Make Exercise a Habit

habits

Turn your fitness routine into a habit by staying on track with these easy solutions

We all know that regular exercise is good for us, but actually putting that knowledge into practice isn’t always easy. While we may take out expensive gym memberships, splash the cash on new running gear and high-tech kit in a bid to feel healthier and slimmer, staying committed for the long haul is another thing. No matter how serious we are about achieving our goals or how good our intentions, our get-fit resolutions can often slip off our to-do-list.

Need some motivation to recharge your get-up-and-go? Health and wellness coach Joanne Henson dedicates her new book to doing just that. What’s Your Excuse For Not Getting Fit? (£4.99, amazon.co.uk) provides easy-to-follow advice and smart tips to stick with exercise long enough to see some pretty awesome results. ‘I wrote the book to help people take a fresh look at their own self-sabotaging behaviours and limiting beliefs, and to motivate them to change their mindsets, and move forward,’ she explains. Here she shares the top reasons for skipping that all-important workout and her simple solutions to stay on track.

Excuse 1: I don’t have time to exercise

Workouts don’t necessarily have to be lengthy or laborious if you’re looking to lose weight or get healthier. A short, sharp sweat sesh will see you bid farewell to hundreds of calories while targeting a whole range of different muscle groups. ‘Three to four times per week is ideal – this still leaves another three to four days a week when you don’t have to exercise. High-intensity interval training sessions could be as short as 10 minutes, and the best way to ensure that it gets done is to prioritise and diarise. And if you think you don’t have time, try keeping a log of how you spend your time and re-evaluate what’s important,’ says Joanne.

Excuse 2: I live too far away from the gym

Brrrr! When it’s freezing cold and chucking it down outside you’d probably prefer a date with your duvet over dragging yourself all the way to the gym – especially if it involves an epic commute. We get it. Even those of us with the loftiest intentions can falter when inconvenience prevails over our fitness plans. ‘There’s no point in joining a flash new gym if it’s a 15-minute drive away, which you might not fancy after a long day at work. Much better to join the more basic gym at the end of your road. Then you’ve only got to find time for the workout, not the workout and a journey,’ says Joanne. Gym still not near enough? Try out a range of fitness DVDs and apps that fit easily into your lifestyle.

Excuse 3: I’ve lost my fitness mojo

Having motivational dips every so often is normal, and if that means you miss a few sessions, so be it – but don’t let that derail you getting back on track. ‘If you do skip a few workouts, remember that the longer you leave it the harder it’s going to feel when you go back. And consider how far you’ve already come – do you really want to waste the effort you’ve already put in? Capitalise on the progress you’ve made so far and stick with it,’ advises Joanne.

Excuse 4: I find exercise boring

Exercise doesn’t have to be difficult and unpleasant. Ease yourself into it and up the ante when you’re ready. ‘Find something you enjoy. This is an obvious one, but so many people treat exercise as a form of punishment, as something to be endured not enjoyed. But there are dozens of different forms of exercise which you might find more fun, from dancing to rock climbing,’ says Joanne. And if you get bored of your routine, switch things up a notch by trying new classes, working out different body parts and varying the intensity of your workout.

Excuse 5: I’m not seeing results

Let’s be realistic; you won’t see results overnight, but the more dedicated you become, the faster you’ll see improvements in your overall fitness /and/ your figure. ‘Be patient, give it some time, and remember that exercise has long-term, ongoing health benefits beyond body shape,’ says Joanne. Try keeping a workout journal so you can chart your progress, writing down small achievements after every session, whether it’s going for two minutes longer on the treadmill or reaching your PB in press-ups.

Achieve your best-ever results

Try Joanne’s shortcuts to help you stay on track.

1 Make exercise a priority

If you treat exercise as an afterthought, and put it at the bottom of your list after checking Facebook, drinks after work and binge-watching a box set, you’ll run out of time every day.  However, if you schedule a workout into your day and plan your other activities around it, it /will/ get done.

2 Don’t expect miraculous results

One of the reasons people go so hard at first and then give up so quickly is that they are looking for a quick fix, and when they don’t get one, they become disillusioned. In fact, you’re not going to undo months or years of unhealthy living with a month of exercise, nor are you going to dramatically change your body shape in that time. But be patient, give it some time, and you will see results.

3 Make sure you’re doing it right

If you have a specific goal, and you’re going to invest time and effort in exercising, make sure that time and effort is well spent. What is it you want to achieve?  Be honest with yourself and then, if necessary, get some advice on what would be most effective (e.g. if you want to tone up your bingo wings, target that area with resistance training rather than going running).

Get-started kit

Make a trolley dash for these must-have fitness buys

Blackspade Thermal Sports Top

Defy the cold weather with this insulating top. It’s super-breathable, lightweight and moisture-wicking.

Anita Active Air Control Sports Bra

A good sports bra is an essential investment for every budding fitness enthusiast. This stylist number by Anita Active minimises bounce whilst maximising comfort.

Adidas Supernova Glide BOOST

Keep morale and performance at an all-time high with these sleek running shoes. Designed to complement the shape of your foot, they also offer good grip and ultra-soft cushioning.