How to Stick to an Exercise Routine

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Once your initial enthusiasm wears off, you might find it hard to stick with your exercise routine. Here are some tips to keep you motivated:

  • Make it fun. If you like to be around people, take an aerobics class or sign up for a local soccer or walking club. If you’re happier in solitude, trying walking or hiking in a park or location with a nice view.
  • Switch up what you do so you don’t get bored. Walk one day and lift light weights the next. Ride a bike, dance, take a yoga class -- doing anything is better than doing nothing.
  • Make exercise social. If you make a commitment to exercise with someone else, you’re more likely to stick to it than if you’re just working out alone. Plus, you get to catch up with your friend and cheer on each other’s accomplishments.
  • Make exercise a priority. Think of exercising as a necessary part of life, like breathing, sleeping, and eating. It’s what you do to be as healthy as you can be. Schedule exercise like you do any other important activity. Put it in your daily planner!
  • Exercise first thing in the morning. If you exercise in the morning, you’re more likely to stick to your routine, according to some studies. As the day goes on, you’re more likely to come up with excuses or have delays in your schedule that can make it hard to exercise. Another bonus of morning exercise: you’re energized for the day ahead.
  • Exercise on your way home from work. If you can’t exercise first thing in the morning, working out on your way home from work is the next best thing. Make sure you don’t go home first. Once you change and sit down, it’s unlikely you’ll be motivated enough to go back out again. A bonus of after-work exercise: you melt away the day’s stress and irritations.
  • Exercise even when you think you’re too tired. You’ll probably feel better and more energized afterward. Exercise makes your brain release endorphins, which elevate your mood and make your whole body feel better. You also breathe deeply, which can make you feel calm and relaxed.
  • Keep an exercise journal. Write down the exercise statistics that are important to you: how long you exercised, how far you walked (or ran or biked), how much weight you lifted, how many reps you did, etc. Seeing your progress can help keep you motivated to achieve more.
  • Reward yourself. Set some goals and as you achieve them, reward yourself. When you’re able to walk for 30 minutes without stopping, you might buy yourself a new pair of walking shoes or a warm-up jacket. When you can put your body in Eagle Pose in yoga, your reward might be a new pair of yoga pants or a new top. Do whatever works for you!
  • Be flexible. If you’re truly too busy or feel run down, take a break. The important thing is to get back on track as soon as you can.

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