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Today in Health & Wellness
FITNESS AND FUEL

Workout Routine for the New Year

By: Lily C. FenWorkout Routine for the New Year

It’s the time for reunions and invitations to bite into lavish meals. Before you know it, your belly would have grown to the size of several queso de bola. So how do you care for your body after hefty helpings of lechon? What if you have way too many excuses before you even get started? Below are five of the most common reasons people don’t get fit and how to combat them.  Here’s wishing you health and wellness in body and mind this holiday season and beyond.

Excuse 1:I don’t have enough time for exercise.

Solution 1: Exercise doesn’t need to come in one swoop. Try starting the day with 20 tummy crunches and 20 leg lifts (for each leg) before hitting the shower. All it takes is waking up 10-15 minutes earlier in the day. This was how I began an exercise regimen for myself. And because it wasn’t too demanding, it was easy to stick to this routine.

Figure out what suits you best. If you’re a morning person, greet the day with your exercise routine. Exercise improves blood circulation, making us feel more invigorated for the rest of the day. It will be like running on a dose of espresso, only that your body is slimmer and stronger as a result. Some people prefer squeezing in a workout near the office in the middle of the day, while others feel that they regain their energy by ending their day with exercise after work.

Excuse 2:I don’t like physical activity.

Solution 2: You can work around this. If it’s the sweating you don’t like, for example, swimming might suit you better. Not to mention that swimming is better for the knees, than, say, running. It is a low impact sport and works your entire body as you cut through the water. You’ll feel amazing afterwards. I always do, when I get out of the pool.

If you have a stressful job, something soothing like yoga might be the best option for you. It will improve your strength and flexibility and leave you with a calmer mindset. Identify what sparks your interest and incorporate exercise into daily habits. For instance, if you love binge-watching your favorite TV series, you could go on the treadmill while watching, say, the latest episode of Stranger Things. You won’t even realize you’re burning the calories away. If you love dancing, find a class that engages you. Whether it is ballet, jazz, modern, or hip hop, there is something for everyone.

Excuse 3:It’s too expensive.

Solution 3: Find activities that are subsidized around your neighborhood or any exercise that don’t cost much. You’ll be amazed at how affordable some fitness routines can be. Walking and jogging are two of my favorites: all you need is a right pair of shoes and you’re all set. Take a stroll around your neighborhood before or after work. When your exercise space is right outside your home (or office), it helps you maintain the habit without going out of your way. Some subdivisions or condominiums have a small gym or swimming pool or offer discounted yoga or pilates lessons of which you might want to take advantage.

If you love basketball or volleyball, head to the neighborhood auditorium or go outdoors and spend time with a friend by getting in a few shots or volleys. Some business executives love renting out badminton space once a week to have a go at the court.  Aside from the fact that it is less costly than tennis, it’s a great cardio workout, and you can split the rent with a friend or co-worker who share the same interest.

Lastly, lightweights for toning muscles can be taken out of your kitchen: find a can of pineapples or peaches for each arm and use them as dumbbells. You can also do 10 push-ups a day or 10 repetitions of the plank pose, using your body weight as resistance.

Excuse 4: I can’t give up my favorite treats.

Solution 4: I’m with you on this one. If I deprive myself of chocolate for too long, I would go crazy. It isn’t sustainable to let go of the flavors that make us happy. But there is a way to include what you love by allowing yourself bits and pieces throughout the week. Include your cherished treats into your new lifestyle but make sure that they don’t impact your health (and weight) negatively.

One of the fittest people I know exercises daily and avoids sugary food six days in a week. Sundays for him, however, is a “food fest”. I allow myself 1-2 squares of chocolate daily, rather than consuming an entire chocolate bar in one go. If you watch your portions and the frequency of your intake of chips, fries, or sweets, it means that you can still have these goodies when you embark on a fit lifestyle. More so, you will be able to sustain the habit of eating and exercising well by minimizing your intake of sugar- or fat-laden food.

Excuse 5: I’ll start next month.

Solution 5: There is no better time than today. It won’t happen overnight, but aim for small successes in the first week. Eat like a king in the morning, like a prince in the middle of the day, and like a pauper at night. Try this for several days and observe how you feel emotionally and physically after some time has passed.

Keep it bite-sized

If you focus on bite-sized points of action, you can fight against any lame excuse for not getting fit. Make miniscule changes by choosing some of the tips suggested above. Add a few more repetitions to your exercise regimen when you feel ready. Minimize portions when at the table. Try consuming only half the amount you normally would eat when dinnertime arrives. Maintain the habit: aiming for the first 30 days is a helpful way to begin. Before you know it, your body has thanked you for it, and it’s become second nature. By creating healthy habits in measurable ways, you have walked into a fit and healthy lifestyle.

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