Exercise is a Keystone Habit

Exercise is a Keystone Habit

Dear Kosterina Family, 
The past three months have been a whirlwind of change. But change also incites new habits. And, those habits are powerful and can lead to long-term, healthy outcomes.

In my case, quarantine gave me the time, space, and energy to build a morning workout routine. I never thought that this would be my thing - after years of trying to get into working out before my morning coffee, I could never get myself excited about it. But, there was something about being inside all day that encouraged me to get my energy out before the craziness started. And, I've been showing up either on Peloton, on Obe Fitness or for an outdoor jog/walk every morning since.

But, the aspect of this new habit that was most fascinating to me though wasn't necessarily my new workout routine - it was how these healthy changes spilled over to other parts of my life. According to Charles Duhigg, the author of the best-selling book, The Power of Habit: "Typically, people who exercise start eating better and becoming more productive at work. They smoke less and show more patience with colleagues and family. They use credit cards less frequently and say they feel less stressed. Exercise is a keystone habit that triggers widespread change."

No matter what healthy habit we begin to build, it doesn't happen overnight. I love Duhigg's recommendations for forming new habits. His Golden Rule is: You can't extinguish a bad habit, you can only change it. So, in order to change a habit - like say, skipping a workout to sleep in for a few extra minutes - you need to break it down to three different parts:

1. The Cue: First identify the trigger. When you feel the urge for the habit you want to shift (i.e. skipping a workout to sleep in) ask yourself - How do I feel right now? Why do I want to skip it? Alternatively, my husband says that in this moment where we begin to contemplate skipping it, we should "turn our brain off" and just go.
2. The Reward: Figure out what you're really craving and substitute with another reward. Like, an energizing smoothie post-workout if you're craving a boost.
3. The Routine: Studies show the easiest way to implement a new routine is to write a plan. I am very much into performance and wellness journals for both meal and workout planning. Am currently using this one

How are you building (or changing) new habits these days? Let's keep each other accountable! Tag us on Instagram with your new habits and we'll share the love.