You’ve made a great start by challenging yourself. Here’s how to keep that healthy habit going strong.
The final part of the Make Your Move Challenge is to start building on all the work you’ve done so you can turn movement into a habit. That’s not always easy, since it can feel like you’re finished when a challenge is complete. Instead, SilverSneakers fitness expert Larysa DiDio suggests seeing it as a starting point.
“When you take on something like a SilverSneakers challenge, think of it as a jumpstart toward a healthy habit that you can make your own,” she says. “What’s important is to find ways that work for you and your situation because creating new habits can be very personal.”
Here are some momentum tips from DiDio that can help. If a certain strategy doesn’t work for you, that’s OK. “You’re looking to build a lifelong foundation of exercise and sometimes that takes time,” says DiDio. Try some of these ideas to see what fits.
Momentum Builder #1: Create a Schedule
Spend some time writing down your workouts as if they’re appointments you need to keep — and think of them that way, DiDio suggests. You would hesitate before cancelling or rescheduling an appointment with your doctor, dentist, or even hair stylist. Make yourself a priority by seeing those blocks of time as essential, not optional. More tips for your schedule:
Be realistic. If working out for an hour every single day seems daunting, ease in by scheduling two or three days per week. That way, you can do workouts other days if you feel like it, but you’re not making an overwhelming commitment.
Pick a good time. You’ve likely gotten some idea over the course of the challenge or other challenges about what time of day is best for you when it comes to exercise. Some people love exercising in the morning, for example, while other people thrive on that “after work” time slot even if they’re retired.
Set a reminder. Either create an electronic calendar reminder on your phone or use a sticky note someplace visible, like your bathroom mirror. Even though you’d probably remember without it, this kind of nudge can give you a little more motivation.
Sign up for classes. With a SilverSneakers LIVE online class, you’re able to RSVP to hold your spot in the class, the same as you would for an in-person class.
Momentum Builder #2: Recruit a Friend
Habits are easier to keep when you team up. Working out with a friend, your spouse, or another family member can make exercise more enjoyable, says DiDio. And you don’t even need to be in the same area to make it happen. For example, you could both take a SilverSneakers LIVE class and then chat about it afterward. That will make you feel more connected — both to the exercise and to each other.
Momentum Builder #3: Buy New Workout Clothes
Never underestimate the power of new gear! You don’t need fancy yoga pants or an expensive outfit to get a good workout, but having clothes that you wear only when you exercise can be a signal to your brain that when you put them on, you’re ready to get moving.
If you want to work out in the morning but have trouble nudging yourself, put your workout clothes right by the bed or in the bathroom so you change into them first thing. This is a great preparation step to get you motivated.
As you start working out more often, write down what tends to work best for you and your schedule. You’ll likely find you can create your own little motivation tricks that are perfect for your routine. For example, that might include:
- Dancing for a few minutes before your workout
- Signing up for a 5K walk/run a few months from now
- Getting a step tracker and trying to beat your daily step count from the week before
- Trying different workouts, like SilverSneakers Yoga or Zumba Gold
“Like any healthy habit, the more automatic you can make the action, the easier it will be to keep up,” says DiDio. “Make exercise a fun, regular part of your schedule and it can become a habit in no time.”
Try this today: Pick a SilverSneakers LIVE or SilverSneakers Community online class to join today. Even better, identify two or three that you’d like to take this week, and go ahead and RSVP and mark them in your calendar!
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