What type of gym-goer are you? If you’re the person who wakes up and automatically goes for no-frills run before work, you may have a leg up on the person who drops in to varied workout classes. A new study published in the journal Health Psychology proves that people manage to work out most consistently when they associate exercise with a specific habit, like stress-reduction or your morning wake-up call.

“It’s not something you have to deliberate about; you don’t have to consider the pros and cons of going to the gym after work,” L. Alison Phillips, PhD, assistant professor of psychology at Iowa State University and one of the study’s authors told TimeThe researches found that these so-called “instigation habits”, dictated by our own internal or environmental cues, are the best predictors of whether exercise becomes part of your lifestyle long-term.

To determine the role instigation habits play in our exercise routines, researchers surveyed 123 Iowa University students about their exercise regimens twice over the course of a month. The students with instigation habits, such as exercising without thinking and completing a set routine each time they hit the gym, were also the ones most likely to have a regular gym-going routine.

The good news for those of us who like to fly by the seat of our pants is that instigation habits get stronger over time. As people exercised more frequently, they also grew into the instigation habit. All of us probably associate exercise with something, whether it’s a bad day at work or a better body, so just pick your habit and get a move on.

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