Exercise is good for us, but developing a habit of daily exercising is extremely hard for most, if not all the people. Regular exercise is associated with lower mortality rates, lower rates of cancer and lower rates of cardiovascular illnesses. How can we exercise more?
I have struggled with developing this habit, and at times, I am still struggling with it. I have recently read a great book called Atomic Habits by James Clear. In this book, he describes different techniques to develop and keep habits. And the biggest issue is that we want to increase our exercise straight away to the level that we want to be at, like exercising 30min per day. We stick with this new habit for 3-5 days, and then we stop and never restart it (usually). And then we think that we are bad at exercising. A similar thing happens with most habits that we plan to develop at the beginning of a New Year with our New Year resolutions. And how many of these habits did we manage to establish?
What this book recommends are two things to develop a longstanding exercise habit (with my adaptations). I find it easier to exercise in the morning, but you can change the time and create a routine that is best for you.
I have to say that this advice works, I have tried it. What did I do? I get my exercise clothes, yoga mat and other things for yoga ready the night before, and I leave them in the lounge. I placed my alarm next to my gear, so I have to get out of the bed to turn the alarm off. Now that I have turned it off, I might as well get changed and exercise.
I had found that I did the exercise previously when I got out of the bed, but if I did not, then the exercise would not happen. This way, I am doing yoga every day of the week, and my back is feeling better for it. I still at time struggle to do the exercise if I feel like I am running out of time, I should try and do 10 or 15 min of yoga, and this would be better then not doing it at all.
I hope that you will find this useful and that it will help you to develop a habit or a routine that you wish to build.
Would love to hear from everyone who is trying to use this advice to increase exercise or develop any other habit. I would also like to hear about any tricks that you have found useful or any difficulty that you may have. I will keep you posted with how I am going.
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I am Breast, Endocrine and General Surgeon.
Wakefield Specialist Medical Centre
99 Rintoul St, Newtown
Waikanae Specialist Centre
Boulcott Specialist Centre
666 High Street, Boulcott