits of exercising will reach every corner of your life. Even where you least imagine.
Let me explain how this fact was discovered.
In the mid-2000s, two Australian researchers conducted a series of experiments to see if willpower can be strengthened over time (something like a muscle).
In his first study, published in 2006, participants followed an exercise program 3 times a week. This program lasted 2 months
As expected, after only two months participants strengthened their muscles and cardiovascular system. Most of them managed to reach their ideal weight and increase muscle mass.
But what happened to their mental strength?
To test their willpower, all participants in addition to their exercise routine, had to decipher a mental game. But before they started the game, they were asked to reply to certain questions depleting your mental energy.
People usually make a good score in this mind game, but when done immediately after exhausting mental energy, it is normal to make more mistakes and give up faster.
Surprisingly after a while exercising, participants improved their performance in this test (even with empty mental energy). It seemed that improved their record because they tried again and again to decipher the game and they surrendered less.
This led researchers to conclude that exercise can increase your willpower.
This mean, that the more you exercise, you strengthen your muscles but also train your willpower (making it tougher each time).
But that is not all. Because then things got really interesting.
Participants experienced a great change in their life. To prove it, they were asked to inform researchers about some aspects of their daily routine as alcohol, snuff, junk food, hours of television, personal finances, emotions, relationships, etc.
Something incredible happened:
In all these categories, there was a healthy improvement.
The people went from smoking 14 cigarettes a day to about 3, increased consumption of fruits and vegetables and improved sleep pattern. Household chores, personal finances and the ability to make decisions also improved, and so on …
The habit of starting to exercise, the impulse to have large unexpected improvements in other areas of your life. While the group that did not start with exercise, had no improvement at all.
Like throwing a stone in a lake, the act of establishing a habit triggered a domino effect that improved their daily routine.
How do I start exercising?
Surely you also want to improve every part of your daily life. You know that exercise is the key habit to start this positive chain in your life.
I have the easiest solution for you. Here are 5 steps and tips to start exercising and establish it as a habit:
1 – Start exercising with a short Achievable Goal And you can do Every Day
When you are about to start the habit of exercise, the first thing to consider is to start with what you can and be honest with yourself.
Probably doing exercise at some point in your life and for some reason (work, family, duties, etc.) let pass it and now it’s time to pick up, so this step applies to you.
It is useless to stop and let it start again a week later. Even if you can only exercise at home, you have to ask yourself a goal.
Write that goal in the present tense and as specific as you can with what you’re doing.
“In the afternoon I do strength training for 10 minutes”
Keep that sheet, because it will serve as a reminder. Which brings us to the next step.
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2 – Identifies an Activity (already a habit) as Reminder to Make your Exercise Routine
HENSE: It is important not to skip this step.
You are probably thinking that a reminder will not be necessary, never forget you could make that short goal you set out. But you are wrong.
A reminder function is not simply to “not forget”, it is also a strong motivator. It generates a certain psychological pressure, and is key to form the habit.
Your reminder may be one or many. For example: the paper you just wrote in the previous point, an alarm on the phone, a note on your calendar, your sneakers in the front door, etc.
Let me explain better, it is easier to achieve your goal successfully if you intend to do exercise right after an activity that is already a habit, like: after brushing my teeth after coffee in the morning, after my series after of putting the children, etc.
Once you choose a habit as a reminder you have to write and complete your exercise plan.
“After my favorite show I do strength training for 10 minutes in the park around the corner”
The goal is to have a plan of action to follow. What helps you accomplish your purpose (scientifically proven).
A British study of 2002 found that when participants formulated a plan on exactly when and where they would exercise had more than 90% probability of achieving, compared to only 38% of those who had not planned ahead.
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3 – Find a Positive Reward Just After Workout
Actually the exercise itself has to be your reward. Simply for the multiple benefits that you know such as looking good and feeling better. In addition to naturally produce certain substances that generate pleasure and comfort.
However, to form the habit is necessary to have an immediate reward.
But be careful! the trick rewards can be your best friend or your worst enemy. I explain that:
If you can choose a reward for your effort that is aligned with your goals, it will be a motivation for forming the habit.
You can imagine what would happen if it were otherwise.
If for example your reward is eating a chocolate bar after that grueling workout. Surely the expected results of the exercise will not be those who are looking for right?
In many cases, the main reason to prefer unhealthy foods is because of something known as “the psychology of reward.” Which it is much more common in beginners who are not intrinsically motivated by sport and can choose to reward themselves with food that without exercise they would have not eaten.
This stage of the “psychology of reward” is also temporary. Once we have the habit of exercise, it becomes its own reward.
Here are some examples of positive and healthy rewards:
- Relaxing warm shower
- Use a soap with a scent you like
- Cold water with a twist of lemon
- A stretch with minutes of relaxation
- Fresh seasonal fruit
- A scented candle
- Listen to your favorite song
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4 – Download your Chain Of Goals and Take a Daily Record of your Progress
All humans are very bad at remembering. We are deceived by our unconscious and generally tend to overestimate the exercise we do and when we do.
Not to exaggerate and really see the progress you’ve made, you have to register it in writing. This also becomes a strong motivator.
For that, I propose to use chain goals. Every day you must register whether or not you did your goal of exercise (the plan you wrote).
The goal is not to break the chain of your accomplished goal . If you do, the exercise will become a habit in your life almost without realizing it.
If you do not achieve your goal someday it is important to write why you failed. This way you can identify the main reasons that prevent you from exercising and find the best way to solve them.
HENSE: Remember to take one day off a week. This will not impair the formation of habit and fills you with energy (as long as you start back the next day without fail).
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5 – Make your Workout a Fun Habit
Change your perspective and start exercising, seeing it as a time to have fun, to relieve stress and to disconnect. Stop seeing it as a Chinese torture!
Perhaps you already tried with spinning or zumba and hated them , or maybe you have hurt your first day of lifting weights. But that does not mean that all forms of exercise are the same.
There are thousands of ways to move your body. Find the one that best suits your lifestyle and that forces you to be active. For example: take salsa classes, go cycling or rollerblading, adopt a dog and go out to play, practice sports, etc.