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10 ways to make exercise a habit

Feb 16, 2015
written by: Catherine Cameron
written by: Catherine Cameron
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Did you begin 2015 with a resolution to be healthier and happier? To exercise regularly? To get into the shape of your life? If so, you’re among millions of Canadians who made the very same pledges.

There is however, a big difference between pledging and actually achieving. The following 10 tips will help you start, stick with, and achieve your exercise goals this year.

  1. Set realistic and achievable goals for yourself and create a plan to help yourself achieve them. I typically advise clients to set short, medium, and long term goals. Adults need at least 150 minutes of heart-pumping physical activity each week for health benefits and at least a couple of strength training sessions too.
  2. Schedule time for exercise just as you would any other important meeting or appointment. Love that Melinda Lee (@melindamlee) schedules it into her calendar first thing every morning.
  3. Commit with a friend who shares your goals. Many people find they’re more likely to stick to exercise if it’s fun, social, and they’re accountable to someone else.
  4. Track your progress. Progress doesn’t just mean fitting into your skinny jeans or your prom dress of 25 years ago. Having more energy, improved sleep, a lower resting heart rate, and improved cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar readings are all signs of progress.
  5. Exercise even when you’re tired – push yourself off the couch knowing that physical activity will give you more energy.
  6. Exercise should be FUN. Try a variety of activities until you find ones that fit your lifestyle and that you enjoy. Linda Ellis (@DropshotDiva) has the right idea, sharing “exercise must be fun” and that to her, “tennis never feels like exercise”. I happen to agree: it’s what draws me to our community courts with my family.
  7. Incorporate exercise into your lifestyle – simply walking more every day can do wonders for your health. Aim for at least 10,000 steps everyday – clip on a pedometer or step counter to track your progress. Walk to work or school; walk at coffee and lunch breaks; run errands on foot or by bike; or try a walking meeting with colleagues.
  8. Exercise to be a role model for others – especially your kids. In Canada, only 5% of children and teens get enough exercise. Not surprisingly, active parents have more active children, so be an active parent and boost your whole family’s health and happiness.
  9. Let the music move you. A great playlist can motivate you to exercise longer, harder, faster, and to have more fun doing it. Pop in those ear buds and groove on!
  10. Reward yourself for your commitment and as you achieve your goals and set new ones. Some new workout wear, new tunes for your playlist, some pampering products….do what works for you.

Chat with us about your exercise goals for 2015 @Tennis_Canada and @Cate_Cameron. Remember that all physical activity counts and that research now tells us that several short activity breaks throughout the day may in fact offer more health benefits than one longer workout and an otherwise sedentary day.