22 Ways to Exercise More This Year
If you’re like many Americans, you’d like to get more exercise in your life. Working out has tons of benefits for your physical and mental health, so it’s no wonder that 59 percent of Americans who made resolutions say they’ve vowed to exercise more in 2019.
Of course, starting new habits can be hard. Don’t let that deter you though. Here are 22 tips for exercising more in 2019 so that you can reach all your health goals.
1. Utilize your unique rhythm.
Are you a morning lark or a night owl? Knowing when you prefer to work out can help you reach peak performance. One study found that elite athletes are drawn to sports that suit their naturally-occurring circadian rhythms: for example, people who are naturally early risers were drawn to sports with morning practices. Neither morning nor night exercise is better: just chose the one that will work best for you.
2. Lay out your workout clothes.
Whether you’ll be hitting the gym before the sun rises or after it sets, having your workout clothes laid out (or packed and placed somewhere you’ll see them) is a great physical reminder that you’ve already committed to exercising.
3. Entice yourself with entertainment.
Do you have a favorite podcast or audio book that you’re dying to listen to? Download it, but set a rule: you can only listen while you exercise. Suddenly, fitting in cardio will seem a lot more appealing. This tactic is called “temptation bundling.” One study found that participants who limited their listening to an enticing audiobook to the gym were 51% more likely to work out than the control group.
4. Pick your location wisely.
There are a million ways to exercise, so take time to reflect on what will work best for you. Do you prefer the comfort of your own home? The camaraderie of guided classes at the gym? The fresh air from exercising outside? If you choose a routine that is in your comfort zone, you’re more likely to enjoy the exercise time and therefore stick with it.
5. Take the kids.
One of the biggest barriers for parents who want to exercise is childcare. Select a gym that has a drop-off daycare that you can take advantage of. Then savor the sweet alone time while you get your sweat on.
6. Don’t be afraid to go small.
Sometimes, finding a 30- or 60-minute block of time to get to the gym can seem impossible. On those days, you’ll still get health benefits from doing short, five-minute bursts of exercise. Do some sit-ups during commercials, take the stairs at work, and find other small ways to get your heart racing during the day.
7. Use the buddy system.
A little accountability goes a long way. Having a workout partner is linked to getting more exercise. If you’re someone who doesn’t like to let other people down, plan to meet a friend for a run, walk, or exercise class. You’ll be less likely to skip if you know you’re leaving someone else hanging. And the benefits are even greater if your buddy is emotionally supportive.
8. Get to bed on time.
Sleep is super-important, and being well-rested can help you feel energetic enough to exercise. It can also help you fall asleep quicker and improve sleep quality. Worried about evening exercise hurting your ability to fall asleep? Research shows that’s an old wives’ tale: exercising at night doesn’t interfere with sleep for most people.
9. Join a class.
Bored of the same routine every workout? Try an exercise class that you wouldn’t normally take, whether it’s yoga, pilates, Zumba or step. You’ll stretch your mind and your muscles learning the new moves.
10. Get moving on dates.
Too often, date nights involve lots of food and drink, and not a lot of movement. Instead of eating a rich meal, meet your friends or spouse for an active date, like rock climbing, ice skating, or laser tag. It will be fun and exciting—and have the added benefit of helping strengthen your relationship, too.
11. Track your progress.
Fitness trackers are more popular than ever, and even your smartphone can track your steps these days. Research shows that using trackers like these can encourage more exercise and healthy habits over time.
12. Stay consistent.
Although exercising any time of day can be beneficial, science shows that exercising at the same time each day can lead to the formation of a habit in as little as six weeks. So, pick a time that works for you and stick to it.
13. Work out at home.
If you’re really crunched for time, working out from home is a great option that will save you the 20 minutes or more that you’ll spend getting to and from the gym. There are a plethora of videos and apps that make working out at home a cinch.
14. Use your days off.
It’s understandable that you can’t spend ages in the gym on days that you work, so utilize the weekends for longer workouts like walks, bike rides, or long swims.
15. HIIT it hard.
If you don’t have much time, do a workout that incorporates high-intensity interval training (HIIT). This type of workout will keep your metabolism up for hours after you leave the gym.
16. Don’t underestimate walking.
It’s easy to overlook the benefits of walking, but authors of one study concluded that “a surprisingly small increase in walking was associated with meaningful health benefits.” Walking just four blocks a day had statistically significant effects on health.
17. Challenge yourself.
Working toward a specific fitness goal is a great way to stay motivated. Measure your progress by doing the same exercises every six weeks and evaluate your progress. Can you do more pushups in a minute? Can you run or walk a mile faster than you could before? Even small improvements can keep you motivated to continue.
18. Sign up for a race.
Knowing that you have a race coming up will keep you committed to your training regimen. Whether you’re walking a 5K or running a marathon, training podcasts like the Couch to 5K program can keep you engaged.
19. Get a subscription.
If you like changing things up, an online exercise program that delivers new workouts all the time will keep you motivated. Programs like Daily Burn are perfect for people who need to work out in a hurry.
20. Take progress pictures.
If you’re unhappy with your body, you might resist getting in front of the camera. But taking pictures of your body every six weeks is a great way to highlight changes you otherwise might not notice. Post them on social media if that motivates you, but you can also just keep the photos for yourself.
21. Measure your success.
The scale doesn’t tell the whole story, so take measurements of your waist, hips, thighs, and arms to see how your body is changing with consistent exercise. You’ll see yourself losing inches where you want and gaining muscle in other areas.
22. Pay attention to the mental benefits.
Exercise doesn’t just have physical benefits; it can alleviate depression and improve mood. Note how exercising makes you feel, both during and after your workout.