It’s clear that exercise has mental, physical, and health benefits. When you exercise, you can uplift your mood, reduce your risk of illness, and get better sleep. Exercise may even help you live longer.

Yet, if exercise isn’t already a part of your routine, it can be difficult to start fitting physical activity into your life. And after you do start — how will you be able to sustain the exercise in a way that will create lasting results?

Even though you likely already know these, consider these benefits of exercise, as well as some tips to create a sustainable fitness routine.

Benefits of Exercising:

1. Helps to prevent weight gain or maintain weight loss
2. Helps to prevent health issues including high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, and anxiety
3. Improves your mood
4. Helps to manage blood sugar and insulin
5. Boosts energy
6. Improves your sleep
7. Improves sex

Use these tips to exercise consistently and create lasting results:

1. Start with two minutes. When you start with something new like exercise, you want to make it as easy as possible to get started. Limiting your first sessions to two minutes will help you start showing up so that you can transition into the routine of exercising.

2. Make it easy to exercise. The ultimate mind hack to exercise is making it easy. This way, when it comes time to exercise, you’re already on the path of least resistance.

● Set a specific time and place to exercise.
● Put your workout clothes in a specific, open place.
● Prepare your food, shoes, and hydration the night before.

3. Link the exercise with something you already need to do. You can also combine exercise with a task you already do throughout your day.

● Walk or run to work.
● Run to your errands.
● Listen to an audiobook or podcast while you exercise.
● Exercise while watching your favorite television show.
● Take the stairs instead of the elevator.

4. Announce your exercise goal to someone who will hold you accountable. Studies on motivation show that people who tell their friends, family, and colleagues about their goals are more likely to be successful. Telling others about your exercise goals can inspire you to take action.

5. Instead of thinking of working out as something you have to do, think about it as something you want to do. When you look at exercise as something you have to do, you rob yourself of enjoying the process.

6. Choose consistency over intensity. What will happen when you are stressed, ill, or injured? To avoid burning out and losing your motivation to exercise, choose to be consistent with your exercise instead of sticking to a rigid “all or nothing” plan.

7. Accept progress over perfection. Your fitness journey will not be linear. If you focus on trying to be perfect, you run the risk of feeling like you are not progressing at all. If you feel like you’re not progressing, you may find it hard to stay motivated. Realize that any progress is good!

8. Track numbers and progression. Studies show that writing goals, measuring progress, and establishing rewards lead to success. When you keep track of your progression, you can identify what you would like to improve or focus on.

● Plus, you can see the progress you’ve made over a given time, which can motivate you to keep going!
● You can use an app or notebook to track your numbers and progression.

9. Think about the benefits. Studies also show that permanent change comes from reminding yourself of benefits associated with achieving your goals.

● What benefits will you reap by achieving your fitness goals? Maybe you will get more energy, lose weight, or feel more confident.
● Remind yourself why you wanted to start exercising in the first place.

I made myself a little poster that hangs in my bathroom with my “reasons why” so I can see it every day. I’ve listed out all the benefits and why I want to keep myself in shape.

10. Reward yourself. A reward will help train your brain to look forward to exercising and help you achieve your goal.

Exercise can greatly benefit your life. Don’t be afraid to start small as you begin working exercise into your daily life.