Sneaky Ways to Make Exercise a Habit

woman working out


When it comes to exercise, most of us have the best of intentions, but it's all too easy for busy schedules, Netflix or the snooze button to get in the way. Before you know it, weeks or months go by without breaking a sweat. But here's the good news—if you're ready to get back into it, incorporating fitness into your life doesn't have to be difficult. If you're looking for ways to make exercise an automatic part of your routine, these tips can make the process a little easier.

Schedule a sweat session. 

If you want to make exercise a non-negotiable part of your day, add it to your calendar, and treat it like an important meeting. You wouldn't blow off a work event or a conference call, right? If you give your workout the same respect, we guarantee you'll be more likely to get it done. Plus, checking something off your to-do list always feels motivating!

Keep your workout gear front and center. 

Have you ever heard  the saying, "Out of sight, out of mind?" When it comes to exercise, your motto should be the opposite. Sleep in your workout gear to help resist the call of the snooze button, keep your gym bag by the front door or store your yoga mat on the couch. Having a visual reminder will help you make the conscious decision to follow through on your workout.

Get creative. 

Exercise doesn't always have to look like an hour at the gym. If you live within a few miles of work, consider a walk, run or bike commute. Or use your lunch hour to walk up and down stairs and perform body weight exercises like squats and lunges. Not a fan of traditional exercise? A vigorous hour of housecleaning or yard work can count too!

Make it social.

Ask your pals to substitute an indoor cycling or yoga class in lieu of your usual happy hour. Or check out your local running store—many organize group runs after work or on the weekends. Exercising with friends will make the time fly by, we promise. Having others keeping you accountable can go a long way in helping you follow through because no one wants to hear, "We missed you last night—where were you?"

Go streaking.

A fully clothed, exercise streak, that is. Commit to a 30-day running or walking streak (where you log at least one mile every single day) or vow to attend 20 yoga classes in a month. These challenges can be tough but having a lofty goal can also be extremely motivating. To complete the challenge, you'll have to adopt a "no-excuses" mentality, which can help create a routine.

Follow the 10-minute rule.

Not feeling like exercising today? Commit to just 10 minutes. Whether it's a quick stretch session, a 1-mile jog or a walk around the block, a little bit of sweat is better than nothing. If you find yourself getting overwhelmed by an all-or-nothing mentality, keep your expectations low. You don't have to run a marathon to create an exercise habit—even a little bit of movement is great for your health!

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About the Author

Megan Harrington

Megan is a writer and RRCA certified running coach who lives and trains in rural upstate New York. She ran track and cross-country competitively in high school and college and now focuses on the half-marathon and marathon distance. When she's not running, Megan enjoys coaching fellow runners (www.runnerskitchen.com), snow-shoeing, hiking and digging around in her garden.
Megan is a writer and RRCA certified running coach who lives and trains in rural upstate New York. She ran track and cross-country competitively in high school and college and now focuses on the half-marathon and marathon distance. When she's not running, Megan enjoys coaching fellow runners (www.runnerskitchen.com), snow-shoeing, hiking and digging around in her garden.

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