How to Be Healthy Series Make Exercise a Habit

This is part 2 in the How to Be Healthy series. Read part 1 on eating real food.

The Internet is filled with advice on how to be healthy. Some of it is true, a lot of it isn’t. Most of it ignores the core components of physical health in favor of recommending the latest “super” food or juice “cleanse”. These aren’t the tried and true methods that have allowed people to lead healthy lives for decades.

I’ll give it to you straight. If you want to be healthy, focus on building these habits: eating real food, exercising consistently, and getting enough sleep.

There is no substitute for exercise. Just like eating and sleeping, our bodies are designed for exercise in order to function well. The benefits of exercise are clear:

Develop a Routine & Stay Committed

Exercise doesn’t automatically mean you need to work out at the gym. For your exercise habit to last, you’ll need to enjoy it to some degree. Whether you want to supplement a gym routine or skip it altogether, definitely consider these non-gym options:

  1. Find a sport or recreational activity and a friend or team to play with
  2. Go Running, Cycling, Hiking, Walking, Swimming
  3. Try bodyweight exercises: exercises that primarily use the weight of your body to resist your movement. These are push-ups, pull-ups, squats, sit-ups, dips, lunges, and so much more. They’re free, you can do them just about anywhere, and they match everyday movements better than the rigid machines you find at most gyms.
  4. Work out with friends: this keeps both of you motivated, accountable, and makes the whole experience much more fun. Take a second and think of someone you could work out with: a friend, spouse, co-worker, sibling.

How often should you exercise? Well, there’s nothing wrong with exercising every day if you’re not straining yourself, but rest is very important. 3-5x a week of quality exercise is a good goal.

If you’re not used to regular exercise, setting a lofty goal could wear you down rather than build you up to where you want to be. Be realistic with your goals and make them achievable. And when you don’t feel like exercising just do something — no matter how small — to get your body moving and motivation increasing.

In short: find exercises you enjoy, do what you need to make them a habit, and make it fun by bringing a friend along.