Now that a new year has begun, you may have resolved to get in better shape – even if you’re already fitness-minded. Rather than trying to bench press 250 pounds overnight or be marathon-ready by this weekend, here are some small steps you can take towards having a healthier body.
Mix up your workouts
First and foremost, examine your workouts. Are you doing the same exercises all the time and getting bored? Switch things up. You always want to vary your workouts, both to benefit the different muscle groups in your body, but also to give yourself a break between intense workouts. Ellipticals and exercise bikes offer a lower-impact workout that you can combine with cardio sessions and weight training. Your body is wise and will learn your routine, eventually making it less effective. Keep things fresh and interesting when you hit the gym and retain your inspiration to achieve a healthier body. In addition to spinning on the elliptical, make sure you’re spending time stretching, whether you do yoga, Pilates, or your own set of stretches sometime during the day.
Drink more water
Though it seems simple, this step can make a difference in the way you feel and the way your workout goes. Being dehydrated, even just a little, can make you tired, and when you’re tired, it’s more difficult to get yourself to the gym. A good daily guideline is eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid, meaning you should be drinking water while also supplementing with other beverages. Just be careful about loading up on soda, which can fill you with empty calories and sugar, and dehydrate you because of its caffeine content. If you’re not a fan of water, try cutting up your favorite fruit, such as slices of strawberries or oranges, and letting it sit in your glass. You’ll get a refreshing taste without adding the calories and chemicals that can otherwise be present in flavored water.
Make food substitutions
A change in your diet can lead you to getting a healthier body, but be wise about how you make changes and how quickly. Opt for leaner and healthier choices when it comes to meals, such as eating more vegetarian fare, a vegan meal once a week, or simply cutting down on how often you eat red meat. You can add a variety of spices to foods that make excellent substitutes for less-healthy additives like salt. Cooking with tofu will give you the protein your body needs and can be used in a variety of meals, from breakfast smoothies to dessert.
These steps won’t turn you into a powerlifting bodybuilder overnight, but will point you in the right direction to achieve your goals. Always remember that change takes time. It’s tempting to jump on the scale after a workout and see how much weight you’ve lost but be realistic about how quickly your body is changing. If you’re not very active or embarking on a new fitness regimen, give yourself time to adjust. Your healthier body will emerge before you know it.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Have a Namaste.