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Women's Health

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10 Easy Ways to Make Exercise a Habit

Try these tricks to become one of the fitness faithful


She is six weeks into an exercise program, thanks in part to her husband's support. Roy Stevens, who works as a management consultant, has become her "in-house personal trainer." They work out together every morning, doing a combination of aerobics, strength training, Tae Bo, and stretching. If he's out of town, he gives her a wake-up call, and she takes the dog for a walk.

3. Make exercise a priority. "It has to be a non-negotiable," says Roy Stevens.

He began exercising to manage his weight when he was in the Air Force band some 20 years ago. "We'd travel, and other guys would get off the bus and go eat wings and drink beer. I'd go running." He's maintained the exercise habit even during his years working 70 hours a week as a restaurant owner.

There's another advantage to making exercise non-negotiable. Friends and family members learn that it's part of your identity, and give up saying things like, "Why don't you take it easy today?"

4. Exercise first thing in the morning. With two preschool children, Wanda Stevens couldn't find time to work out except on a hit-and-miss basis. Any number of things could sabotage her good intentions to walk or go to Pilates class after dinner. But all her excuses vanished once she started getting up before the kids so she could work out.

"I didn't think I was a morning person," she tells WebMD. "But it's working for me."

Experts agree that a morning schedule is best. "If you go to a gym, it should be located between your home and work," says Klein. "Exercise, take a shower, and you're energized for the day."

5. Or, exercise on your way home from work. The next best thing to exercising first thing in the morning is to do it on your way home from work, Klein says.

"Don't go home first," she says. "I learned that the hard way. There aren't a lot of people who are so motivated that after they go home and change clothes will go back out again and exercise."

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