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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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          Last Updated on December 13, 2018

          12 Practical Tips To Stay Fit For Christmas

          12 Practical Tips To Stay Fit For Christmas

          Christmas is approaching fast, and lots of people not only tend to ruin their usual diets, but they also gain a few extra pounds. Based on studies, the majority of people tend to gain additional weight during the holiday season that starts at the Thanksgiving Day and ends with the New Year celebrations. Excessive eating is claimed to be the main cause for the additional weight gain, but it is also due to lack of physical activity and exercise.

          A lot of individuals out there tend to set aside their fitness routines during the holidays since they believe that they do not have enough time to perform their workouts. And because they feel guilty after the holiday season, most of the gyms and fitness centers are packed with fresh members. Always bear in mind that you can still enjoy the holidays and stay fit at the same time. If you want to stay fit during the holiday season, especially during Christmas and the New Year’s Eve, here are some useful tips that might help you:

          1. Eat Before Heading Out

          First, it is best that you eat something before heading out to visits, trips or family dinners. By doing so, you will no longer be tempted to eat a lot or overindulge yourself since you have already eaten. Skipping on meals is not a good idea either, because you will only be forced to eat more later.

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          2. Select The Treats

          Make sure to select the treats that you eat in a wise manner. You should choose something that you can only enjoy during the holiday season and not something that is readily available all the time.

          3. Avoid Skipping Meals

          Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast! Even though it can be tempting to skip on certain meals, believing that it will make up for the treats you consumed in the previous day, don’t do it because it will only lead to counterproductive results.

          4. Drink With Moderation

          It is best to regulate your drinking since alcohol, coke or other juices will only add more calories to the ones you already eaten!

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          5. Be Active

          You should still perform your fitness routine whenever possible and if you can’t do that, simply walk more, park your car some distance away from the store or just use the stairs!

          6. Get Out Of The House

          Make the holidays a family affair and plan outdoor activities where everyone is involved. Even a snowball fight in the backyard will burn a lot of calories and will keep the children entertained.

          7. Don’t Skip Your Strength Workouts

          Always remember to perform your strength training in order to maintain that muscle mass you worked hard to get. You might be tempted to use lightweights and just do some cardio, but you can burn just as many calories by lifting weights. And with all of those extra stakes you had on the holiday meals, you might even gain some extra muscle. And this is much better than gaining some extra fat.

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          8. Set Realistic Goals

          You should set realistic exercise objectives. Aim for at least half an hour per day and you will be very happy when you will achieve that. If you plan one hour or more and not achieve it, you will only end up disappointed.

          9. Enjoy Yourself

          Also make sure to set realistic diet plans! Trying to restrain yourself totally from some foods will only make you eat more. Feel free to enjoy the treats that you really love, but in small portions.

          10. Drink A Lot Of Water

          This can satiate your appetite as well as keep you hydrated at all times. And it will also prevent a possible hangover if you overdo it with alcohol.

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          11. Eat Less And More Often

          Distribute your meals evenly throughout the day, and do not eat everything at once.  Instead of having 2 enormous meals, have 5 small ones.  Eat your dinner earlier and have a nice walk before going to bed.

          12. Prioritize Your Workouts

          Try to do them early in the morning while everyone else is still sleeping. This way you will also avoid remarks like “Oh, come on! It’s Christmas…”

          So there you go! Twelve simple tips that will help you avoid gaining weight during the winter holidays, but will also allow you to enjoy yourself and have a great time with your loved ones.

          Happy Holidays everyone!

          Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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