How Long Does It Really Take to Make Exercise a Habit?

Regular exercise is crucial for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. However, many people struggle to make exercise a habit. Starting an exercise routine is easy, but sticking to it can be challenging. The question remains: how long does it take to make exercise a habit?

According to research, it takes an average of 66 days to form a new habit. However, this number can vary depending on the individual and the activity. Some people may find it faster to develop the habit of exercising daily, while others may take longer. It is important to understand that forming a habit of exercising takes time and effort, but it is achievable with patience and consistency and can be life-changing.

Developing a habit of exercise requires commitment and dedication.

The key is to start small and gradually increase the intensity and duration of the workout. It is also important to find an activity that you enjoy and fits your lifestyle. With time and persistence, exercise can become a natural part of your daily routine, leading to a healthier and happier life.

How To Become Obsessed With Working Out

Here’s a list of the major points to consider when rowing for exercise: Click on any link below to quickly access any of those topics.

The habit of exercising can be truly life-changing. Regular physical activity has been shown to have numerous health benefits, both physical and mental. Exercising several times a week can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, as well as improve overall cardiovascular health.

It can also help improve mental health by reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression and improving overall mood. You’ll have more energy, get better sleep, and find it easier to maintain a healthy weight. Get obsessed with working out, and you’ll experience these benefits and more.

Understanding the Concept of Habit Formation

Habit formation is the process of creating a new behavior that becomes automatic and unconscious over time. When you repeat a behavior over and over again, your brain takes over, and the behavior becomes automatic.

To make exercise a habit, it’s important to understand that it takes time. According to research, it can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days to form a new habit, with an average of 66 days. This means that it’s important to be patient and consistent with your exercise routine.

Behavioral scientists have identified several key factors that contribute to habit formation:

  • Repetition: Repeating a behavior consistently over time is necessary for habit formation.
  • Consistency: Performing the behavior at the same time and in the same context can help reinforce the habit.
  • Triggers: A cue or trigger can help initiate the behavior and make it more automatic.
  • Reward: A reward or positive outcome can help reinforce the behavior and make it more likely to be repeated.

Understanding and implementing these factors into your focus on making exercise a habit can help you make it a lifestyle. For example, you could exercise at the same time each day, in the same location, and with the same workout routine. And then reward yourself after each workout with something you enjoy, like a healthy snack or a relaxing bath.

You have to be careful with rewarding yourself with snacks. You don’t want your reward to be more fat to deal with, right?

By understanding the concept of habit formation and applying these principles to your exercise routine, you can increase your chances of making exercise a long-term habit that becomes automatic and effortless.

The Time Frame for Making Exercise a Habit

how long does it take to form a habit
The time it take to exercise is insignificant compare to the benefits

Based on my research, it takes an average of 66 days to make exercise a habit. However, this can vary depending on individual factors such as motivating yourself to workout, routine, and lifestyle.

It is important to establish a regular exercise routine in order to make it a habit. You’re just about going to have to set aside a specific time each day for exercise. I’ve found that having a workout partner can really help me stay motivated, regular, and on time.

Regular exercise has so many benefits for both your physical and mental health that it is important to make it a priority in your daily routine. Starting with small, achievable goals and gradually increasing intensity and duration will help make exercise a habit that sticks.

Overall, it is important to be patient and persistent when you are establishing a regular exercise routine. With dedication and consistency, exercise can become natural and something you look forward to doing every day.

The Role of Motivation in Exercise Habit Formation

Motivation plays a critical role in forming an exercise habit. Without motivation, it’s almost impossible to establish a regular exercise routine and stick to it. Motivation is the driving force behind almost all of our actions, and it is what keeps us going when things get tough.

Setting goals is an excellent way to stay motivated.

Goals give us something to work towards and provide a sense of accomplishment when we achieve them. When setting exercise goals, it’s important to make them specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).

For example, instead of saying, “I want to get in shape,” a more specific goal would be, “I want to run a 5K in six months.”

Rewarding yourself is a strong motivator

Another way to stay motivated is to celebrate small successes along the way. For example, if you’re trying to establish a regular exercise routine, reward yourself each time you complete a workout.

These simple rewards are positive mental reinforcements that will help you stay motivated and make exercise a habit.

Keeping a positive mindset about exercise

Having the right mindset is also crucial for exercise habit formation. It’s essential to view exercise as a positive experience rather than a chore.

Instead of saying, “I have to go to the gym,” try saying, “I get to go to the gym.” This simple change in mindset can make a significant difference in how you approach exercise.

I’ve found that how I talk to both myself and others about my workouts actually changes my attitude about the effort and work involved.

In summary, motivation, goal-setting, celebrating small successes, and having the right mindset are all essential components of exercise habit formation. By focusing on these factors, you can establish a regular exercise routine and make it a habit that sticks.

Health Benefits of Regular Exercise

Regular exercise has numerous health benefits that can positively impact various aspects of our lives. Here are some of the ways exercise can benefit our health:

Heart Health

Exercise is beneficial for the heart and helps to improve blood circulation and strengthen the heart muscles. Regular exercise can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure.

Body Weight

Regular exercise helps with weight management by burning calories and increasing muscle mass. It also helps reduce body fat and prevent obesity.

Stress Reduction

Exercise is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety. It helps release endorphins, which are natural mood elevators, and reduce the levels of stress hormones in the body.

Sleep Quality

Regular exercise improves my sleep quality by promoting relaxation and reducing stress. It also help to regulate the sleep-wake cycle and improve the duration and quality of my sleep.

Energy and Mood

Exercising several times a week will boost your energy levels and improve your mood by increasing the production of endorphins. It also helps to reduce feelings of fatigue and improve overall well-being.

In conclusion, regular exercise has numerous health benefits that can positively impact various aspects of our lives. Incorporating exercise into our daily routine can help to improve heart health, manage body weight, reduce stress, improve sleep quality, boost energy levels, and improve overall well-being.

Setting Up an Exercise Routine

Creating a consistent exercise routine can be challenging, but it is an essential component of making exercise a habit. Here are a few tips that I have found helpful in establishing an exercise routine:

  1. Set a goal: Start by setting a specific and achievable goal for your exercise routine. This will help you stay motivated and focused on your progress.
  2. Create a plan: Develop a plan that outlines the type of exercise you will do, how often you will do it, and for how long. Be sure to include a variety of exercises to keep your routine interesting and challenging.
  3. Schedule your workouts: Set aside specific times in your daily routine for exercise and treat them as non-negotiable appointments. Use a calendar or workout planner to help you stay organized and on track.
  4. Start small: Begin with a manageable exercise routine and gradually increase the intensity and duration over time. This can help prevent burnout and injury.
  5. Track your progress: Keep a record of your workouts and progress towards your goal. This can help you stay motivated and identify areas where you may need to adjust your routine. I keep a simple spiral notebook beside me at all times. This way I keep a record of reps, miles, intensity, and sets so that I am always working towards progressing.

Remember, establishing an exercise routine takes time and effort, but the benefits are well worth it. By setting a goal, creating a plan, scheduling your workouts, starting small, and tracking your progress, you can establish a consistent exercise routine and make exercise a habit.

Choosing the Right Exercise for You

When it comes to exercise, one size does not fit all. Choosing the right type of exercise is crucial for making it a habit and sticking with it. Here are some factors to consider when selecting an exercise:

Fitness Level

Your fitness level is a key factor in choosing the right exercise. If you are a beginner, start with low-impact exercises such as walking, swimming, or yoga. As your fitness level improves, you can gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts.

Personal Preferences

Choosing an exercise that you enjoy is essential for making it a habit. If you hate running, don’t force yourself to do it. Instead, try different activities such as dancing, cycling, skiing, tennis, or golf. Experiment until you find an exercise that you look forward to doing.

Time and Convenience

Another important factor is the time and convenience of the exercise. If you have a busy schedule, choose an exercise that you can do at home or close to your workplace. If you prefer to exercise outdoors, consider activities such as walking, running, or cycling.

Gym vs. Home Workout

Deciding whether to join a gym or exercise at home is a personal choice. If you prefer the social aspect of working out and having access to a variety of equipment, a gym may be the best option. However, if you prefer the convenience and privacy of working out at home, there are many home workout options available.

In conclusion, choosing the right exercise is crucial for making it a habit. Consider your fitness level, personal preferences, time and convenience, and whether to join a gym or exercise at home. With the right exercise, you can make fitness a part of your daily routine and enjoy the many benefits of regular physical activity.

Incorporating Exercise into Daily Life

When it comes to making exercise a habit, it’s important to find ways to incorporate it into your daily routine. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Morning workouts: Try waking up 30 minutes earlier to fit in a quick workout before starting your day. This can help you establish a consistent exercise routine and set a positive tone for the rest of your day.
  • TV workouts: Instead of sitting on the couch during commercial breaks, use that time to do some quick exercises. You can do squats, lunges, push-ups, or sit-ups, all while still enjoying your favorite TV show.
  • Stairs: Taking the stairs instead of the elevator is a great way to get some extra exercise into your day. It may not seem like much, but over time, those extra steps can add up.
  • Dog walks: If you have a dog, take them for a walk around the block or to the park. Not only will you get some exercise, but your furry friend will love the extra attention.
  • Mall walking: If the weather is bad, consider heading to your local mall for a walk. Many malls have designated walking areas, so you can get some exercise in while window shopping.
  • Park workouts: Head to your local park for a workout. You can do bodyweight exercises like push-ups, squats, and lunges, or bring along some resistance bands for an added challenge.
  • Vacuuming: Believe it or not, vacuuming can be a great workout. It works your arms, core, and legs, and can help you burn some extra calories while getting your house clean.

By finding ways to incorporate exercise into your daily routine, you can establish a consistent workout habit that will help you stay healthy and fit.

The Importance of Variety in Exercise

I believe that incorporating variety into your workout routine is crucial to making exercise a habit. Doing the same workout every day can quickly become monotonous and boring, which can make it harder to stay motivated and committed to your fitness goals.

Don’t get stuck doing the same workouts over and over

One way to add variety to your workouts is by trying different types of exercises. For example, if you typically do cardio on the treadmill, try switching it up with a dance class like Zumba or a cycling class. Not only will this keep things interesting, but it will also challenge your body in new ways and help prevent plateaus.

Always think of progression

I also recommend changing up your workout routine in other ways. This could mean increasing the intensity of your workouts, incorporating new equipment, or trying a different workout format like circuit training or HIIT.

Forming new habits is easier and faster if you enjoy them

It’s also important to make sure that your workouts are enjoyable and fun. If you dread going to the gym, you’re less likely to stick with your exercise routine. Finding a workout that you genuinely enjoy can make all the difference in keeping you motivated and committed to your fitness goals.

Don’t underestimate the power of music in your workouts

I find that listening to upbeat and energetic music can help me push through tough workouts and stay motivated. Consider creating a workout playlist that includes your favorite songs to help keep you motivated and energized during your workouts.

In summary, incorporating variety into your workout routine can make exercise more enjoyable, challenging, and effective. Trying different exercises, changing up your routine, finding workouts that you enjoy, and incorporating music can all help you stay motivated and committed to your fitness goals.

Setting Realistic Fitness Goals

When it comes to fitness and making it a habit, setting goals is crucial to staying motivated and making progress. However, it’s important to set realistic goals that are achievable and sustainable in the long run.

What’s the point of your workouts?

It’s important to identify what you want to achieve with your fitness routine. If you don’t have some sort of goal in mind, you’re just wandering around the gym.

Do you want to improve your strength, flexibility, balance, or stability? Or do you have a specific fitness goal, such as increasing muscle mass, losing weight, running a marathon or completing a triathlon?

Breaking large goals into smaller wins

Once you have identified your goal, it’s important to break it down into smaller, more achievable goals. For example, if your goal is to improve your strength, you could set a goal to increase the weight you lift by 5% each week.

Making exercise time a habit

It’s also important to be realistic about the amount of time and effort you can realistically commit to your fitness routine. If you have a busy schedule, it may not be realistic to commit to commit to and hour in the gym. Instead, you could aim more times at the gym with only 30 minutes for each session.

Be patient and don’t get burnt out and quit before exercise becomes an enjoyable habit

Another important aspect of setting realistic fitness goals is to be patient and not expect overnight results. It takes time and consistent effort to see progress, so it’s important to focus on the process and not just the end result.

In summary, setting realistic fitness goals is crucial to staying motivated and making progress. By identifying what you want to achieve, breaking it down into smaller goals, being realistic about your time and effort, and being patient, you can set yourself up for success and achieve your fitness goals in a sustainable way.

The Role of Rewards in Exercise Habit Formation

Rewards can play an vital role in forming a consistent exercise habit. By providing yourself with a sense of accomplishment and motivation, rewards can help to reinforce the behavior of exercising regularly.

However, it is important to choose the right type of reward and use it effectively in order to achieve long-term success.

Non-monetary rewards

These are usually what I consider rewarding myself with after small wins, such as a goal of running farther, faster, or a particular weight I’ve been shooting for.

One effective type of reward is a non-monetary reward, such as taking a relaxing shower after a workout or treating yourself to a favorite healthy snack.

Get imaginative and think of some non monetary thing you could reward yourself with after each exercise session. These types of rewards can provide a sense of immediate gratification and help to reinforce the positive behavior of exercising regularly.

Monetary rewards

Another type of reward is a monetary reward, such as paying yourself for each workout completed or setting aside money to be spent on a larger reward once a certain exercise goal is reached.

I definitely know people who pay themselves for reaching a goal, or paying someone else if the don’t reach it in a certain time.

While monetary rewards can be effective in the short-term, they may not be sustainable in the long-term and may not lead to lasting habit formation.

It is important to remember that rewards should not be the sole motivation for exercising regularly. Instead, they should be used as a tool to reinforce the positive behavior and help to create a sense of accomplishment. Over time, the habit of exercising regularly can become its own reward, leading to long-term success.

Preventing Injury and Pain in Exercise

The quickest way I know to break a habit is with extremely sore muscles, or injuring yourself while exercising.

When starting an exercise program, it is important to take measures to prevent injury and pain. Here are some tips to help you exercise safely and comfortably:

  • Start slowly: Gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts to avoid overexertion and injury.
  • Warm-up and cool-down: Take the time to properly warm-up and cool-down before and after your workouts. This can help prevent muscle strains and other injuries.
  • Use proper form: Make sure you are using proper form and technique when performing exercises. This can help prevent injuries and ensure that you are targeting the right muscles.
  • Wear appropriate clothing and footwear: Wear comfortable, breathable clothing and supportive footwear to help prevent blisters, chafing, and other discomforts.
  • Listen to your body: Pay attention to any pain or discomfort you may be experiencing during your workouts. If something doesn’t feel right, stop and take a break.
  • Seek professional guidance: Consider consulting with a personal trainer or physical therapist to help you develop a safe and effective exercise program that is tailored to your individual needs and goals.

By taking these precautions, you can help prevent injury and pain and make exercise a comfortable and enjoyable habit.

The Psychological Aspect of Exercise Habit Formation

When it comes to forming an exercise habit, the psychological aspect is just as important as the physical aspect.

In fact, it’s often the psychological barriers that prevent people from sticking to an exercise routine until it becomes a habit. Here are a few key factors to consider:


Belief plays a huge role in forming an exercise habit. If you don’t believe that you can stick to an exercise routine, you’re much less likely to do so. On the other hand, if you have a strong belief in your ability to exercise regularly, you’re more likely to follow through.

One way to build belief is to start small and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts. This helps you build confidence in your ability to exercise regularly.


The psychological benefits of exercise are well-documented. Exercise has been shown to reduce stress, improve mood, and boost self-esteem. These benefits can help you stay motivated to exercise regularly.

Another psychological factor to consider is the power of habit. By making exercise a regular part of your routine, you can train your brain to associate exercise with positive feelings. This can make it easier to stick to an exercise routine over the long-term.

Healthy Behavior

Finally, forming an exercise habit is part of a larger goal of adopting healthy behaviors.

When you start exercising regularly, you’re more likely to make other healthy choices, such as eating a balanced diet and getting enough sleep.

These healthy behaviors can reinforce each other and help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Overall, forming an exercise habit requires a combination of physical and psychological factors. By building belief, focusing on the psychological benefits of exercise, and making exercise part of a larger goal of healthy behavior, you can set yourself up for long-term success.

Nutrition and Exercise

When it comes to exercise, nutrition plays a crucial role in achieving your fitness goals. As someone who has been exercising for a while, I have learned that eating a balanced diet is key to fueling your workouts and aiding in muscle recovery.

Experts agree that the right balance of macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats) is important to support physical activity. Carbohydrates provide energy for your workouts, while protein helps repair and build muscle tissue. Healthy fats are also necessary for overall health and can help reduce inflammation in the body.

It’s important to note that everyone’s nutritional needs may vary depending on their fitness goals, body composition, and lifestyle. Consulting with a registered dietitian can help you determine the right balance of macronutrients for your individual needs.

In addition to macronutrients, getting enough micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) is also important for overall health and well-being. Eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can help ensure you are getting the necessary micronutrients your body needs.

In conclusion, nutrition and exercise go hand in hand. Eating a balanced diet with the right balance of macronutrients and micronutrients can help fuel your workouts and aid in muscle recovery. Consulting with a registered dietitian can help you determine the right nutritional plan for your individual needs.

Exercise Clothing and Equipment

When starting a new exercise routine, it’s important to have the right clothing and equipment. Not only will this help you feel more comfortable and confident during your workouts, but it can also help prevent injuries.

Wear the right clothes when exercising

For workout clothes, I recommend choosing items that are comfortable, breathable, and allow for a full range of motion. Look for fabrics that wick away sweat and moisture, such as polyester or spandex blends. Avoid cotton, as it can become heavy and uncomfortable when wet.

When it comes to specific exercises, certain clothing items may be more beneficial. For lunges and squats, wearing form-fitting pants can help you see your form and ensure proper alignment. For pushups, a supportive sports bra can help prevent discomfort and injury. And for jumping jacks or other high-impact exercises, choose shoes with good cushioning and support.

Exercising doesn’t have to be expensive

In terms of equipment, you don’t need much to get started. A yoga mat can be helpful for floor exercises and stretching, and a set of resistance bands can provide a low-cost way to add resistance to your workouts. If you enjoy cycling, investing in a good quality bike can be a worthwhile purchase. But remember, you don’t need fancy equipment to get a good workout in – bodyweight exercises like pushups, squats, and lunges can be done anywhere, anytime.

Overall, the key is to choose clothing and equipment that make you feel comfortable and confident, while also being functional for the exercises you’ll be doing. With the right gear, you’ll be ready to tackle any workout and make exercise a lasting habit.

In conclusion, while there is no one-size-fits-all answer to how long it takes to make exercise a habit, research suggests that it can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days to form a new habit.

The key to success is to start small, set achievable goals, and be consistent. By gradually increasing the frequency and intensity of your workouts, and incorporating physical activity into your daily routine, you can make exercise a lifelong habit that improves your overall health and well-being.

Remember, the benefits of exercise are numerous and long-lasting, so don’t give up if you don’t see immediate results. With patience, persistence, and a positive attitude, you can make exercise a habit that lasts a lifetime.

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