We’ve all had an upheaval of our usual routine, and maybe you want to get back into your healthy exercise habits or feel the desire to pick up some new ones. Procrastination or lack of a plan can make this challenging, but we’ve got some tips to help you stop avoiding exercise and build a sustainable routine.
To establish an exercise habit you need to make some minor changes to your daily routine to accommodate it. This will make getting active much easier. When you are trying to create any habit you should choose one or two things to implement first, before committing to more. Build upon your successes and try not to overwhelm yourself with too many changes.
How to build a routine
Here are some of the strategies that we recommend to help you break the habit of avoiding exercise. Choose the one that sounds more achievable first and try it for three weeks. You can add more as your confidence grows and you become aware of the adaptations and benefits:
Be consistent with your sleep times. Although you may think this doesn’t relate to exercise, it directly affects it. Typically at the weekend our sleep patterns dramatically change. This upsets your energy levels, mood and recovery throughout the day. If you wake up at the same time at the weekend, you could find an extra hour to exercise without changing anything else!
Go to bed just ten minutes earlier every night. Set your alarm for the same time each day (including weekends). You will gain an extra seventy minutes of sleep over the week. Use the morning, weekend time to exercise.
- Exercise kit
Keep your workout clothes, trainers, resistance bands, sweat towel, water bottle and anything else you like to use on hand. You might leave these out by your bed before going to sleep, ready to workout first thing. Remover the barrier and time consuming act of ‘getting ready’. Always be prepared and you may add that impromptu extra workout in at some point.
Get a weekly planner on your phone/fridge/wall. Each Sunday spend 5 minutes planning your week. Add to the planner your work hours, sleeping hours, time for family and friends, lunch breaks, dinner time and events. Once you have a visual representation of your commitments you can schedule the time for exercise. Start with adding one to two, thirty minute sessions into your week. Make a conscious effort to do something in this time. Walking, stretching, jogging, dancing. It all counts!
- When to exercise
Exercise before work each morning. It’s a hard habit, to begin with, but has huge benefits to your working day. People who exercise in the morning are more alert, start each working day at a faster pace, are generally more productive, feel better, have an elevated mood and grow in confidence quicker because they have a feeling of accomplishment at the beginning of each day. It’s a positive change to your physical and mental wellbeing. Begin with 15 minutes each morning. You can increase the time as it becomes easier for you. Remember to get this time back in the evening. You need to go to bed earlier (start with point 1 if you find this hard.)
Set yourself a mini target. This could be a run time, weight target, rep goal or movement goal, you might really want to learn how to do a handstand for example. People who have clear goals with a deadline are more likely to achieve and create habits. It doesn’t have to be extravagant. It can be a personal accomplishment which makes you more accountable and focused.
- Have fun
Act like a big kid! We all like a bit of fun and exercise shouldn’t be any different. Buy yourself a children’s reward sticker chart and award yourself a shiny sticker each time you do thirty minutes of exercise/a workout.
What will be your reward? Set yourself a reward. When you reach twenty workouts you get your treat. This may sound silly but it actually works! It’s also interesting trying to explain it to your friends and family if they find your sticker collection!
Some of these might be easy for you to pick up and implement into your daily routine, but if you need some workout inspiration you can check out the Anytime Fitness UK Facebook and Instagram pages. We share Facebook live workouts every morning and they’re just fifteen minutes long! Perfect for getting your day off to a great start and helping you build your routine so you can break the habit of avoiding exercise.
If you want to catch up on our previous workouts you can explore our workout playlist here!
Title image from traineracademy.org.