Staying fit year-round: How to make exercise a lifelong habit

by Nicole Abigail

Staying Fit Year-Round: How to Make Exercise a Lifelong Habit

Regular exercise is key to maintaining good physical health and overall wellbeing. But forming and sustaining an exercise habit can seem daunting or even impossible – particularly if you’ve been out of the habit for a while. Here’s how to make exercise a lifelong habit and keep fit year-round:

1. Make it enjoyable

Choose activities that you genuinely enjoy so that exercise doesn’t become a chore. Activities like walking, running and swimming can offer excellent physical benefits but if you don’t like them you’ll find it hard to stay motivated and make them part of your regular routine.

2. Identify your exercise goals

Having clear goals can help you stay motivated and focused, and makes your goals easier to accomplish. Set measurable goals, like aiming to walk or run 5 miles a week, or increase your strength with specific weightlifting exercises.

3. Make yourself accountable

Accountability is key to sticking with a routine – so make yourself accountable in some way. Find an exercise partner, buddy-up with a friend at the gym, join a running club or even start a blog about your exercise journey.

4. Change it up

Most of us get bored doing the same things every day, so don’t be afraid to switch things up. Try different types of exercise, like cycling, yoga or Tai-Chi. Having a varied routine can help prevent boredom, fatigue and lack of motivation.

5. Set achievable goals

Setting realistic goals that are achievable for you is key to making exercise a lifelong habit. If you’re new to exercise, don’t push yourself too hard too quickly. Working up to your goals gradually will help you stay consistent and prevent injury or burn-out.

6. Incorporate self-care

Make sure to take care of yourself during exercise to prevent overstressing your body. Make sure you stay well hydrated, fuel your body with nutritious foods, and rest. Make time to stretch and relax and ensure that exercise stays enjoyable.

Remember that forming a lifelong habit takes practice and dedication, but with a little effort and commitment you can make exercise part of your healthy lifestyle.

Top Tips for Making Exercise a Lifelong Habit:

  • Make it enjoyable: Choose activities you genuinely enjoy so that exercise doesn’t become a chore.
  • Set achievable goals: Setting realistic goals that are achievable for you is key to making exercise a lifelong habit.
  • Incorporate self-care: Make sure to take care of yourself during exercise to prevent overstressing your body.
  • Make yourself accountable: Accountability is key to sticking with a routine, so find an exercise partner or join a club.
  • Change it up: Having a varied routine can help prevent boredom and fatigue.

What are the benefits of making exercise a lifelong habit?

1. Improved Strength and Endurance: Exercise strengthens your muscles, bones and joints, improves your cardiovascular fitness, and can delay the onset of muscle tissue wasting that often begins in middle age.

2. Better Balance and Mobility: As you age, exercise can help you to maintain or even improve your balance and coordination. Stronger muscles, bones, and joints can help you stay mobile, reducing the risk of falls and injuries.

3. Improved Mental Health: Regular physical activity not only helps reduce stress and anxiety, but can also boost your mood and overall well-being.

4. Better Sleep: Regular exercise can also help you sleep better and deeper, leaving you feeling more alert and energized during the day.

5. Lower Risk of Chronic Diseases: Physical activity can help reduce your risk of developing serious health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer.

6. Help You Live Longer: Studies have shown that an active lifestyle can help you live longer and protect you against many age-related ailments.

What kind of exercise should I do to make it a lifelong habit?

The best type of exercise to make as a lifelong habit is one that you enjoy, as this will motivate you to stay consistent. It can be anything from walking, cycling, running, swimming, yoga, weight training, or a combination of these. Find something that you enjoy and that you are able to do regularly, such as three to four times per week, and make it a priority. Setting goals and tracking your progress can also help to keep you motivated and make it a habit that you stick with.

“How can I set realistic goals for a lifetime exercise habit?”

1. Set an achievable goal for the first month that gradually increases each month- for example, aim to get 30 minutes of exercise three times a week and then increase it to 45 minutes three times a week in the following months.

2. Schedule your workouts each week and plan for at least three days of exercise.

3. Focus on quality, not quantity- it’s better to go for a longer walk or bike ride than just a quick session on the treadmill.

4. Track your progress – use an app or a notebook and celebrate your accomplishments.

5. Try different types of exercise to add variety to your routine and keep it interesting.

6. Be consistent and make exercise a habit – even a short workout can give you an energy boost if you stick with it.

7. Listen to your body – if you’re feeling tired or sore, take some time off and come back at a slower pace.

8. Reward yourself – treat yourself for achieving your goals and make sure you take care of yourself so you can stay healthy.

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