Just around the corner we’re going to be starting a new year. This is the time when most people make resolutions, goals, plans, etc. No matter what you call them, New Year’s seems to be the time people evaluate where they’ve been and where they want to go.
Better health, better fitness, healthier eating, and a healthier lifestyle are in the top group of many people’s New Year’s desires. It’s important to keep in mind that habits take a few weeks to become a natural part of your life. The good news is that small, positive, changes often reap big rewards.
Let’s review some fitness habits that you may or may not have followed in the past year, and can plan on patiently implementing in the new year.
Fuel Your Body Well
The food that you eat before and after a workout, and all day long, has a direct impact on your fitness. It’s important to eat a diet that is rich in protein, vegetables, and some fruit and whole grains.
Sleep is when your body recharges. If you exercise, then sleep is even more important because your body needs a little extra time to repair. Make sleep a priority, and you’ll experience better workouts and faster results.
Warm up your muscles before a workout. You don’t need to stretch them but you do want to get blood circulating before you start your workout. Do a little walking in place. Follow with some gentle knee lifts, side steps, and ham-string curls. Start out slow and low, increasing as your blood starts moving, and your muscles warm up. Depending on the exercise you’ll be undertaking, warm-up could last four to ten minutes or more. After your workout is the time to focus on stretching and rolling the muscles you just worked. Foam rollers are an exceptional tool for massaging the muscles.
Track Your Efforts and Results
Start keeping a fitness journal. Or you can use one of the many amazing mobile apps or online services. You can also create a spreadsheet or document on your computer or just grab a composition book and a pen. Track what you did, what your goals are, and how you felt during your workout. At first I just focused on reps of squats I was doing. Then I started keeping track of miles walked and/or stepped. Your goals will determine what your going to track.
This information will not only help you stay motivated, it can also provide critical information when you hit snags or plateaus in your fitness. There are also wonderful fitness trackers that you wear on your wrist or clip to your body. They can tell you if you’re doing enough to meet your fitness goals.
Move Your Body Every Day
Find something that you enjoy that requires you to move your body every day. Go for a walk, put on some music and dance, get out a jump rope or take a yoga class. Even on days when you’re not hitting the gym or getting an official workout in, make sure that you move your body.
Start taking better care of your health and fitness. Starting today, identify one small habit that you can embrace to improve your fitness. Create a plan that supports you to succeed and follow through. Add one new fitness goal to your life each month, and by the end of the year you’ll have completely overhauled your lifestyle. And you’ll be living a healthier life.