Uh oh. It’s January. A new year, a new leaf, a fresh start — essentially, a chance to start picking up all the healthy habits you dropped once late November rolled around.
But that isn’t to make you feel guilty! Hibernating during the winter is a natural inclination to have. The weather is cold, It’s a Wonderful Life is playing on repeat, and all you want to do is sink into your couch with a warm cup of something while you listen to the sweet Christmas tunes of Mariah Carey. We get it.
Something’s gotta give though, and coercing your body into exercise-like movements can be hard. But hey, as mentioned before, it’s January. You’re motivated, pumped and thinking of beach season, so what better time to start getting back into the workout game?
If it’s a little embarrassing going to the gym after a couple of months’ “rest;” if you need help figuring out where to start or if you are simply looking to shake off the cobwebs on your own terms, here are some beginner workout routines you can do that won’t make you want to throw your elliptical machine into a furnace.
5.) Get Your Foam Roller On
This is like a workout and a massage mixed in one, and if that isn’t a selling point on getting moving then I don’t know what is!
The key to this is paying attention to your core while going through the motions very slowly and purposefully. You may be surprised that certain areas hurt more than others — the backs of the thighs, the shins, the lower back — but no need to worry, they are simply tight from lack of exercise and stretching. The more you work with the foam roller, the more they will loosen up.
These exercises are great because you only need two items: a foam roller (duh) and a yoga mat. You can opt out of buying a mat, but it will help pad your wrists during exercises where you’re slightly lifted up, so it’s definitely worth the investment.
4.) Privately Embarrass Yourself Through a Workout Video
When most people think of workout videos they think of leotards and Jane Fonda (or maybe I’m showing my age here). In fact, there are so many different options and so many different coaches that the workout video world is your complete and utter oyster.
Depending on your interests, you can look into videos focusing on interval training, pilates, weight training, aerobics and more. For both women and men, an increasingly popular activity has become bar classes, and workout guru Mary Helen Bowers is at the center of it. Her “Ballet Beautiful” videos are simple and require little space, so you can watch them anywhere from your living room to a hotel room.
3.) Slowly (but Surely) Introduce Weights Into the Equation
If it’s been a while since you’ve worked out, jumping onto a hardcore weight machine can be a bit intimidating. Luckily, Amazon has some very affordable options for free weights and dumbbells.
Many people disregard weights, choosing only to focus on cardio when trying to shed pounds, but this is a mistake. Building muscle sets the foundation for not just better cardio workouts, but also better posture and strength. Focusing on the core while doing simple weight exercises is also a great way to alleviate back pain and sensitivity.
2.) Throwback to the “Middle School Gym Class” Workout
Nothing like throwing on some crew socks and gym shorts, and getting down to business. If you haven’t worked out in a while, these tried and true exercises are anything but intimidating. We are all familiar with jumping jacks, crunches, push-ups and squats for a reason: they work.
They also require virtually no equipment and can be done both inside and outdoors. Reps can be adjusted according to how far along you are in your workout goals, and these are simple moves to incorporate into another workout, like running or weight training.
And you know what? Getting out of bed, stretching and then doing a few crunches never hurt anybody!
1.) Set the Pace with Walking and Running
If you’re just starting to get back in the workout saddle, there’s no better way to get moving than to…drumroll…walk! Walking provides a low impact cardio routine while also giving you those awesome, head clearing endorphins. You can even bring a set of dumbbells with you from Tip #3.
Though walking is a good place to start, incorporating running into your cardio if you can is also helpful. This will improve your endurance, lungs and weight loss. If you’re not sure where to start, there are plenty of beginner walking and running routines online, like this one.
Good luck with the new workout routine and kudos to you for getting that heart rate going!
What are your favorite beginner workout routines? Let us know in the comments below!