New Year’s Workout Tips
By: Darci Maxwell
If your New Year’s Resolution is to lose weight or to get in shape, you are not alone! The number one New Year’s Resolution in America is to lose weight, and the fifth most popular resolution is getting fit and healthy. Part of getting fit and losing weight is exercising. You should exercise 3-5 times a week with a 30 minute cardiovascular session. However, if you are trying to lose weight or bulk up, you may need to exercise more than that. If your resolution will be benefited by exercising, read on for seven tips to help you exercise more effectively and efficiently.
Just Do It!
Be a Nike ad and just do it! You won’t burn calories if you are sitting on the couch, so get up and start moving! You don’t have to go running or to the gym to work out, you can do it in the comforts of your own home. Get a workout video that you like, or even browse YouTube for a workout channel that you can follow. Invest in a pedaling machine to put under your desk at work or next to the couch so that you can work out while watching TV. Go for a walk around the block. If you need to, make a sticker chart or reward chart to help you accomplish your goals. Buy workout clothes that you feel comfortable in so that you are more motivated to exercise. Find something that will motivate you to work out, and then, just do it. Any change is hard, but as suggested here, think of what you will gain from the change to help you stay motivated.
Drink Enough Water
You should be drinking water before, after and during your workout. Your body needs to be hydrated in order to take care of itself, help you lose weight, and repair itself after a workout. You should drink about a half gallon of water a day (or about eight cups a day). Luckily, you don’t have to just drink water to get that much hydration. That water can be from tea, soups, lemonade, etc. However, if you drink soda, you need to drink at least that much water to make up for how much the carbonation will dehydrate your body. You shouldn’t just down all this water at once, either. You should be drinking consistently throughout the day. Get a big 32 oz water bottle for your desk at work, and make a goal to drink the whole thing during the day. Make sure that during your exercise, you are drinking plenty to stay hydrated.
Stretch and Warm Up
Before and after you exercise, you should stretch and warm up your body. While specialists disagree whether it is better to stretch before or after working out, you should do something before you start to loosen up your muscles to prevent injury. Do a couple of lunges, arm rolls, stretches, etc. to help your body loosen up before you start your workout. If you are following a workout video, they probably will have a short warm up segment as part of the workout. Your warmup doesn’t have to be fancy, just something to get your blood pumping and muscles loose! Here are some warm-up ideas for you to do before you shovel snow, but they can also be applied to any workout.
Get a Workout Buddy
Working out with a friend will help you work out harder, more frequently, and have more fun while doing it. You will hold each other accountable for doing your workouts and you will have someone to laugh alongside. Studies show that people can even lift more if they are lifting in front of people than when they are by themselves. Ask your best friend, your spouse, coworker, neighbor, or cousin to go with you. If you’re not sure who to invite, post a request on Facebook to see who works out at the same time as you. Gyms often have a “call board” so to speak where you can put your information to find a workout buddy. You can also just go to the gym and try to make friends who would be willing to spot you while you lift. Just make sure that you return the favor!
Mix it Up
While this photo of the Hulk-Who-Skipped-Leg-Day is quite funny, it also rings true. While working out, make sure that you workout your entire body, and not just part of it. Work your core, legs, arms, neck, back, etc. There are easy ways to make sure that you have a full body workout. If you are going walking or running, carry weights. If you are looking for one workout that strengthens the whole body, do one exercise per body part in sets. If you do legs one day, work out your arms or core the next. (Photo from http://imgarcade.com/1/dont-skip-leg-day-hulk/).
Track Your Progress
A great tip to help you keep working out consistently is to track your progress every day. Set a goal (repetitions, weight loss, fat percentage, etc.) and then track your progress daily. Get a sticker chart, an app, a notebook, calendar, etc. It will be fun to watch yourself reach your goals and watch yourself get a little better everyday. Even track things like your personal record for lifting, for repetitions, miles walked/ran, time spent exercising, etc. Reward yourself when you reach your a goal, and then set a new one!
Darci Maxwell is a walking contradiction, and she loves it. You are just as likely to find her outside tearing up a mountain as you are to discover her curled up at home with a steamy cup of herbal tea watching Dr. Who. She is terrified of heights, yet she is the first one to run to the edge and marvel at the spellbinding sight. As an introverted extrovert, writing is her favorite way to connect with many people while still enjoying the comforts of her own home. Her favorite quote is “Here’s to the movers, the shakers, and the mischief-makers.”