It can be tough to envision a “new year, new you” amid today’s challenges. But it’s possible to get in shape without leaving the house and without breaking the bank. Here are some tips for starting your wellness journey and staying healthy.

Get motivated

Embrace your reason for breaking a sweat.

Find your goal. What motivates you to work out? Losing weight, finally running that 5K, setting a good example for your kids? Whatever your goal, it’s important to establish your target before you try to hit it.

Be actively accountable. It can be tempting to avoid telling anyone when you set out to achieve something, but if no one else knows, no one can help you make it happen. You may not feel comfortable broadcasting your ambitions on social media, but having a trusted friend or two in your corner can help you stay on course, even when you’d rather stay on the couch.

Cover the basics

Here’s how to get started.

Download our activity log to write down how much time you spend being physically active.

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Balance core strengths. There are countless ways to categorize fitness efforts, but three main areas of focus are cardio, strength training and flexibility. Depending on your goals for staying healthy, you may give one area more attention than others, but having a balanced regimen is a good way to achieve overall health.

Find a jumping-off point. For every muscle, bone and joint in your body, there are different exercises available. But if you need somewhere to get started, here are five classics:

Gear up

Give “home gym” a new meaning.

Check the pantry. Your home is already packed with things that can help you work out. A 1-gallon jug filled with water serves as an 8.5-pound weight. Need something a little lighter? Try canned vegetables.

Use an app assist. Turn your smartphone into a fitness coach. There are thousands of apps (both free and for a charge) that offer exercise instruction, tips and encouragement for staying healthy. Some even include virtual classes where the instructor interacts with you in real time. Also, take advantage of videos on YouTube and some streaming services that offer yoga classes, strength training and more.

Get equipped. If you want to get serious with your gear, there’s plenty of equipment available—both high- and low-tech. Connected exercise equipment—like some stationary bike or rowing machine brands—can give you access to live classes that share your progress with your instructor. And, of course, classic stationary bikes, rowing machines and treadmills still pack the same fitness punch, even without the online connection.

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Make it about more than exercise

Getting healthy is a lifestyle.

Eat healthy. Eating right is another essential part of staying healthy. Tracking calories is a great place to start, whether you want to bulk up or lose weight. Also, make sure you’re getting the right kinds of calories: Good calories come from lean proteins and unrefined carbohydrate sources such as vegetables, beans and fruit. Foods with high sugar or fat content contain calories that offer little nutritional value.

Get adequate sleep. Getting enough sleep is a lot easier than lifting weights, but rest can be tough to prioritize. In addition to simply feeling better, you will have the energy to stay on top of an exercise plan if you get enough sleep—and it will even strengthen your immune system.

This story was featured in the
January/February 2021 issue of AAALiving Magazine

Eat Healthy at Home

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