Building an Exercise Habit

April is the time of year when most New Year’s fitness resolutions have been given up, but it’s still too early to be thinking about a “bikini body” for summer. Many people find that they’re opting out of the gym in order to eat the leftover Easter candy or catch up on their Netflix or things at work get busy! We’re here to help you avoid falling into an exercise lurch! We have found that the key to keeping yourself going to the gym is to create an exercise habit (and having an awesome Y community doesn’t hurt either). In this blog, we’ll suggest some great ways to make and stick to your workout routine in order to create that healthy habit.   


Commit. They say you can make or break a habit in 21 days. Set a schedule for yourself and commit to going to the gym consistently for 21 days, and when that time is done, add another 21 days! Before you know it, going to the gym will simply be part of your weekly routine.

Have fun. When you find an exercise routine that works for you, you won’t dread going to the gym. Maybe it’s a group fitness class or a music playlist you can rock out to. Set small goals for yourself in addition to your larger goals, and feel the satisfaction of reaching those goals.

Reward yourself. It’s important that you reward yourself for sticking to your exercise routine. Avoid rewards of high-caloriework out, habit desserts or days off and instead opt for an activity, or at least something that won’t affect the progress you’ve made. For example, you could reward yourself with a trip to the movie theater, a shopping trip or a spa day!

Hold yourself accountable. You can read our January blog where we discuss personal accountability, and you can also join a group fitness class or find a workout buddy to hold you accountable.

Measure fitness. Weight is not always the best indicator of fitness and health. It’s better to notice all of your improvements. Can you run farther than before? Did you increase the size of the weights you use? Have you discovered a muscle that you never knew you had before? Do you feel more confident in your own skin? Do you have more energy? All of these and more are great indicators of your fitness and how effective your exercise habits are becoming.

Have good timing. Pick a time during the day where you will always be able to go to the gym, and make a habit of going at that time. If you are a morning person than before work would be a great time to work out. Set out your clothes the night before so they’re the first thing you see when you wake up and you won’t have an excuse to skip.

woman running, habit

Add variety. Having an exercise habit means that you’re consistently exercising, but it doesn’t mean that you have to do the same exercise each time! Doing the same thing over and over can get boring, so add some variety to your workout! Go for a swim, join a class, ride your bike outside, try a new machine, whatever you need to do in order to keep your workout interesting.

Keep a log. There are plenty of mobile apps and online programs that can help you log your exercise, but a paper log works just as well! A log will give you visual proof of your progress, as well as allow you to see positive or negative trends in your workouts. You can even use the log to have a healthy competition with friends!

All of these tips are useful ways to help you form an exercise habit, but when it comes down to it, you have to figure out what works best for your body and your schedule. The Y gives you a variety of choices for time, location, and type of exercise, so take full advantage of your membership!


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