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5-Step Plan for Making Exercise a Habit

5-Step Plan for Making Exercise a Habit

Exercise has immense benefits, from cardiovascular fitness to lowering stress, but how do you to find the time, motivation, and consistency to get these benefits? If you’re just starting out, ditch the gym, fancy yoga classes, and scheduled group runs. Instead, focus on making exercise a habit first, and once you lock down a consistent exercise habit, consider adding them into your routine. The best part is that creating this habit is much easier than it seems.

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    5 Steps for Making Exercise a Habit

    1. Plan for Success

    In order to really commit to a new exercise plan, make a long term goal and set a date for achievement. Your goal could be related to time, distance, or new skill. Examples include holding a one minute plank, running a 5k, or a yoga headstand. Next, break down that big goal into weekly goals. Now, break the weekly goals into daily micro goals. Which brings us to the next step.

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      2. Make it daily

      Yes, even on the weekends – and here’s why: I know I’m not alone in making three-days per week running plans, while only running once or twice. Working late unexpectedly, rainy weather, or hanging out with friends easily derails these three day plans, especially as a beginner. Alternatively, commit to 10 minutes of exercise every. single. day. You can always find ten minutes in a day, and anyone who has done 1 minute of burpees can attest that it doesn’t take much time to spike your heart rate. If you go two weeks with no zero days, consider upping your duration by five minutes every week you hit all seven days, until you hit your desired length.

      3. Timing is Everything

      You have tons of habits and routines throughout your day. How you get ready for work, how you prepare to go out, what you do on Saturday mornings. The best way to ensure your new exercise habit sticks is by incorporating it into your existing routine. Decide on what activity will immediately precede your chosen exercise. For me, it is boiling the water for tea each morning. After I start the water, I do my ten minutes of yoga and stretching, I don’t even think about when to fit it in anymore.

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        4. Create a cue

        A cue will help push you over the edge when faced with the decision to exercise. It is often related to the timing, discussed above. When I first started doing yoga each morning, I unrolled my yoga mat in the kitchen (the only place I have room to practice) every night so that I could not forget about my goal in the morning. Other people find laying out their exercise clothes by the bed helps them roll out of bed and into workout clothes without thinking each morning. Find a good cue that works for you.

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          5. Celebrate

          Celebrating your successes when reaching milestones is key to forming a habit. A simple, non-food reward is printing out a blank calendar and marking an X each day you when you finish your exercise. After a few days, you get the added incentive to keep the streak going!

          Now that you have a good strategy for making exercise a habit, it’s time to get moving!

          Featured photo credit: Positive Mornings via positivemornings.com

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          Published on October 17, 2019

          How to Build Endurance Fast and Enhance Stamina

          How to Build Endurance Fast and Enhance Stamina

          Day to day we all suffer. Life is hard, have you ever got to work and just stopped right in front of the stairs and just absolutely dreaded the thought of having to go up to them? By the top, you’re out of breath, uncomfortable and sweating.

          So, how to build endurance fast and enhance stamina? We will look into the tips in this article.

          What Is the Best Exercise for Endurance?

          When faced with any exercise venture, we will always ask ourselves “What is the best way to get to our goals?”

          Really it does depend. Why do I say this?

          There are a lot of variables as to what form of exercise I might recommend for you. Not to worry I just won’t leave it there. I’ll give you examples that will fit for many different scenarios.

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          When recommending forms of cardio for people, you have to examine many things like, how long have they been training, their age, any injuries that were diagnosed by a medical professional and just some nagging pains that they may have from overly tight muscles.

          When faced with someone who is very under trained, has worked years at a desk, and hasn’t trained in decades, I would recommend a non-impact form of cardio like a bike, elliptical, row, reason being that their muscles, tendons and ligaments aren’t used to bearing hundreds of pounds of impact that is caused every single time we jump, land, run. This same idea would go for someone who has any kind of arthritis in the knees, back etc.

          When faced with running, and sprinting, I would recommend these modes of cardio to those clients that have experience with these forms of cardio, whether that be athletes or just casual runners; of course, assuming that they have good running technique and footwear. Without good running technique or footwear, you are bound to run into some sort of injury eventually.

          Types of Cardio: LISS Vs HIIT, Which Is Better?

          There are two main forms of cardio that people are familiar with or have heard of.

          One of them is “LISS” which stands for low intensity steady state. This form of cardio wood be represented by a form of cardio that is not very taxing and doesn’t involve any sort of intervals. A good example would be walking on the treadmill on a slight incline and moderate paced walk that you are able to keep up for approximately an hour.

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          Currently on fire, the very well known form of cardio “HIIT” which stands for high intensity interval training. This cardio is very intense and includes spurts of near maximal effort followed by a complete rest or active recovery (walking). Perfect example of a HIIT workout would be interval sprints, sprinting maximal effort for 20 seconds followed by a minute of walking (1:3 work to rest).

          Now that you know what they are, you may be asking which one is better for you. And the answer is, both! Both will build your endurance and when we combine both of them into your training protocol, you will build your endurance and stamina even faster than just using one or the other!

          Here’s a routine you can take reference of:

          Mock Training Week (Novice Trainee)

          • Monday: HIIT sprint (1:3 work to rest) 20 min
          • Tuesday: LISS bike (slight resistance) 60 minute
          • Wednesday: LISS walk (outside if possible) if not slight incline light pace, 60 minutes
          • Thursday: OFF
          • Friday: HIIT row machine(1:2 work to rest) 20 minutes
          • Saturday: LISS walk (outside if possible) if on treadmill small incline, light pace
          • Sunday: OFF

          *the allotted work to rest ratio will vary based on the level of physical fitness of the individual

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          How to Build Your Physical Endurance

          When building a customized cardio program, it is very important to know your baseline level of cardio done via fitness testing. These tests will give you a good measure from where you are starting, so you can easily measure your progress a few months down the road.

          If you’re not familiar with exercising programming and really want to train efficiently and with good form, it would be a good idea to hire a Personal Trainer. The trainer will be familiar with performing these types of fitness test and can ensure they are being performed exactly the same each time to ensure accurate results. A Personal Trainer can also help you build a customized cardio program tailored to your goal of building endurance based on your current fitness levels.

          How Endurance Is Actually Built

          Endurance is actually built by challenging our base fitness of cardio which in turn build our Vo2 Max (most amount of oxygen we can use during exercise), which is the best measure of cardio/endurance.

          In order to challenge our endurance, we must make our heart more efficient. A good measure to see if you are improving would be to do a run for 5 minutes at a certain speed on the treadmill and then measure your Heart Rate immediately after; then repeat that exact test 8 weeks down the road to measure your progress that way.

          Another good way to measure our progress would be by increasing the difficulty of your workouts weekly/bi-weekly so you can see that you are progressing week to week.

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          Final Thoughts

          Besides the workout advice above, I suggest you combine all these following quick tips:

          • Eat healthy and unprocessed foods.
          • Challenge your cardio/endurance (train with intensity).
          • Train frequently.
          • Track your progress.
          • Get to a healthy body weight.
          • Build a good cardio program.
          • Have a goal.

          Do these consistently because without sustainability, we will not see the most amount of results possible.

          Great changes require consistency and hard work. Keep at it and follow your goals, results will come!

          Featured photo credit: asoggetti via unsplash.com

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