Now that we are full swing into the New Year, many people may be struggling to keep their health and fitness resolutions. The most important part is not to become discouraged and to incorporate some small steps into your lifestyle that is easy to stick with and will improve your overall health. People often get discouraged because they don’t set specific or realistic targets. So let’s change that. Here are some attainable, different options to help you reach your fitness and health goals this year.
It is important to define your goals. For example, what does ‘losing weight’ mean to you? How will you measure it, what is your plan to get there? Make sure that your goals are specific, can be measured and are achievable. Write down your goal statement and track your progress along the way to remain motivated and accountable.
Always Try to Be Active
Adjust your lifestyle to try to be active whenever you can. Skip the 5-minute car ride to the corner store and walk instead. Take the stairs at work instead of the elevator. While sometimes you may be in a hurry or on a tight schedule, fit in physical activity whenever you can, those few minutes here and there add up. It is important to make a conscious effect whenever possible instead of falling into the can’t-be-bothered habit.
Add Fruit and Veggies
While we all know that fruit and vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and disease-fighting phytonutrients, many of us are not getting the recommended five to eight portions per day. While that may seem like a lot, if you spread throughout the day it is easily manageable. Make it a point to not leave your house in the morning until you have had a serving. This could be a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice or a fruit smoothie. Add a side salad to your lunch, pack some veggie sticks for a snack and fill your dinner plate with a side of veggies. Before long, you will be in the habit and easily meeting your fruit and veggie serving requirements.
Going to the gym isn’t right for everyone. If you find it hard to fit into your schedule, invest in a home fitness machine like a treadmill or elliptical machine and other exercise accessories. Many people make big plans to either go to the gym or workout often as part of their resolutions, but typically have given up by February. Set a realistic workout goal by picking 3 times a week to do a 30-minute workout. Stick to the schedule until it becomes a habit. You may just find yourself adding extra days into your schedule.
It is important to maintain awareness of your body even when you are not working out. Make it a point to look out for poor body form like slouching, hunched shoulders, clenched jaw or crossed limbs and try to correct. Make it a point to ‘scan’ your body several times per day and identify the poor form that should be corrected. Once you get used to spotting bad posture and other habits, you will get used to sitting and standing up straight, which makes you feel slimmer and more confident.
Keep a Journal
Training journals are not just for professional athletes. You should keep a wellness journal as well to document what you are doing, your fitness level, weight, and goals. As you make note of your progress, your journal will help keep you inspired and motivated. It can also help if you seem to have a recurring injury as you can look for signs of overdoing things in your log.
While the recommended guideline is that most active people should be drinking approximately two liters of water per day, many of us don’t. Try to incorporate ways to add more water consumption to your day. Whether it is carrying a bottle of lemon or cucumber-infused water or being sure to have a full glass of water at your break and lunchtimes, adding some more healthy fluids into your body helps you stay hydrated and feeling better with improved concentration and energy.
Look For Balance
Some people love to run and don ‘t ever do any other type of physical activity. It is important to have a balance of activities in your fitness routine so that you are doing some strength training, cardio and flexibility work. Having a balance reduces your risk of burnout and injury.
Try Something New
Something to commit for this year is to try a new activity. Whether you have always wanted to go horseback riding or even surfing, pick something fun that will also keep you active. Learning something new keeps us young at heart and is rewarding.
In the end, it is typically the small changes that we make to our lifestyle that can have the biggest impact. By incorporating the 9 tips above into your routine this year, you can be confident that you will reach your fitness goals and feel great!
Ann Kaknon has been in the fitness industry for over 10 years including work as a dietician, personal trainer, and athletic trainer. She now spends her time at home with her kids and writing about her fitness experiences on the side. If you want to contact her you can do so on her LinkedIn or blog.