A woman smiles from the middle of a swimming pool while working out doing lapsWhen you look back on your workout history, do you find that you are good at sticking to a routine? Or do you go to the gym for a few weeks and slowly start to lose momentum? If your workout motivation and excitement tend to decrease, you’re not alone!

So how do you develop a workout habit that you stick to for years to come?

Here are five suggestions that can help you make working out a long-term habit:

1. Do activities you enjoy.

You are much more likely to stick with an activity when having fun. And while it’s true that not all workouts will be 100% enjoyable, if you find yourself never looking forward to your workouts, it might be time to mix things up and try something new. But if you’re unsure about what you enjoy, this is an excellent time to try out a few different activities and figure out what to stick with and what to leave behind.

2. Start with what’s realistic.

When you’re getting back into a regular workout habit, it’s easy to assume that you can pick up right where you left off. However, jumping right in without giving your body time to adjust can lead to excessive soreness, frustration, and other negative feelings. You also risk getting an injury. Instead, start small. You’re more likely to create a successful habit by doing less than by overdoing it on day one.

3. Pick a consistent time of day.

When you’re creating a habit, the less thinking or decision-making required, the better. One decision you can remove is “when” you’ll do your workout. Take a look at your schedule and find a time of day you can almost always fit a workout in. Before work? Lunch? On your way home? Pick a consistent time of day for your workouts and do your best to stick to that time – just like you would stick to any other appointment.

4. Expect obstacles.

Creating a consistent workout habit would be a lot easier if it were possible to work out and not ever run into any obstacles. At some point, your perfectly planned day will get messed up with a last-minute meeting. Or you’ll accidentally leave your gym bag at home. Or rush hour traffic will make you late for the workout class you signed up for. Stay in control of the things that you can and be flexible with everything else.

5. Make sure you take recovery days.

When you’re starting out with a new workout habit and doing activities that you enjoy, it can be hard to take time off. Your body feels good, you’re in a good routine, and you don’t want anything to mess that up. It might sound counterintuitive, but it’s important to make sure that you’re giving your body the proper amount of rest even when you feel good. This will help you avoid potentially overtraining or getting injured and keep you on the right track with building a healthy workout habit.

To get started with a long-term workout habit, the staff and instructors at McKendree Metro Rec Plex are here to help and support you. So, contact us to get started today.