It’s no surprise that nearly 50% of Americans consistently commit to losing weight as part of their New Years resolutions. In a world where fast food reigns and obesity is an epidemic, better health is a worthy goal. It’s also one of the best ways to decrease your risk of disease and improve your mental state. Here’s how to do things right and achieve your fitness resolution this coming year.
Start by Walking
The key to actually keeping your resolution this year is to come up with an effective fitness plan. Don’t go too crazy and create a workout schedule you won’t stick to longer than two months. If the most physical exercise you currently get is walking from your office chair to the kitchen, start small. Begin by walking for 10 to 30 minutes each day. Easing into physical activity in a gentle way will minimize soreness so you are more likely to continue. Once you’re comfortable with walking, you can take your workout routine to the next level of intensity.
Exercise No Matter What
If you make the commitment to exercise no matter what, you’re less likely to break the habit. Even if you’re tired or sick, you should still try to fit in some type of physical activity. When you’re sick, it’s important to listen to your body and abstain from overdoing it. Exercise could be as simple as lifting some light weights over your head while in bed. As long as you do something active no matter what, you’re less likely to become a statistic and break your resolution.
Life can get crazy and priorities can change. But your fitness and New Years resolutions should be a top priority for you. Don’t feel guilty about setting aside time for your own health every day. The more you give to yourself, the more you’ll have to give to the people you love.
Track Your Progress
If you don’t keep track of your progress, you’re less likely to continue improving your health. When you see that you’re improving in some way, you’ll feel more motivated to continue. There are many ways to track progress, and it’s best to choose at least two:
- Greater endurance
- Improved blood pressure and/or cholesterol
- More energy
- Improved mood and mental health
These are all effective ways to measure how your fitness and overall health improves. When you reach a milestone such as a certain weight or measurement, reward yourself. Make sure the reward isn’t unwholesome, though. Instead of giving yourself a night of binge drinking, why not take yourself on vacation or buy a new outfit? Those are much better ways to reinforce the new, healthy you.
Exercise in the Morning
It’s easy to get sidetracked and lose interest in exercise if you save it until the end of the day. For best results, work out in the morning, before you go to work or school. If you have young children at home, you’ll have an easier time getting a workout in if you do it before they wake up. You may need to modify your bedtime schedule to make sure you’re still getting plenty of sleep. Sleep is just as important for your fitness as exercise is.
Mix It Up
Exercise can get boring, especially if you do the exact same thing day in and day out. Fortunately, research shows that mixing up your physical routine is beneficial in more ways than one. In addition to making exercise more interesting and fun, changing up your routine can also help you maintain muscle confusion. This prevents you from getting used to an exercise and experience a decrease in results.
Remember, exercise can be any activity that gets your heart rate up. So if you dread running on the treadmill, do something else. Ice skating, hiking, and gardening are all enjoyable activities. They can also improve your physical fitness without feeling like exercise. If you’re feeling adventurous, try picking up a new sport or hobby such as surfing or kick boxing.
Be Accountable to Someone Else
It’s easy to make excuses when you have no one to answer to but yourself. To hold yourself to the fire, be accountable to someone else. Enlist the help of a workout buddy or accountability partner who will help you keep your New Years resolutions. It’s generally best to report to someone who’s also making an effort to improve their fitness. If you are accountable to someone who is lazy and unhealthy, you might start to begrudge him or her.
Getting fit is virtually impossible if you don’t eat well. Unfortunately “eating well” can be a challenging concept. But don’t worry, it’s easier than you think. Start by adding a few more servings of vegetables to your daily routine. Then, add in a couple of servings of fruit while cutting back on refined sugar. After that, you can work on optimizing your protein intake and making sure your diet includes a wide variety of healthy foods.
Make Sleep a Priority
Many people make the mistake of sacrificing sleep in order to get their workouts in each day. But missing out on sleep can completely derail your progress. Fitness and adequate rest go hand in hand, so make a regular bedtime a priority. If you go to sleep and get up at the same time every day, it will help you establish a routine that’s easy to follow.
Ready to conquer your New Years resolutions this year? Start by implementing these tips to improve your physical fitness and overall health.