3 Steps to Make Exercise A Part of Your Routine

What’s your relationship with exercise? Do you enjoy it, dread it or simply don’t do it? I love to exercise! The American Heart Association recommends that you get at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per week, but most of the time it’s hard for people to find the motivation to exercise. Exercise brings not only physical benefits but mental benefits too because your mind and body are intertwined so when your body is happy and healthy your mind will follow suit.

 

Photo by Logan Aitken (@livinglolo_)

When you exercise, your brain produces dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine. Serotonin and dopamine are responsible for our mood and energy and they need to be in balance for us to feel good. Norepinephrine is also produced in the brain and released in your bloodstream, which helps control stress and anxiety and regulates your mood. Exercise works like medication, so when neurotransmitters such as these become too low in the brain, it causes improper balance and negative mood changes happen. So if you’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed or having a bad day, just get outside and exercise. But if you’re not yet an exercise enthusiast, here’s how to become one.

 

1.) Identify your roadblocks.

Think about what challenges you or what you don’t like about exercise. Are you intimidated at the gym? Do you not have enough time or do you just dread certain exercises? Everyone has obstacles in their lives but identifying them is the first step to overcoming them.

 

2.) Find your passion and your motivation.

Any exercise is good exercise! If going to the gym isn’t your favorite, then don’t. Do something else! It’s key to find what interests you whether it be walking, running, weightlifting, taking a spin class or doing yoga. If you enjoy what you’re doing, you’re ten times more likely to stick with it. You also have to find your motivation. Normally if you don’t have a good reason to do something, then you most likely won’t do it so try setting small and achievable goals to keep you motivated. If you’re a runner, try to increase your mileage or run a faster pace. If you like yoga, strive to do a harder pose. Small goals are great goals.

 

3.) Make exercise a habit.

This is the last step to making exercise a part of your daily life. Try making a schedule of when you’re going to exercise and what you’re going to do. It’s all about being prepared and having a plan so when the time comes to exercise, you are ready to go.

 

Being motivated and making exercise a habit is the key to success. I have learned that the best way to identify and overcome this barrier is self-evaluation. If you find something that motivates you intrinsically as well as extrinsically, then exercise and goal setting is more attainable. Staying positive with realistic goals will help bring positive results. I have found that exercise is about staying active, feeling good and having fun. There is never a good enough excuse to quit being active. If you value living the healthiest version of you, both mentally and physically, then make it happen and get up and move. Incorporating physical activity will help maintain mental clarity and health in your life that you deserve and in return, your mind and body will thank you.