Making Exercise a Habit, Not a Diet Behavior for Long-term Success

Make exercise a habit, not a diet behavior, for long-term weight management success

Just the sound of the word “diet” can invoke feelings of hunger, frustration or dread. We often think of dieting as a chore, or a punishment for our behavior that makes us hate the “solution.” With that mindset, it’s hard to stay motivated and consistent with our healthy routines.

The Role of Exercise

Exercise is often one of those “chores.” Having to wake up at the crack of dawn to go for a run before work? No thank you! Few of us look forward to a sweaty, challenging workout when we think about things like burning calories and working off that extra cookie from lunch.

But more than a weight-loss tool, exercise is a core component to our well-being. Maybe it’s time we re-think the word. Physical activity is necessary for our body to function at its best. We need it to stay healthy, as it gives us the following health benefits:

  • Increased energy and a heightened mood
  • Better sleep quality and duration
  • Lowered blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Reduced risk for various chronic diseases
  • Strengthened bones, muscles and joints
  • Assistance with weight-loss and management
  • Shortened recovery periods after illness/injury

Make Exercise a Habit You Stick to

It goes without saying that physical activity should be a part of all our daily lives — not just for those of trying to lose a few pounds or even a significant amount of weight. No matter where you are at in your health and/or weight management journey, you should aim for at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

It’s been said that on average, it takes about 30 days to break a habit. However, it may take twice as long to create a new one. Need help making physical activity a habitual part of your lifestyle that you can’t go without? Consider these tips for long-term success:

  • Pencil your workouts into part of your daily and weekly calendars.
  • Incorporate activities you truly enjoy doing, like hiking, kayaking or dancing.
  • Set yourself a reminder to get up, get moving and get active.
  • Lay out your fitness gear if you plan on doing a structured workout.
  • Switch-up your activities so the “work” doesn’t get boring.
  • Make time to get moving with friends, family and fitness buddies.
  • Start small with physical activity and progress as you go.

Want more tips and advice on turning exercise into a habit you won’t break? CLICK HERE to read a previous post from the Your Weight Matters Blog.

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