How To Start Exercising At Home (And Make It Part Of Your Long-Term Routine)

As a practicing yogi of about a year, it baffles me when other yogis tell me that they have never stepped foot in a studio with teachers. They just do their amazing, badass handstands like it’s no big deal, and I continue the trek to a yoga studio to practice patience until the day I can achieve handstand greatness. Generally, people who manage to keep a daily fitness routine by exercising at home represent a level of dedication and determination that I have struggled with. But, in reality, exercising at home is cheaper, more convenient, and less time-consuming than going to the gym for a workout. Here are a few quick tips to help you start exercising at home and actually maintain that routine long term.

Set A Schedule For Yourself


Are you a morning person? Get up earlier and go for a run. If you don’t have that weird inner fire that motivates people to exercise at 6 a.m. (Just… how?), then try exercising once you get home. Regardless, try to schedule at least an hour for yourself around the same time every day, and motivate yourself to stick to that schedule for at least 21 days—the amount of time that it takes to develop a new habit. I motivate myself to get into an exercise routine with little things like a cool, new headband or the promise that whatever I eat after working out will be awesome. Making workouts fun will help motivate you to stick to that new and kind-of-weird routine.

Find A Great Fitness Channel On YouTube


There’s Blogilates by Pop Pilates creator Cassey Ho, arguably the most fun and bubbly workout you’ll ever have in your life, or BeFiT, which features some of the greatest fitness trainers in the world. I prefer working out with direction, because then I feel like I work harder. (It’s a myth that you can watch TV and workout. Don’t believe it!) Even better, most of the videos on YouTube fitness channels are set to great, energizing music. Some of them, like Pop Pilates, even have websites where you can find full meal plans and workout schedules for the month. All the work of planning what day to do cardio or ab strengthening is done for you.

Create A Space Where You Can Workout Comfortably


Having a safe space where you can throw your body around and sweat buckets without feeling self-conscious or uncomfortable is important to maintaining a home-exercise routine. If you live in a city and have roommates, try to let them know about your knew workout schedule. Heck, maybe even ask them to join you. But the fewer potential interruptions you could have during your scheduled workout time, the more likely you are to stick to it. Move furniture over a little, make sure you can’t kick down any lamps, and workout on a mat or towel so that you won’t have to worry about getting covered in dirt from the floor or your cat’s hair.

Reward Yourself For Sticking To The Routine


Each week that you successfully stick to your new home-exercise routine, plan to reward yourself with something fun or new. Maybe a bright new pair of workout pants, or sushi with your friends. Whatever it is, make sure it doesn’t make you feel guilty. For example, don’t try to eat an entire pint of ice cream as your “reward,” knowing that you might feel bad about it later and thus punish yourself retroactively. Keep your rewards simple and fun so you don’t go broke and still you’re motivated to stick to next week’s routine.


Photos by Hotel de la Paix Genève ; Yandle, eyeliam, Dawn/Flickr; Blogilates/YouTube


About the Author
Josephine Yurcaba
Josephine Yurcaba is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer. She specializes in lifestyle content, women's issues, politics, and New York music. She has written for Bustle, The Daily Meal, The Village Voice, and Rolling Stone.

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