John MacAdam

Sticking with Exercise

Sep 25, 2018

For years now, exercise has been a regular part of my life. Exercise makes me feel better, along with obvious health benefits. But, sticking with exercise is not always easy. Here are a few tips from my personal experience:

Simplify Exercise

I recommend starting small and expanding your routine over time. For years I would only do sit-ups and push-ups every night. They were simple. I could do them at home or while traveling. Over time, I added other simple exercises, such as the 7 minute workout or bike riding.

Choose a daily exercise easy enough to perform from your own home. Examples include:

Prioritize Exercise

During my early 20s I had no regular exercise routine. It was not important to me. At least not until my wife became pregnant. The idea of being a father motivated me to level up this part of my life. After prioritizing exercise, finding ways to build it in was easy:

At work: Use your breaks at work to take a walk. Leave comfortable walking shoes at work to reduce a barrier.

Personal time: Can you take a bike ride instead of watching another show?

Family time: Spend some family time outdoors. Our family often finds ourselves hiking at a local metro park.

With Friends: Can you spend time with friends playing sports?

When you've prioritized exercise, there are plenty opportunities to mix it in.

Make Exercise Social

A little social pressure helps when starting a new exercise routine. For years I wanted to build in running but never stuck with it. It finally stuck after my wife and I started running together earlier this year. The same goes for push-ups. The quantity of my daily push-ups increased as soon as I started tracking push-ups with my brother. An accountability partner is motivating.

Make Exercise a Habit

The most important recommendation for exercise is to make it a habit. I have attached exercise routines to other daily habits such as brushing my teeth. To this day, I always do a round of simple exercises after brushing my teeth. It is part of my nightly routine.

My final tip is to track exercise until it becomes a habit. I used to track every exercise in a spreadsheet. A weekly reminder alerted me to review the spreadsheet. The process of tracking and reviewing eventually formed a habit out of exercise.