Weekly Wellness: Tips to Make Exercise a Daily Habit

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COLUMBIA - It can be a real challenge to make exercise a part of our routine. Especially if you are new to exercise. We know we need to do it. We know it’s good for us. We know it can help us in so many ways. So why is it so difficult to find the time? Are there any tips or tricks that we can do to help us? Sure! And here are 10 of them...

1. Wake up early: research shows that people who exercise in the morning tend to stick to their workout programs longer.

2. Find your focus: You need to enjoy what you're doing (or you probably won't do it). Look for activities that mirror your interests. If you like dancing, take a Zumba class. If you like being outside, go for a walk on the trail.

3. Find a workout buddy: studies show that working out with a partner can help to improve your performance (a little competition helps to get you going). Also, having someone to hold you accountable helps too.

4. Make it convenient: find a gym or fitness center that is close to home or work. If you have to go out of your way or find extra time to get to and from a location, it can be easier to skip.

5. Hire a personal trainer: the accountability is helpful and so is learning proper form and ensuring that you don't injure yourself.

6. Set goals (plural): make sure your goals aren't just about losing weight or your physique. Want to get stronger? Want to be able to run faster? Want to be able to do more than 2 pull-ups? Setting a variety of goals will help.

7. Change your surroundings: if you've spent all winter running on the treadmill in the gym, get outside when the weather changes. Having different scenery can re-motivate you.

8. Track your schedule and your milestones: a study in the British Journal of Health Psychology found that 91% of adults who planned the "when and where" of their workouts beforehand exercised at least once a week compared to 38% of those who did NOT plan ahead. Also, knowing your personal fitness statistics (i.e. what is the heaviest weight I have squatted or what is the fastest mile I've run) can help you to keep going.

9. Make it FUN: if you're a runner and haven't done any races, find some friends and try it out! if you've been hitting the weights, maybe look into an obstacle course race.

10. Pay attention to your nutrition: a study at Stanford University found that people who adopted a healthy diet and training plan at the same time were more likely to stick with both than those who only focused on one goal.

(Source: https://www.active.com/fitness/articles/10-ways-to-make-exercise-a-daily-habit)