Women tying laces on running shoes

Make exercise part of your daily routine

10 steps to success

We all know that the best plan of action for getting and staying healthy is to be active every day. Easy-peasy, right? Or is it? If you’re having trouble sticking to an exercise routine, you’re not alone. But the good news is that whatever your fitness level or age, making physical activity an enjoyable part of your everyday routine may be simpler than you think.


Making exercise a habit

While most of us know the benefits of including exercise in our daily routine (boosting energy levels, building strength, reducing the risk of developing a chronic disease, improving coordination and balance, enhancing mood and supporting a great night’s sleep to name just a few!) the tricky bit is being consistent. While poor health or a busy schedule can play havoc with an exercise routine, for most of us the biggest barriers to regular physical activity are mental, whether it’s a lack of self-confidence or a struggle with motivation. So here are our top tips for making exercise part of your daily routine.


1. Getting started

If it’s been a while since you did any physical activity, chat to your GP to get the all-clear before starting a new exercise regime. It’s also a great idea to establish your current fitness level and goals (then you can measure your progress to see how far you’ve come!).


2. Pick out your kit

Don’t worry, you don’t need to be Lycra-clad from head to toe but simple things like wearing the right sneakers for your chosen activity can make a big difference. Choose exercise gear that’s comfortable and practical (and makes you feel good about being active!).


3. Start small

Start slowly and build up gradually. Don’t push yourself too hard too soon and listen to your body. If you experience pain, dizziness, nausea or shortness of breath then take a break (and see your GP if you need to). Remember simple activities throughout the day can make a huge difference to your health.


4. Track your program

Once you’ve identified your fitness goals, a fitness app can help you stay on track by counting your steps or monitoring your heart rate. Start with easy exercise goals you’re comfortable with. Then, once you’re meeting your initial goals, progress on to more challenging ones. You can even share your progress with friends if it helps to keep you motivated.


5. Forget ‘all or nothing’

You don’t need to spend endless hours in the gym to enjoy the benefits of being active – a little exercise is better than nothing! It’s recommended that adults do at least 150 minutes of moderate activity each week. Exercising for 30 minutes, 5 times a week gets you there. Or break it up into two 15-minute workouts or three 10-minute workouts per day if it fits your schedule better.


6. Be kind to yourself

Don’t beat yourself up about your fitness, body, or willpower (or lack of!). Instead look at your previous (possibly less healthy) choices as a chance to learn and grow. Don’t worry if things don’t go to plan every day, remember tomorrow is a new day to try again. Being positive about your journey will increase your chances of succeeding.


7. Manage your expectations

You’re not going to transform your body overnight and expecting too much too soon will only lead to frustration. Instead focus on consistency rather than obsessing over your results. While you might see improvements in your energy levels and mood quickly, physical results can take time.


8. Reward yourself

It takes time and practice to build an exercise routine, so why not give yourself little rewards each time you reach a fitness goal? Something as simple as a coffee after each workout or the promise of a massage or some new fitness gear can help to keep you motivated.


9. Mix things up

If you feel like you’re losing your motivation, try setting fresh goals or substitute a new activity or exercise venue. Whether it’s exercising at the beach, a group fitness class in the park with friends, or checking out some home workouts online, adding variety to your routine will help to keep things interesting. There are so many ways to get moving so find something you enjoy.


10. Monitor your progress

Remember to revisit your fitness goals around six to eight weeks after starting your exercise program. Repeat it every few months to check they’re still right for you and that you’re on track. And don’t forget that little reward you promised yourself!

Being active every day is an important decision, but it shouldn’t be an overwhelming experience. The important thing is to get started. And remember, something is always better than nothing!

Not sure where to start? An exercise physiologist can design personalised programs to support physical and mental health, pain management, or recovery from injury or having a baby. Check your Extras cover for exercise physiology benefits!


Valion Health supports eligible Teachers Health members through the Cancer Support Program.