Bloomington / Normal, IL

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How To Develop the Exercise Habit


Submitted by Drs. Bohn, Nielsen, and Castillo, The Vein Specialists, LLC

Most people feel great after exercise, and not just because the “feel-good” hormone our bodies release during activity, kick in. It’s common knowledge that exercise provides a path to better health, from increasing your energy and enhancing your mood to reducing fat and cardiovascular disease. If you have varicose veins, exercise may cause your varicose veins to look and feel better and can help reduce your risk of getting more. Even with the benefits, however, most adults don’t exercise on a regular basis, despite wanting and striving to do so. How do you get from Ugh—I have to exercise to Whoo-hoo I get to workout?

Here at the Vein Specialists, we’ve found that the big key to making the transition from “have to” to “want to” is to change your mindset so that exercise is a life priority. You only have to force yourself to exercise until it’s a habit—then it just becomes part of who you are and what you do.

Why does developing this habit of 30–60 minutes of daily vigorous exercise seem to be such a difficult task? Part of the challenge is that too often we let our feelings control our actions. We’ve bought into the idea that if we don’t feel like doing something, we don’t. But it’s easier to control your actions than it is to control your feelings, so focus on what actions you need to do—get out of bed, put on your shoes, drive to the gym or go to wherever it is that you decide to exercise—outside, mall-walking, stationary bike at home—the choices are unlimited. As a result of your actions, you’ll begin to feel excited and motivated to exercise, finding out that it’s a lot easier to act your way into a new way of feeling than to wait until you feel like a new way of acting.

Here are some tips from patients who didn’t used to exercise, but now look forward to this daily routine.

  • Buy some work-out clothes that you love!
  • Always exercise on Monday—that sets the pattern for the week.
  • Exercise first thing in the morning before distractions and excuses have a chance to get in the way. About 90 percent of those who exercise consistently do it in the morning.
  • Find an exercise partner or group of like-minded people to help hold you accountable.
  • Do whatever it takes to get started—gym membership, personal trainer, classes—you can’t develop a habit if you never start.
  • Experiment until you find the exercise option that works best for you. There are tons of choices!
  • Realize that it will take time for it to become a habit. One patient said that it was almost a year before she really felt like she wanted to exercise.
  • In the beginning it can be really hard to WANT to workout—especially if it’s freezing cold and nasty outside. It helps to think about the things you want most, like better health and more energy.
  • No one has “extra” time, so you have to make the time. Schedule it in just like you would a doctor’s appointment.

Exercising and adding more activity to your life does not mean that you won’t get varicose veins or that you can get rid of them through exercise. If you already have varicose veins, be sure to check with your healthcare provider. Exercise doesn’t guarantee that you’ll have a lifetime of excellent health, but being physically active will most certainly help manage weight, reduce the risk of disease, strengthen bones and muscles, and improve your ability to do everyday activities. Making exercise part of your routine will help you feel good, deep down, long after you slip out of your gym shoes.

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of venous disease, set up an appointment with one of the physicians at The Vein Specialists immediately. During your initial consultation, one of their physicians will help you understand the underlying cause of your varicose veins, explain your treatment options, and then guide you through every step of your procedure and recovery. Call their office today at (309) 862-4000, you’ll be glad you did! They have convenient locations at 3302 Gerig Drive in Bloomington or 2011 Rock Street, Suite C in Peru.