Fitness: Getting and Staying Active - Staying Active
Turning physical activity into a habit
Most people don't think about being active or inactive
as a habit. But it is. And habits are affected by many things, including our work
schedule, our home life, and our social life. When something becomes a habit,
we don't think about it much—we just do it, like brushing our
The key to staying active is to make fitness a habit—something that you just do.
Experts say it takes about 3 months of repetition to form
a habit. For some people, even 3 months isn't enough. So start small, and keep
doing an activity until you no longer think about it as something "extra" that you have
When you slip up, don't get mad at yourself or feel guilty. Figure out
what happened and how to keep it from happening again. Get right back into your
physical activity routine, and don't look back.
- Fitness: Making It a Habit
Maintaining the lifestyle
Many of the
good things about being active, such as having
more energy and being in a better mood, happen
soon after you become more active. But some of the most important health
benefits have to do with being active over many years. If you stop being
active, you lose the fitness you achieved. Being consistent makes the most
sense for your health.
To help make physical activity a long-term
- Set goals. Develop and follow a specific
- Make it a habit. Turn physical activity into a
normal, pleasant, and routine part of your life.
- Get the support of friends and family.
- Expand your fitness activities through coaching,
competition, and cross-training.
- Add variety to your fitness program. Change the place,
activity, and time.
- Don't let
reasons such as lack of time or bad weather slow you
- Schedule your activity for times that
you're likely to keep doing it. If you don't have time for
one 30-minute walk, break it up into three 10-minute walks.
- Fitness: Staying Active When You Have Young Children
- Stress Management: Managing Your Time
- Quick Tips: Having Enough Energy to Stay Active
- Quick Tips: Staying Active in Cold Weather
- Quick Tips: Staying Active in Hot Weather
Finding what works for you
When you have decided that you want to
get fit, you will want to plan a
physical activity routine. Although most people think of
classes and specific activities (such as jogging or tennis) as the way to
fitness, there are many ways you can work physical activity into your
- Fitness: Adding More Activity to Your Life
- Fitness: Choosing Activities That Are Right for You
One Woman's Story:
realized that I had put myself on the back burner for too long and it was time
for me to make time for myself, even if it was just a few minutes a day. I wrote myself a note and taped it to my bathroom mirror. It said, 'I
will take a 10-minute walk during my morning coffee break every day this week.' " —Shellie
Read more about Shellie and how she became more active.