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10 Easy Ways to Make Exercise a Habit

Try these tricks to become one of the fitness faithful

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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."

6. Exercise even when you're "too tired." Chances are, you'll feel better after exercising.

"It energizes us," says Klein. "You breathe deeply, and your body makes better use of the oxygen exchange. You'll get an exercise-induced euphoria during the activity and for some time after."

If Wanda Stevens thinks she is too tired to get up and exercise, Roy shows her no sympathy. "She gets mad, but then she feels better afterwards," he says.

7. Log your activity. Write down the things that are important to you. It could be how much time you exercise each day, how many steps you walked, how far you ran or cycled, what you weighed, etc.

Some people make a game of it. You may have heard of runners calculating the miles it would take to run from their homes to Boston (home of the famous marathon), figuring how far they run in an average week and setting a target date for "arriving" in Boston.

8. Be aware of all the indicators of progress. It's great when your clothes fit better and you can lift heavier weights or work out longer without getting exhausted.

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