How to break bad habits with fitness

How to break bad habits with fitness

by Teo Kai Wen 20 Feb 2020

Many of us have our vices: smoking, drinking or eating unhealthily, to name a few. We know it’s bad for us, but we can’t seem to muster enough self-control to get ourselves to stop. Luckily, fitness can serve as a push in the right direction when it comes to kicking these unsavoury habits!


1. Exercise lights up your “reward centre”

The main reason why many of us continue indulging in our bad habits is because of how good they make us feel in the moment. This pleasurable feeling comes from the release of dopamine, which gives us a natural high that can be enticing even if it means doing something that we subconsciously know is bad for us. Exercise can help break this cycle because it, too, stimulates the release of “happy” neurochemicals such as endorphins, serotonin and dopamine.


 2. Working out dulls withdrawal symptoms

Another reason why we struggle to quit bad habits is because of the withdrawal symptoms we may experience when in the process of doing so. As surprising as it may be, pursuing fitness can also lessen these symptoms by curbing irritability, stress, depression, and restlessness. In fact, moderate-intensity exercise has been shown to lessen the desire to smoke. If nothing else, fitness serves as a healthy distraction! You’d think less about reaching for a cigarette when you’re focusing on your next set of heavy squats.


3. Training gives you a sense of purpose

When you set fitness goals for yourself, you’re giving yourself the opportunity to dedicate your time and attention towards something productive and beneficial for yourself. At the end of the day, which person doesn’t want to become a better version of themselves? By finding a reason that resonates with you or that matters to you, you’re more likely to be able to stick to your new workout regimen instead of falling back into old habits.


Exercising may not be the easiest way of kicking your bad habits, but it’s undoubtedly one of the most rewarding. Don’t be afraid to take that first step – it’s a doozy!