We know that exercise is healthy for mind, body and spirit, yet it can be so tough to stick to a routine at times. I know that personally, even though I consider myself a fitness nut and love many forms of exercise, it can be easy to fall out of the habit. An illness, an injury or even a particularly busy month at work can often be all it takes to bring us from regular exercise to total stagnation. Here are my 10 keys to keeping exercise consistent:
1 | Bring a buddy
For me, the easiest way to ensure that I get in my workout is to invite a friend. You’re less likely to flake out on exercise if you’ve involved a friend or family member into the plan. The trick is to make sure it’s someone who’s not going to cancel on you! Once you’ve established that your friend is into the idea and have shown that they’re accountable, make it a regular occurrence in your calendar, so you don’t have to think to schedule it. Monday nights you meet with your bestie and walk the Silverlake Reservoir. BOOM!
2 | Join a group
There are tons of fitness groups on Meetup — any type of workout you can imagine is on there. And these activities are often free. A convenient aspect of going this route is that you don’t have to plan the event or work around a friend’s schedule — just find a group that meets at a convenient time and location and there you go!
3 | Make it fun
If you’re dreading your workout, you’re likely to find a reason not to do it! In other words, the workout that’s fun is the workout that gets done. Hate running? Try a brisk walk instead. Enjoy nature? Go for a hike. Love dancing? Take a Zumba class. With so many different workout options (especially here in Los Angeles) the world is your oyster.
4 | Find a deal
Gym and studio memberships can get pretty pricey, making it hard for some people to get a consistent workout routine going. Luckily, there are lots of free or donation options such as yoga in the park, running groups, hiking crews, etc. Find them online or ask around. Also, tons of local studios offer intro promos for the first week or month of membership. Take advantage! You’ll feel great about getting in shape on a budget, as well as making friends in the process.
5 | Get it done early
We’ve all been there…you had grand plans to exercise after work, but you get home and you’re exhausted! You barely have enough energy to watch a movie, much less sweat it out on a run. Instead, get your workout done in the morning before work. That way, you have plenty of energy for the day and you don’t have to summon the willpower to work out at the end of a long day.
6 | Plan ahead
It’s hard to get folks out on a hike the night before. Instead of trying to squeeze in your workout last minute, plan out your workouts ahead of time. This will help keep you in the mindset of prioritizing exercise, as well as give you time to invite friends along. Consider using one of these fun printable workout schedules for yourself to get in the habit.
7 | Use an app
MindBody is an awesome scheduling and class purchasing tool that can be found in any app store. The user interface is easy to use and well-organized. Find a class, book and get ready to sweat! ClassPass is a membership program and app that allows one to workout at a number of studios for a low monthly price. Couch to 5k is an amazing app that coaches you all the way from couch potato to being prepared to run a 5k race.
8 | Set a goal
In order to start running consistently, it helps to sign up for a running event — say a 5k — to have something to work towards. Or to start hiking regularly, maybe there’s a particular mountain — like Mt. Baldy — that you’d like to summit. Setting these kinds of goals keeps our eyes on the big picture, helping us stay focused on the process.
9 | Keep it realistic
Remember that our fitness goals need to be realistic in order to remain consistent with the action. If we expect ourselves to go from zero exercise to running a marathon in a month, not only can we damage our bodies, but we can become discouraged and give up entirely. Set goals that you believe are achievable and adjust as necessary — ramping it up or slowing it down depending on your body’s response.
10 | Track your progress
Track your progress! Journal about your workouts by simply writing down what you did (i.e. hiked 7 miles; 60-minute yoga class, etc.), how you felt before during and after the workout. Not only will this give you an opportunity to reflect on how the exercise made you feel, but you also get to see how much improvement you’ve made towards your exercise goals.
I hope these tips have been helpful to you. They’ve certainly helped me develop an active lifestyle and jump back on the horse each time I’ve fallen off. Now I’d love to hear from you! What are your favorite techniques to make sure you stay on top of your physical activity? Thanks in advance!
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This post is meant for educational purposes only and isn’t a substitute for diagnosis, assessment or treatment of mental conditions. If you need professional help, seek it out.
About the author
Hi! I'm Natalie. And my passion is helping ambitious, creative millennials achieve everything they want in life, career and relationships. I provide in-person therapy in Pasadena and online therapy throughout California. Click here to get started.