8 things you must do to make exercise a habit

I’ve just realized that we’ve never talked about how to make exercise a habit. That should’ve been one of the very first posts under exercise as a key component of enjoying a simple healthy lifestyle.

I know I wrote every exercise beginner needs these 10 must-know tips. It’s definitely a worthwhile read but I want to be as straight to the point as I can to address the issue of making exercise a habit. So keep reading.

 

A picture for how to make exercise a habit

 

Like I just said, remember that a simple healthy lifestyle requires exercise.

You  might still be struggling to make exercise a habit. Don’t worry, you are not alone. A lot of people all over the world are facing the same challenge.

Until only four years ago, I struggled to make exercise a habit. I’d take off on two full weeks of rigorous, faithful exercise, and then drop off for the following month or even months.

But then, four years ago when I made the decision to start enjoying a simple healthy lifestyle, I knew I’d have to make exercise a habit.

I experimented with different things for a while before I finally found my rhythm. I’m going to share with you how you can finally manage to make exercise a habit.

 

  • #1: Make a decision once and for all that you are going to make exercise a habit

Really, this is the first step, and without a decision you can never move forward.

You might have started exercising and fallen off the wagon many times before. Assess your decision. Did you make it consciously and intentionally? Because chances are, you didn’t it. You were loose about it, taking that decision frivolously.

It’s time to change that. Make a conscious and intentional decision to make exercise a habit. Only then can you successfully embark on exercise.

 

  • #2: Don’t buy that gym membership just yet

Because then you might find yourself paying for a gym you don’t use. A lot of people seem to think buying a gym membership will force them to exercise. Turns out, it doesn’t and it won’t.

So, if you don’t buy that gym membership, how are you going to make exercise a habit? See #3.

 

  • #3: Use your own surroundings to exercise

Your stairs, your backyard, the road, the park. There’s a lot at your disposal for you to make exercise a habit.

I’ve realized that it’s when you make exercise a natural part of your life that it sticks. It’s much more natural to run at your park than it is to run on the treadmill.

We’d like to believe we are evolving with technology. But the truth is, we’ll always gravitate toward what is natural to us, and technology isn’t. But nature is and it’s time for you to use it to make exercise a habit.

 

  • #4: Don’t rely on exercise partners

There’s nothing wrong with finding partners if you want to make exercise a habit.

But the problem arises when the other person lags behind because then you might be tempted to fall behind as well.

What happens when your partner can’t make it to your jog around the park? Or is sick and has to rest for a week, or a month, or longer?

The danger is that you might tie your progress to another person’s and you definitely shouldn’t do that.

Refuse to take on exercise partners when you first begin to make exercise a habit. Go at it alone. Nothing wrong with letting a friend join you once in a while.

But know that you should exercise independently. That means you should also steer clear of personal trainers. Here’s why you don’t need a personal trainer.

 

  • #5: Incorporate rest days

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when you are trying to make  exercise a habit is to never take rest days.

Rest days are critical to a healthy and consistent exercise regime. I recommend that you read 5 reasons why rest days are good for you. Also read how to know when to take a break from exercise.

Rest days allow your body to recuperate and become ready to resume exercise, and you absolutely need that.

Rest days also help you to keep your workouts new and fresh. Never taking rest days can lead to boredom.

You’ll want to read 7 simple tips to cure boredom during exercise.

 

  • #6: Do what you love

You might not know what that is when you first begin exercising. But I promise you will.

Try different things so you can find out what feels good to you. And then stick with that.

You can’t make exercise a habit if you force yourself to do things that don’t feel good to your body.

If you are worried that sooner or later you’ll get bored, don’t worry. That’s not going to happen because as time goes on, you’ll naturally want to challenge yourself more.

This is the first exercise mistake you are making is a post that will definitely interest you.

 

  • #7: Stop looking for the physical evidence of your efforts

Because you might get discouraged when you don’t see it. But know this: You might not see any physical changes in your body after taking on exercise, but improvements in your health have already taken root inside of you.

And how you feel is much more important than how you look. In time though, you’ll begin to see the physical evidence of your efforts. Just be patient.

 

  • #8: Make a commitment to honor all the other components of enjoying a simple healthy lifestyle.

A healthy diet, healthy relationships, personal development and spirituality. You will much more likely succeed to make exercise a habit if you don’t neglect any of these other components.

Remember that it’s fruitless to exercise faithfully while you eat poorly, maintain unhealthy relationships, neglect your personal development and spirituality.

Remind yourself why:

a simple healthy lifestyle requires a good diet.

a simple healthy lifestyle requires healthy relationships.

a simple healthy lifestyle requires spirituality.

 

The final word

You can make exercise a habit just like you’ve made many other habits over the course of your life. But don’t expect things to happen naturally; be prepared to work hard to make your exercise habit stick.

Now is the time to stop making excuses and instead make things happen. You were meant to move your body, so claim that and enjoy a simple healthy lifestyle.

 

Thank you for reading this post. What are your thoughts on it? Do you agree with my tips on how to make exercise a habit? Why or why not? Please share with us by commenting.

5 precautions to take if you exercise while you are sick

Knowing that a simple healthy lifestyle requires exercise, I’ve always had that dilemma of whether or not you should exercise while you are sick, and I know a lot of people are wondering the same thing.

 

A picture for precautions to take if you exercise while you are sick

 

As I write this post, I’m recovering from a cold I’ve had since Saturday. I always rest from exercise on weekends, so I didn’t have to exercise when I first got the cold.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed; but there’s something about standing up to a sickness that just makes it go away, or at least lessens its hold on you. That’s what’s happening with me right now.

Our grandmother moved in with us on Saturday when I was feeling my first symptoms.

On Sunday morning I asked my mother to rush home after church to tend to her so I could sleep in.

But no, I didn’t do that. Because I’m so used to getting out of bed early every morning, I was up and ready for the day before my mother even left for church at 8am.

I thought I’d continue my rest days for the whole of this week until next Monday. But this past Monday, though I still had the cold, I felt a strong desire to exercise.

So I did exactly that, careful not to push my body too hard. As always, I listened to my body, letting it dictate to me what it needed. Read my post on how to listen to your body.

So yes, I didn’t continue my rest days into this week like I’d thought. I’m still exercising every morning though I’m still not back to my normal self.

 

So, what are the precautions to take if you exercise while you are sick?

 

  • Precaution #1: Assess the strength of your sickness

If it’s just a weak cold like the one I had, then I don’t see any reason why you can’t exercise while you are sick.

Remember though that if your sickness is more serious, then you should take a rest day or days depending on the strength and length of your sickness.

I recommend 5 reasons why rest days are good for you.

Also read how to know when to take a break from exercise.

 

  • Precaution #2: Exercise only when your body feels up to it

You can exercise while you are sick if your body feels up to it. It’s all about listening to your body.

I thought my body would feel heavy and tired this past Monday morning; that’s why I anticipated I’d be continuing my rest days throughout this week.

But my body felt ready to go on Monday morning, so there was no need for me to say no.

Be honest with yourself about how your body feels. If you feel fit enough to exercise, then go ahead.

 

  • Precaution #3: Make sure you ease up on your workouts

You should ease up on your workouts if you want to exercise while you are sick. Though my body felt fine on Monday morning, I was aware that I was still sick and that I needed to not put more stress on my body.

You should be careful not to push your body too hard even when you feel like you can handle a strenuous workout.

Remember that your body needs to recover from the sickness. Only then can you push it harder.

If you ease up on your workouts, then you can exercise while you are sick.

 

  • Precaution #4: Exercise in environments where germs are less likely to spread

If you want to exercise while you are sick, then you’ll have to mind your environment for that period.

If you typically exercise inside a gym where you touch all the equipment and share the air inside, then it’s time to step outside to the park where you can jog while breathing in the fresh air.

That’s why I love exercising outdoors and without the use of any equipment. I keep my hands free and enjoy the fresh air.

If you want the air you breathe to be even fresher, then do your workouts in the morning. You’ll want to read here are 5 reasons why morning exercise is better for you.

 

  • Precaution #5: Make sure you have the right intentions for exercising

Remember that your health comes first before everything else. Don’t exercise while you are sick if health takes a backseat to beauty. If you are desperate for that bikini body, that’s a horrible reason to exercise while you are sick.

If exercise is a competition for you and not a genuine key component of enjoying a simple healthy lifestyle, then you are not in a position to exercise while you are sick.

Rather, get some rest especially if your body is screaming at you to do that.

 

The final word

If you love exercise, then there’s absolutely no reason not to exercise while you are sick as long as you are mindful of the precautions mentioned in this post.

Remember that enjoying a simple healthy lifestyle is a journey, not a destination. Don’t deny the strength of your sickness, or be in denial about your body being tired.

Take as many rest days  as you need if you feel really sick. Not even a month off your workouts is going to drag you back as long as you honor all the other key components of enjoying a simple healthy lifestyle like diet, healthy relationships, personal development and spirituality.

 

Thank you for reading this post. Do you exercise while you are sick? Then tell us why and how. Or maybe you don’t exercise while you are sick. Share with us why by commenting.

 

 

Every exercise beginner needs these 10 must-know tips

Everyone has to start somewhere, so if you are an exercise beginner lost as to how you should begin your workouts, then you are in the right place.

 

A picture for 10 must-know tips for an exercise beginnerPhoto by Dom J from Pexels

 

Let me remind you that a simple healthy lifestyle requires exercise. Yet four years ago as an exercise beginner, when I first embarked on my journey of enjoying a simple healthy lifestyle, I had no idea where to start.

To jog or to walk? Were those even enough? Squats? I didn’t even like them and didn’t understand how they worked.

I knew very little about exercising. Though I was determined to exercise, the unknown about exercising was a little off-putting.

But I did it. Four years later, I’m still going strong in my workouts.

 

So, read these 10 tips every exercise beginner must know. I guarantee they’ll work for you.

 

  • Tip #1: Determine why you want to exercise

This tip is very important if you are an exercise beginner. It might seem like an obvious tip. You might be thinking, ‘duh, everyone wants to exercise for better health.’

But don’t take things lightly. Even if that’s a simple question to answer, you have to consciously and intentionally think about it.

You’ll realize that the ‘why’ will surpass the ‘how.’ Though you are lost as to how to start, the ‘why’ of doing it will be strong enough to compel you to start.

 

  • Tip #2: Clearly define your fitness goals

So you are an exercise beginner and you’ve just determined why you want to exercise. Already that’s tremendous progress.

Now, clearly define your goals. Where do you see yourself in fitness in 2 years, 5 years, 10 years and more?

By clearly defining your fitness goals as an exercise beginner, you are propelled even further on your exercise.

 

  • Tip #3: Find exercises that you love

No one told me this as an exercise beginner. I watched YouTube and blindly copied celebrities’ exercise styles.

It took me a long time to learn that I’d never stick to exercise if I kept doing the exercises I hated.

So I soon discovered exercises that worked for me, and I haven’t looked back since.

 

  • Tip #4: Find a time that works for you

If it’s morning, that’s great. Read my post on here are 5 reasons why morning exercise is better for you.

But don’t think for a second that you are doomed if you feel morning exercise is not for you.

Find a time that works for you. If it’s afternoon, go for it; the same thing with evening.

 

  • Tip #5: Take rest days

As an exercise beginner, you want to appropriate rest days into your routine. Just because you are a beginner doesn’t mean you have to kill yourself for two months, exercising everyday.

No, that will just exhaust you so much you might just quit exercising altogether.

Learn to listen to your body so you know when to take rest days. I recommend my post on how to listen to your body.

I also recommend how to know when to take a break from exercise.

Also check out 5 reasons why rest days are good for you.

 

Rest days will give your body the chance to repair and restore itself so you can return to your workouts with vigor.

Exercising for too long can be off-putting, especially for an exercise beginner. It can also lead to boredom. Taking rest days just might be the cure for that boredom.

Read my post on 7 simple tips to cure boredom during exercise.

 

  • Tip #6: Learn from others

It’s OK to learn from others if you are an exercise beginner.

Just remember that at the end of the day, you have to tailor  other people’s advice to better suit you instead of copying the advice just as it is when it clearly doesn’t work for you.

As you do your walk in the park, or around the neighborhood, you’ll definitely meet people who are trying to achieve similar goals. Don’t be scared to spark up a conversation about exercise, or to ask for their advice.

You can’t bring yourself to start a conversation? Then read my post on 12 easy tips to become a good conversationalist.

 

  • Tip #7: Stay away from the mirror

During my time as an exercise beginner, I’d step in front of the mirror everyday to judge my progress, even a mere few days after starting my workouts.

If my thighs burned, then I figured they looked toned. And I was always disappointed to realize that wasn’t the case every time I stepped in front of the mirror.

Stay away from the mirror. The mirror is not the perfect gauge for your progress.

You might not see the benefits of exercise manifested on the outside, but they are already taking place on the inside, even for an exercise beginner. Take pride in that.

 

  • Tip #8: Judge your progress over the long term rather than the short term

This follows perfectly from Tip #7. Exercise as a key component of enjoying a simple healthy lifestyle should be a lifelong journey. You should be firm about that as an exercise beginner.

So instead of judging your progress every month, do it every year. You are in it for the long run, remember? Be patient with yourself.

 

  • Tip #9: Don’t compare yourself to anyone

This is a tip that almost every exercise beginner misses. They want to compare themselves to those people who’ve been exercising for years.

Doing that will just demoralize you. You have to work hard and be patient so you can reach your fitness goals the same way those people did to achieve their own fitness goals.

You’ll want to read my post on how to stop comparing yourself to others.

 

  • Tip #10: Be grateful

Yes. There are many out there who can’t even start exercising. But you’ve made a decision to start. That’s highly commendable.

There’s always plenty to be grateful for even as an exercise beginner. Be grateful that you are alive and that you are taking correct steps to better your life.

Also be grateful for your progress. Gratitude will work wonders in propelling you toward success in your journey of enjoying a simple healthy lifestyle.

 

The final word

I commend you as an exercise beginner for making the decision to make exercise a part of your life. You have to remember to work diligently and patiently to make exercise a habit, just like with everything else in life.

Just take things step by step. Don’t rush into doing anything you are not ready for. Do what works for you and take pride in it. Again, congratulations. You are well on your way to enjoying a simple healthy lifestyle.

 

Thank you for reading this post. Are you an exercise beginner? What are your own tips? Please share with us by commenting.

Or maybe you’ve been exercising for a while now. Please do share your tips of how you managed as an exercise beginner.

5 reasons why rest days are good for you

Many of us are scared of taking rest days off our workouts. We think they’ll drive us back on all the progress we’ve been making. The opposite is actually true. Rest days will ensure we maintain all the progress we’ve been making and position us to keep making more progress. Read on to find out why.

 

A picture of dumbbells for why rest days are good for you

 

We all know that exercise is essential if you want to enjoy a simple healthy lifestyle. Read my post on a simple healthy lifestyle requires exercise.

But we have to remember to give our bodies the rest they need. Don’t push your body too hard.

I used to be one of those people scared to take rest days off workouts. I felt like I was lagging behind whenever I took two days off. If I took a week off, I was beside myself with panic.

But I’ve come to embrace and appreciate rest days now since I started listening to my body. Read this post on how to listen to your body.

Remember that you can’t go wrong when it comes to listening to your body.

Now, here’s why rest days are absolutely good and recommended for you.

 

  • Reason #1: Rest days give your body a chance to recover

I just talked about this. Rest days allow your muscles to repair themselves and for your entire body to recuperate.

If you are really committed to listening to your body, it will clearly tell you when it’s tired. Respond accordingly by giving it as much rest as it needs.

 

  • Reason #2: Rest days allow you to return to your workouts with vigor

If you find yourself getting bored by your workouts, then it might be time for you to take some time off. Most of the time there’s nothing wrong with your workouts, but your body just needs something different.

Without even changing your workouts, taking some time off your routine can provide a solution for that boredom. Just a few days off, or as much time as you need, can bring you back to your workouts feeling fresh to carry on with the same routine.

Read my post on 7 simple tips to cure boredom during exercise.

 

  • Reason #3: Rest days make you want to try new workouts

For me, fresh workout ideas always come to me when I’m having my rest days. Before then I’m just so caught up in my workouts that I hardly have time to think about what I might want to do different.

But when I take a few days off, I always get the desire to try new exercises. You might end up sticking with those exercises, or changing back to your old ones. The point is, rest days give you the time and brain space to think of new ideas.

 

  • Reason #4: Rest days on their own give you an opportunity to exercise naturally

This is similar to the reason above. But this particular reason talks about moving your own body the natural way without consciously taking that as exercise.

Remember that rest days do not mean inactive days. You should still move on your rest days.

But now that you are abstaining from your regular workouts, now is the chance to move your body the way nature intended.

Take a casual walk, walk the kids to school, tend to your garden, do yard work. Get your body moving.

 

  • Reason #5: Rest days allow you to get in touch with your other faculties besides the physical

Now that you are taking time off your regular workouts, you can start reading that book. Or visit that aunt on the other side of town. Or give more attention to your spirituality.

And we all know all the above are key components of enjoying a simple healthy lifestyle.

Working out can sometimes make you feel isolated from the rest of the world especially if you go for hours in the gym.

But taking a break allows you to get back in touch with the normal everyday life and for you to reconnect with the other important things in your life.

 

Note: You should remember to make exercise a healthy habit and make it coexist with the other important elements of a simple healthy lifestyle.

If you find exercise interfering too much into these other elements, then it’s time to sit down, re-evaluate your priorities and make sure to cater for every important element of a simple healthy lifestyle.

 

The final word

Rest days are not evil as some people seem to think. Rest days are an indispensable part of a successful workout routine.

If you insist on exercising continuously without giving your body a break, you’ll eventually tear it down, making it incapable of operating at its best.

Remember to listen to your body and respond to it accordingly. Embrace and appreciate rest days.

 

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you liked it. Do you take rest days off your workout routine? Or are you afraid to do so? Please share with us by commenting.

 

You might also want to read:

What should I do on my off days by nerdfitness.com

How to know when to take a break from exercise

Do you ever wonder how to know when to take a break from exercise? I’m here to help you figure that out.

In our journey of enjoying a simple healthy lifestyle, we’ve already established the significance of exercise.  I talk about that here. But like everything else, when done too much, exercise can become a curse instead of a blessing.

You have to know when to stop so that you body can take the rest it needs to repair itself before you begin exercising again.

 

A picture to take a break from exercise

 

I’m sure you’ve felt like the picture above at some point. I know I have. In fact, for the past two days I’ve been down with flu. When it started, before it manifested itself but I saw signs, I thought of continuing with my exercising.

But then I thought about what I’m writing about right now: the importance of giving your body the rest it needs. So I decided to skip my workouts for the rest of this week and resume next week Monday.

 

So how do you know when it’s time to stop and take a break?

I’ve been exercising for a few years now, long enough to identify the signs telling me that it might be time to put my routine aside and take a break. Let me share with you those signs:

  • When you are trying to work out, but you feel tired even though you got enough sleep last night.
  • When all of a sudden, the very workouts you’ve been enjoying feel like a drag.
  • When you are preparing to exercise and you feel yourself dreading it.
  • When you are exercising and all you can think about is your rest days ahead.

 

These are not the only signs, but I’ve felt these more than the other signs. When I do, I know it’s time to shelve my workouts and take a rest. And I always benefit from doing that because I always come back to my workouts with renewed enthusiasm.

 

A picture to take a break from exercise

 

There are many people who don’t believe in taking rest days. They feel like that one skipped workout is going to derail all the hard work they’ve been doing. They feel like taking some time off is a betrayal to their commitment toward exercising. Rest days are just a concept they do not understand or agree with.

I used to be that kind of person. But that was before I discovered this journey of pursuing a simple healthy lifestyle. I knew the importance of exercising in this journey. The most important thing I understood was that everything I did on my journey was going to be a life long commitment. I was going to be doing it for the rest of my life.

 

With that established, I also knew I was going to have to be smart in everything I did. If I were only exercising for the short term, for example: to get a bikini body for the coming summer, then maybe it would make sense to not take rest days off (it doesn’t make sense, actually). But my journey went beyond this summer to all the others for the rest of my life.

And I wasn’t just exercising to look good, I was exercising to feel good. That meant all seasons of the year, all year round. So then, I had to listen to what my body was telling me. Whenever it told me something, even though it went against everything I’d planned, I knew I had to listen to it. That included listening to it when it told me to take a break from exercising.

You should listen to your body too. You don’t want to be that person who dreads working out simply because you failed to listen when your body told you to stop.

 

A picture to take a break from exercise

 

You have to know that refusing to take a break so your body can rest can actually derail all the hard work you’ve been doing by tearing down your body and making it unfit to carry on more exercise.

 

So what do you do on your rest days?

Rest days don’t mean inactive days. I think people are scared of rest days because they think they have to be inactive. No. Rest days mean you retire from your usual workouts, but you remain active.

You can be active in other things other than your workouts. In fact, you should be active in other things besides your workouts.

  • Continue with your chores and do some of them manually, like washing dishes and doing laundry
  • Walk your kids to school
  • Walk your dog
  • Tend to your garden
  • Walk to the mall

There are many more things you can do. In fact, these things on their own are sufficient to keep your body fit if you do them regularly. Say no to an inactive lifestyle so you don’t have to worry about taking rest days off your workout routine.

Rest days are not a curse, they are a blessing. Treat them as such and enjoy them when they come.

Remember to also get a lot of sleep. Sleep is important whether or not you are on your rest days.

 

A picture to take a break from exercise

 

Like I said, I’ve been down with flu, but I’m feeling like myself again today. But I’ve decided to take the rest of this week off my workouts. I’m continuing to remain active and I’m getting lots and lots of sleep.

 

The final word

A simple healthy lifestyle is not possible without exercise. But you have to approach exercise with a rational mind. You need a break from exercising now and then so your body can get some rest. You are not in a race, take things at your own pace. Listen to your body and know when to stop. Remember, your body will never lie to you.

 

Thank you for reading this post. I had a great time with it after being off the internet for two full days. Please let us know what you think of the post. Do you take rest days off your workouts or are you scared of taking them like many of us are? Let us know in the comments below.