Every one of us has a life or wellness need that exercise will help us meet. From giving us the energy we need to run our lives with less huffing and puffing to helping us manage chronic health conditions, stabilize mood, improve sleep, and sharpen our brain and focus, we all need exercise.
One of the more compelling reasons for regular exercise is its role in expanding our days on earth. One research found that people who followed the minimum guidelines for physical activity which is 150–300 minutes of moderate to intense exercise or 75–150 minutes of vigorous exercise per week, reduced their risk of early death by as much as 21%.
Exercise helps to prevent several chronic diseases and lifestyle illnesses including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and mood disorders.
When we exercise we bump up our brain’s production of the feel-good neurotransmitters dopamine and endorphins both of which have some powerful value for our lives including helping to reduce pain and inflammation in the body, reduce depression and anxiety, and increase motivation.
It’s also the antidote to the sedentary lifestyle that is literally killing us. The point is, it pays to work on hacking the exercise habit.
Here are 4 of the best hacks to help you do that.
1. Make it fun!
Dancing, rollerblading, and any exercise you find fun is going to make sticking to it easier. Because to make something fun is to make it attractive to do.
For me, spin classes instructors who are high energy, and having my own banging playlists for the treadmill are some ways I inject fun into my exercise plan. I also love playing volleyball in summer and switching up my routines year-round so working out stays fresh.
I may only use a hula hoop for 3 months, but it’s worth the investment if it’s what’s appealing to me. Whatever brings you joy, tap into to incorporate fun into your exercise routine.
2. Pick a Time You Can Set Aside For Yourself
When you work out and whether it’s a time you can routinely stick to is important. For most people, that time is first thing in the morning as part of a morning routine. Some clients found that getting up 30 minutes earlier was the ultimate hack to keeping their exercise commitments. After first thing in the morning, the next best time is any time that you have the most control over. So, if you keep finding that after work is a struggle for you because your energy is sapped, stop making that an option and experiment with other time frames. What most people I work with find is that a new reliable time slot may irk them a bit but after months, they wouldn’t change a thing because it was THE thing that helped them get something they really wanted.
3. Break Up Into Small Chunks of Time
It’s hard sometimes to get in your exercise in one go. Breaking up your time into smaller chunks of time throughout the day is one way to deal with that.
I have to put in 30 to 40 minutes daily, but that’s not the case for most people. A 10-minute workout in the morning, plus a 5-minute afternoon activity, and walking the dog in the evening are small steps that add up. It really comes down to putting in strategies that will counter whatever time obstacle you have. For example, having a dog forces you to walk.
4. Tie in With Your Other Commitments
Because our life is full and time is a real constraint, finding ways to do the stuff you want to alongside the stuff you already have to do is a practical solution. So say yes to mommy and me meditation, have others help you cook by letting them do the prep work, and spend time with your SO by playing a game of hoops with him.
I hope these give you some ideas and that you not only read but try one or two of them. Many of the obstacles to exercise and good habits may be real, but it’s our responsibility to find workarounds.