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How to Make Exercise a Habit

Exercise Habit

Here are the most common reasons people stop exercising as well as ways on how to make exercise a habit:

• Lack of time: More than 40 percent of those who would like to exercise but don’t, say they can’t find the time. The truth is you have to schedule it, just like you schedule business meetings and appointments.

Some people like to do it first thing in the morning, exchanging pajamas for exercise clothes and then taking one shower for the day. Others do it the minute they get home from work. Both require discipline if you want to make exercise a habit.

• Loneliness: People who exercise with a friend are much less likely to drop out than those who go it alone. One study found 80 percent of married people whose spouses didn’t join them eventually dropped out. Only 40 percent quit their programs when both spouses exercised. If you’re single, you’re more likely to drop out unless you join a club or an exercise class.

• No variety: Anything can get boring over time unless you shake it up a little. Some exercise equipment comes programmed to do different workouts. If yours doesn’t and you don’t have several pieces to alternate, you’ll have to work harder. You’ll have to vary your reading material or the TV shows you watch.

• Too hard: People who do high-intensity exercise are more likely to drop out than those who take it easier. If you’re just beginning, don’t overdo it or you’ll bum out and possibly hurt yourself. Make sure you prevent injuries if you want to make exercising a habit.

• Inconvenient: If you have to unfold something or move furniture to make room for exercise equipment, you’re less likely to use it. Assign it a place of its own, preferably in front of the TV or stereo.

• No rewards: People who document their progress are more likely to make exercise a habit than those who don’t. Keeping an exercise log is one way to see the gaps when you miss workouts and to track progress. Fitness tests are another great motivator, allowing you to compare “Before” with “After.” Reward yourself for meeting goals.

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