We all know that we should be working out regularly. The gap between what we should do and what we actually do can be hard to close, but developing healthy habits is a great first step. Make a plan for how to make exercise a habit in your daily life.
How to Make Exercise a Habit
If you’re over the age of 65 and in relatively good health, you should be aiming to exercise for at least 150 minutes every week. Exercise boosts your mood, improves your balance and strength, and can even have a positive impact on your immune system. We all know exercise is good for us, so why is it so hard for most people to actually get to the gym on a regular basis? One of the secrets to regular exercise is finding a way to make it a habit, just as you brush your teeth every night and put the right garbage in the recycling bin. So let’s talk about how to make exercise a habit you’ll stick to for life.
Be Patient with Yourself
Did you know it takes up to 66 repetitions of a behavior for it to become a habit? In other words, if you’re trying to make exercise a habit, you’re going to be in it for the long haul. Instead of beating yourself up for hitting roadblocks, focus on the journey. If you miss a workout or have to cut it short, that’s OK. Even if you miss an entire week, you can just start again the following week. As long as you’re still trying, you will be successful eventually. It just takes time.
Find Exercise You Like
Sometimes, people think a workout doesn’t “count” unless you’re sore and exhausted afterward. However, pushing yourself to your physical limits doing something unpleasant isn’t a great way to make something a habit. Instead, look for exercise you enjoy, and build it into your life in small ways. Can you take a daily walk to the library, or check out a yoga class in the park once a week? The more you enjoy it, the more likely you are to keep doing it.
Make Contingency Plans
No matter how dedicated you are to working out, sometimes life will get in the way. You can avoid this problem by making sure you have contingency plans for your workout routine. For example, if your daily walk gets rained out, you can do an exercise video indoors. Sometimes you’ll need to be creative to get your workout in. Remember that small efforts build into big results, and give yourself credit for persisting with your goals.
Weight Loss Isn’t the Only Goal
Weight loss can be one marker of exercise routine success. However, it isn’t the only one you should pay attention to. Be sure to measure other benefits as well, such as improved blood pressure and increased strength. Let those victories keep motivating you, even if the scale isn’t moving as much as you’d like.
Take Care of Your Health in Other Ways
It’s easy to blow off a day of exercise if you aren’t feeling your best or aren’t seeing results right away. If this sounds like you, keep in mind that exercise isn’t the only way you should be taking care of your body. If you aren’t getting enough sleep or eating enough healthy food, you won’t be able to get the most out of your workout. Before you start exercising regularly, talk to your doctor about your current health picture and see if there are improvements you can make.
When determining how to make exercise a habit, the most important place to start is with yourself. How can you make exercise fun? How can you keep yourself motivated when the going gets hard? Be patient with yourself, try new things, and always be ready to get back up when you fall down. Before you know it, exercise will be a habit you look forward to.
Check out Hearthside Senior Living in Collierville and Bartlett. Our warm and inviting communities make it easy for seniors to embrace a healthy lifestyle, with home-cooked and restaurant-style meals, exercise classes, and a nurse devoted to residents’ health and wellness. We would be happy to schedule a tour for you so that you can explore the community, speak with the Community Director, meet some of the residents, and ask any questions you might have. To learn more about our amenities and services, please call 901-266-3329 (Bartlett) or 901-854-6590 (Collierville). We look forward to meeting you!