Year after year, one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is to get in shape. But only 2 months afterwards, a huge fraction of people slack or give up on their goal.
No matter the month or reason, it’s always a good time to dedicate to becoming a healthier, stronger version of yourself.
1. Find Your Motivation
When it comes to dedicating time to the gym or sticking with a dieting plan, finding your motivation can keep gas in your tank.
If your health is a strong motivator, consider placing a doctor’s note in a visual part of your home like a bathroom mirror so you don’t lose focus.
Another way to stay motivated is to track your continuous progress. By measuring how far you’ve come, you can hold yourself accountable and remind yourself where you’re going.
Change doesn’t happen immediately, and big results take time. Long-term consistency is key in making your goals a reality.
2. Develop a Workout Routine
Exercising routinely is one of the most obvious steps. However, it’s important to recognize that there is no one-size-fits-all exercise regiment that will work for every person since factors like age, fitness goals, body type, metabolism, and more all vary greatly.
To get in shape and maintain cardiovascular health, workout routines that involve cardio such as several minutes spent on an elliptical machine might be a great fit. It’s a full-body exercise that ensures physical activity for multiple muscle groups. Besides, it’s a safe workout that goes easy on your joints.
This article by Youthful Home provides elliptical machine workout tips for beginners that can help you start exercising the right way. But for those looking to lose weight, weight lifting could be a more effective way to trade body fat for muscle.
It’s important to note that certain medical conditions mean some forms of exercise might be too taxing, which is why consulting a physician or professional coach is necessary to avoid possible injury.
3. Walk More
On average, adults spend over 6.5 hours a day sitting, and minors spend at least 8 hours being stationary. This sedentary lifestyle means muscle atrophy, or muscle loss, is a top concern.
An easy way to burn calories, build lower-body muscles, and improve your mental health is to simply walk for at least 20 minutes around the block, local park, or outdoor track.
In addition to getting more vitamin D from the sun, which is proven to increase serotonin levels, daily walks can have a major impact on your fitness level and cardiovascular health.
4. Play Sports
Not everyone likes the idea of spending time in the gym, but that’s not a reason to give up on getting fit.
Whether you’re intimidated by gym atmospheres, feel like time passes by much too slowly on the elliptical, or the monotony of workout machines is wearing you down, consider playing sports or outdoor games instead.
Local recreational sports teams are great ways to socialize, get some fresh air, and be entertained while improving your physical health. Basketball, baseball, golf, tennis, and other such sports are only some ways you can get your body moving and have some fun.
5. Stay Hydrated
While we know how important it is to drink water, the vast majority of people drink less than the recommended daily amount of 8 glasses a day. Staying hydrated is an easily overlooked step, but incredibly vital to being healthy.
Exercising, sweating, digesting, and even breathing are all activities that cause us to lose water. Restoring what you lose is important to avoid headaches, muscle fatigue, confusion, and more serious symptoms of dehydration like fainting spells. Here is an article from Healthline with even more reasons to drink water and links to studies to back up this information.
One way to make sure you’re staying hydrated is to keep a full 16-24 oz water container on hand that you refill continuously.
6. Balance Your Diet
If you’re consuming the wrong types of food, your progress will be stunted. Beyond making it harder to burn off calories or build muscle, working out will be more physically draining if you’re eating poorly. Think of it like fueling a car: if you put diesel in a vehicle that only takes gas, then you’re cruising for a bruising. Consider swapping out fatty meats for lean proteins like grilled chicken and fish.
Brooks Bassler, the founder of Cajun kitchen restaurants BB’s Tex-Orleans that specializes in seafood dishes, shares: “Fish and other seafood options are filling, lower-calorie alternatives to food options that could be holding you back instead of giving you the energy you need to push forward. Seafood is a source of vital nutrients, B-complex vitamins, vitamin D and vitamin B.”
Remember that vitamins, protein powders, and supplements exist to help, but these items do not cancel out bad food choices.
7. Get Enough Sleep
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention a third of US adults report that they usually get less than the recommended amount of sleep. Getting enough sleep at night does much more than ensure that you’re not cranky in the morning. Sleep directly correlates with emotional wellbeing, brain and heart health, immune system functions, and even weight fluxuations.
The number of hours of sleep and the quality of sleep needed to stay healthy depends on the individual. On average, an adult needs between 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Older individuals need a minimum of 7 hours.
More restful nights can be achieved by drinking less alcohol, avoiding nicotine, dimming electronic screens at least thirty minutes before bed, and minimizing noise or light disturbances.
8. Do Regular Check-Ups
It’s easy to forget that exercising may cause injuries, whether it’s muscle strain, shin splints, or more serious concerns. Additionally, changes to your diet might have unexpected adverse effects. Getting in shape makes your body stronger and healthier, but pushing yourself too hard or ignoring possible risks can lead to long-term consequences.
To avoid the setbacks that come with injuries or medical conditions, schedule regular check-ups with your doctor to make sure you’re not overlooking any possible problem. It’s always better to catch an issue early while it’s small, rather than risk your plans being thrown off later on.