Health and fitness is increasingly important as you age, so don’t forget to add exercise to your New Year’s resolutions! Data collected by the Mayo Clinic notes that 150 minutes of exercise per week is key to optimum health and lowered risk of disease, and directly contributes to weight loss, good mental health and self-esteem, general well-being, and overall quality of life.
Here’s a simple guide that will ensure a healthy lifestyle always fits into your busy schedule in 2021 — even when work, school, kids, and social obligations make it challenging to hit the gym.
Play to Your Strengths
When it comes to exercise, playing to your strengths means keeping things fun, understanding your personal preferences, and setting achievable goals. Remember, it’s okay to start small and build up gradually. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Inventory Your Exercise Preferences
If your goal is to add fitness to an already-full day, choose an activity you actually enjoy. Selecting a type you know you don’t or that might be outside your ability level is the quickest way to give up because there are too many factors stacked against you. A few tips:
- If you love the outdoors, try walking, jogging, bicycling, or other outside activities.
- If you prefer a climate-controlled environment, consider using a gym, yoga center, or space inside your apartment.
- If you are self-motivated, a solo exercise program might be a pleasant escape from stress.
- If you prefer widening your social circle, you might enjoy group activities such as tai chi, aerobics, or Pilates.
Learn what you like, then make a list of your options so you’ll know exactly what to do when workout time comes around.
2. Tap Into Mornings and Nights
Your workday or midday schedule may be spoken for, but you can still achieve regular exercise. You can control the time you have before your long day starts, for example. If you’ve never committed to a morning workout before, there are a few things you can do to make the transition easier:
- Go shorter at first, then gradually increase the length of physical activity.
- Get everything set up the night before by laying out your exercise clothes, programming your coffee maker, and doing any prep needed for breakfast.
- Come with a plan. Intent is great, but no set workout may mean your bed sounds too inviting.
If night seems like the friendlier option for your busy lifestyle, make sure to set yourself up for a win:
- Ideally, eat dinner two to three hours before beginning exercise.
- This might mean having a light snack to hold you over or eating after your workout.
- Develop the practice of heading to your workout location straight after you clock out.
- Doing so means you won’t be tempted to catch up on errands, catch up on social media content, or watch “just one” show.
Bonus tip: Try to stick to the same time every day to help yourself build working out into a habit.
Make the Most of Your Minutes
We all have days when we feel we can’t squeeze in another minute of anything, but don’t worry. You’ve got everything you need to tackle the day job, conquer your to-do list, and fit in some workout time.
3. Turn a Few Minutes Into Big Results
If you only have 10 to 30 minutes, maximize the benefits by choosing effective routines.
- High-intensity interval training (HIIT) burns more calories in a short time, and you continue burning calories even after you’re done working out.
- Tabata training also provides big bang for your buck and involves short workout and rest intervals. You’re not limited to one exercise type, either, so incorporate jump rope, lunges, plank jacks, mountain climbers, push-ups, squats, and Tabata sprints, among other options.
- Increase the incline on machines. This makes your body work harder and incorporates light strength training, plus you’ll use your gluteal muscles (the largest group) to blast more fat and calories quicker.
- Add resistance. Use hand-held dumbbells, or add squats, pull-ups, jumping jacks, and burpees to your routine for bodyweight resistance.
Choosing the right movements could mean you get a better workout in a shorter time than you would have in hours, plus you’ll still get the health benefits like decreased risk of heart disease, better weight management, and improved circulation.
4. Use Your Lunch Break
Tapping into unutilized time is an excellent way for busy people to stay fit. Going for a 20-minute walk on a lunch break is good exercise and boosts energy levels for the second half of your day, for example.
5. Take Advantage of Your Spare Time
Spare time can be found in little moments every day, and you can use it to get in some physical activity and increase your energy. A few ideas:
- Do heel raises or clench your glutes while waiting for your Uber.
- Jog there and back when picking up lunch down the street.
- Use the stairs (instead of the elevator) to combat fatigue, diseases, weight gain, and muscle loss from long periods of sitting.
- Even household chores and grocery shopping burn calories.
A lifestyle low in physical activity may account for several health problems and symptoms of disease, so make these “mini-exercises” part of your goals.
Change Is Good
Don’t let yourself burn out by doing the same workout every single day. If you start to get bored or “just don’t feel like it,” it may be time for a change.
6. Balance Your Exercise Routines
Mix things up with a little variety, and remember to keep all your physical activity balanced. Here are some tips:
Slow things down.
Taking a long walk or participating in a yoga session gives you a change of pace while allowing you to reap the benefits of exercise.
If you’ve been going heavy on cardio to keep your heart rate up, change it up with strength training and lifting weights in between.
Shift your target.
Ensure you’re targeting different muscle groups if you need a break from full-body workouts. You’ll also give your other muscles time to recover from the activity.
Even if jogging outside is your favorite exercise, you can benefit from a change like indoor aerobics or a new workout class once or twice a week.
7. Get a Workout Buddy
Exercising with another person can keep your physical challenges fresh. Your buddy could be your kids, significant other, or even an online friend, and will help keep you accountable as you develop new behaviors and attain long-term fitness goals. As a bonus, a little friendly competition goes a long way in pushing each other to the next level!
Remember the Health Basics
The backbone of any positive routine is sticking to the basics. Nutritious food, plenty of water, and sufficient sleep will help set you up for success.
8. Keep Your Body Hydrated
Staying hydrated is one of the best and easiest ways to improve your health. This means drinking water not just during your workouts but throughout the day. A few facts:
- Drinking too little can lead to health conditions.
- A hydrated heart means a lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure.
- Hydration also pumps blood more easily and helps your muscles work better.
Drinking enough liquid is vital for replenishing fluids lost during physical activity, too, which will positively impact your overall fitness level.
9. It’s All About Location
Your apartment complex may have its own fitness center, many local gyms offer affordable monthly rates, or you can opt for at-home exercise — you just need to choose something that works best for you. Keep your neighbors in mind if your routine includes jumping or running in place. Your neighborhood park, a nearby school track, or walking trail might also be perfect spots for your daily activity.
10. Ask the Experts
The bottom line is that where you get your content on exercises and health information is essential. This applies to food, diets, and other health products, too. Be sure you’re choosing news and content from people and organizations that know their stuff to avoid unnecessary injuries.
A New Year, A New Life of Healthy Experiences!
Health and fitness begin from the moment you decide to make a change, and other elements in your life can have huge impacts on your success. Having the right place to call home can do wonders for your motivation and overall happiness, for example, we are always excited to help those looking to move to the greater D.C. area check out their options for great neighborhoods, easy commutes to downtown, spacious floorplans, and more. Contact a leasing expert today with any leasing questions you might have.