Each January, people around the world resolve to be more physically active. The benefits of routine exercise are too numerous to cite, but some of the more notable ones include a lower risk for chronic disease and illness, improved self-esteem, and greater overall health. In fact, a recent survey regarding 2023 New Year’s resolutions revealed that the most popular one last year was to exercise more. However, a 2021 study published in the International Journal of Environment Research and Public Health found that 64% of people abandon their resolutions within a month of making them.

Exercising more requires commitment, but there are some ways to make it a little easier to maintain that commitment over the long haul.

  • Break it up. The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health notes that people don’t need to exercise in one intense session to reap the rewards of physical activity. If time is tight, break up a workout over the course of your day. Some strength-training exercises in the morning can be followed up with a brisk walk or run over a lunch break. This approach makes it easier to fit a full workout into your daily routine.
  • Employ the buddy system. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that working out with a partner increases exercise motivation and encourages individuals to be more consistent with their exercise routine, so they do not let their partners down. A 2019 study published in the International Journal of Research in Exercise Physiology found that a buddy system is an effective motivation strategy for people who want to exercise more, as individuals are more likely to exercise with a friend than they are if they go solo.
  • Schedule exercise time. Busy professionals book time in their schedules for work meetings, family obligations, and other daily tasks, and the T.H. Chan School of Public Health recommends doing the same with exercise. Allotting time to exercise daily may decrease the likelihood that you’ll skip a workout, and once results start to manifest, you may be more motivated to stay the course.
  • Identify what progress looks like for you. It’s easy to become discouraged if a commitment to routine exercise does not produce visible results. But just because your abs are not becoming chiseled in a month, or the scale is not reflecting significant weight loss, does not mean your routine is not working. As our bodies age, it becomes more difficult to transform them. But that does not mean the exercise isn’t working and helping you get healthier. Speak with a physician and identify what progress from a workout routine might look like for someone your age. Progress may now be different than it was years ago, but if the end result is a healthier you, then that should be all the motivation you need to keep going.

It’s no secret that making a commitment to routine exercise can be difficult. But, various strategies can increase the likelihood that you will stay the course as you seek to exercise more frequently.