Lifestyle >> Fitness

Making Exercise a Habit

The general rule of working out 3 to 4 times a week is a good goal to shoot for, but it turns into more of an event, that we feel we have to do, than a habit. Exercise is most effective when it is incorporated as a daily or near-daily routine. The more consistent we workout the more likely it is to be a habit.

So have a balanced approach to how you workout and don’t just stick to the gym. Go for a walk in the park, carry your shopping home or offer to give someone a piggyback ride.

By stepping out of your comfort zone and finding time everyday to move in different ways, you make exercise a habit.

Try to mix up the intensity, duration and volume of your workouts and embrace change. Think of exercise in the same way we think about having variety in the foods we eat. Broccoli is good for you, but by itself it is not enough. This helps illustrate why variety is so important.

Be balanced about your workouts

I like to lift weights for 20 minutes twice a week, do a general sit-ups and push-ups workout three times a week and play some soccer once a week. As you can imagine, there's no simple workout formula that's right for everyone. To help create your own killer workouts, incorporate the three aspects of movement intelligence that your body needs. BALANCE

Movements that challenge your balance include single-leg work, single-arm work, certain yoga poses and even closing your eyes while doing a familiar movement such as a squat or a lunge.

STRENGTH

This can be anything from lifting weights to bodyweight exercises, such as squats, single lunges, push-ups or, if you’re ready for it, handstands. CARDIO

This includes the full spectrum, from sustained cardio, such as a long walk in the park, to high intensity cardio, such as sprints. A really good, balanced fitness program will incorporate all three of the above. Even if you’re training for a marathon, it’s important to implement all three aspects of exercise. If you just run without doing joint stabilization, strength-work and skill-based balance work, there’s a greater chance of injury through faulty movement patterns and unstable joints.

Exercise is often self-sustaining, the more you do it, the more you’ll want to do it. So even starting small with a couple short intervals a week will make it easier to progress to three to four times a week with longer workouts. Once you notice the difference in how you look and feel exercise will become a habit you’ll never want to break.