Habits of People Who Love To Workout
- By Dr. Jenni Bruning Brown
- May 31, 2015
The 5 Habits of People who Love Working Out (and end up sticking with it!)
We all know who they are. The person you get a text from at 6:15am who has already returned from their morning workout. The girl in the fitness class next to you who lets out a big “whoop!” and you can just tell how happy she is to be there. Or someone in your office who rushes out at lunch with gym bag in hand and running shoes on, headed to their favorite spin class. What makes these people love working out and be so committed? There are ways you can fall in love with your workout too. Experts say you can teach yourself to enjoy exercise as long as you follow these tips:
- Get your beats going. Resesarch has shown that music distracts you when you’re tired, but it also helps you exercise longer and more intensely. One of the world’s leading experts in the field, Costas Karageorghis of Brunel University, wrote that one could think of music as a “type of legal performance-enhancing drug.” He recommends using music to improve your results, noting that people exercise longer and more vigorously to music, and it distracts them from fatigue.” He recommends compiling a playlist of your favorite music. If you’re looking for a little extra motivation, here’s an inspired playlist to get help you get your sweat on.
- It’s not about the bass. While many of us are motivated by getting a six-pack, or shaping up for our upcoming beach vacation, these aren’t the things that will keep us happy and motivated long term in our workouts. Dr. Jenni Bruning Brown, a sport psychologist, says that rather than focusing on losing weight, “think about what you will gain if you feel better physically. If you are able to do more, have more energy and feel better about yourself for striving toward your goals you’ll have much more incentive to keep going,” she says. If exercise makes you feel healthier while doing it and afterward, then the results should start to follow.
- Give yourself a treat, but not a cookie. To make something a habit, research shows that it has to be reinforced in a positive way for at least 30-60 days. When you first start, it isn’t a habit and you’ll have to work to make yourself go at times, and be thinking “I am so tired, do I really have to run after work today?” A great way to reinforce yourself is to give yourself rewards for your successes. Dr. Bruning Brown had one of her clients that had pedicure appointments every other weekend if she made it to each of her scheduled runs during the week. Her toenails wouldn’t get pampering if she hadn’t met her goals–that way encouraged herself to keep running. It’s also a good idea to have smaller rewards in between, like a smoothie every once in a while (just not a cookie!) or perhaps a new book. Anything you can think of to get you motivated will do the trick.
- Do things you enjoy. Don’t waste time doing things you hate. If you hate running, don’t do it. Begin with an exercise class or activity that you have already done or know you enjoy. If there is something new you want to try, go for it. Remember that exercise includes all sorts of activities as well–gardening, bike rides with the kids, walking the dog–even non traditional activities are things that can get you more active.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. There are going to be lots of times when we have to adjust our workout schedules. Life sometimes just gets in the way. Bruning Brown suggests that we avoid black-and-white thinking such as “I’ve blown it” if we miss a few workouts. Research shows that the less rigid you are about your routine, the more likely you are to keep it up. “Determine a minimum and maximum number of days you’d like to exercise each week. That way if you miss a day of Spin Class, you won’t beat yourself up, knowing you’ll get back to it tomorrow, and it isn’t the end of the world,” she says.