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Building Healthy Exercise Habits

Updated: Oct 10, 2023

It’s hard to form a habit. It takes a long time to make a habit and only a few days to break it.

Exercise is like a magic pill. It takes hard work and persistence, but it has many benefits:

👉Reduces risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, dementia and heart disease

👉Reduces pain severity and can help manage chronic pain

👉Lowers risk of pregnancy related complications for both mum and bub during and after pregnancy

👉Improves mood and sleep

👉Prevents injuries

👉Weight loss and management

Making goals for yourself can help motivate you and keep you accountable when forming a habit.

A good way to set goals is using the SMART format:

⭐Specific – make the goal specific to you. Pick an activity you enjoy. Maybe you enjoy exercising with others or participating in a team sport. Perhaps going for a walk or run on your own is more your thing.

⭐Measurable – this may involve writing down a goal. For example how many days you are going to exercise for or for how long. Maybe it’s a strength related goal for example completing a 30kg leg press. Maybe you want to participate in a charitable fun run/walk.

⭐Achievable – start small. You can always set new goals later on that are more challenging once you’ve built an exercise routine. Pick things you enjoy or can fit into your day for example, park further away and walk to work or get off the train a stop earlier. Even cleaning the house or gardening counts as exercise!

⭐Realistic – start easy. If you haven’t exercised before or exercised regularly for a while start small by exercising 2-3 times per week and build up from there. Same with aerobic exercise and strengthening. Start with exercising for a short amount of time or with low resistance and low repetitions then gradually increase the time and the resistance.

⭐Timely – this means setting a date when you will achieve your goal by. You don’t have to have a date, but it can help you feel you are working towards something and give you a sense of achievement.

❕ Don’t be disheartened if you don’t achieve your goal the first time. It can take most people several attempts and sometimes life commitments take priority. There are also a lot of other factors that can affect your motivation and make it hard to form a habit.

The Australian Governments physical activity and exercise guidelines for adults aged under 65 years old recommends:

👉150-300 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each week

👉Muscle strengthening exercises at least 2 times per week

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