Gentle Workouts to Help You Ease into the New Year

Jan 02, 2024 Fitness Tips 4 MIN

Gentle Workouts to Help You Ease into the New Year

With the New Year comes New Year's Resolutions, grand, sweeping ideas about self-improvement that tend to have lower success rates than we'd like. We all do it; we set too drastic goals, bite off more than we can chew, and try to get it all done at once. There's a pervasive idea around the New Year that you must make grand choices to change your life. But that's not true! Going from zero to sixty immediately on things like exercise can be challenging and is more likely to discourage you than to form new habits.

This New Year, treat yourself kindly. Take a gentler approach to wellness. Many call this the "Soft Life" trend; the idea is to introduce changes in your routine without judgment or unreachable goals. This approach applies to everything, and because fitness goals are some of the most common New Year's Resolutions, we've gathered a list of gentle workouts to ease you into the new year. Take care of your body, but remember that treating yourself well is an essential part of that process!

Play Games

The mental block is one of the biggest hurdles in establishing a consistent exercise routine. Unless you are a specific kind of person, exercising isn't even fun to think about, much less do! It calls to mind treadmills, weight-lifting, and the dreaded "gym." If that sounds like you, try finding another way to reframe the exercise. Thankfully, you're not the only person to think about this! There are plenty of video games and apps that incentivize physical movement with an added dose of fun on top. Whether hiking to catch monsters, dancing for a high score, or just playing good old-fashioned soccer with your friends, it's much easier to get moving when moving is fun!

Find Walkable Activities

Walking can be a great way to get your body moving and your heart pumping. Walking can be even more fun if there's an objective at the end; try searching your local area for fun places, activities, and friends within walking distance. If you find it hard to get the motivation to walk just for walking's sake, make it easier on yourself by choosing a local park to picnic at, a nearby cafe with your favorite healthy treat, or even your closest movie theater to catch a blockbuster! These little treats at the end of your journey not only make the walk more enjoyable, but they tend to make the time pass faster as well! There's another component that can plus this up even more: good companionship. Walks are some of the best times to talk with friends; there's no better way to catch up on gossip than when you're getting your steps in.

Yoga

The best part about yoga is that it's not just about exercising your body; it's just as much about calming your mind. Adding an exercise routine on top of your busy schedule can sound mentally and physically exhausting, but winding down at the end of the day with some calming yoga can hit two crane poses with one stone. In addition to giving your muscles a good stretch, yoga can also help you relax into sleep. Check out our article on Bedtime Yoga for some suggestions on gentle poses that can help clear your mind and relax your body for a good night's rest.

Dance the Night Away

Dancing is one of the body's oldest and most fundamental expressions of joy. You may have heard the phrase "dance like no one is watching," well, the good news is when you're at home, usually no one is! So put on your favorite tunes and get into a groove! Taking a 15-minute dance break can get your heart pumping and your vibes glowing, so let the music take you where your heart wants to go. While there's no such thing as "bad dancing" when you're dancing for fun and health, if you really enjoy it and want to improve, look into local dance classes. By signing up for a local dance class, you get the added bonus of a regular schedule, meeting new people, and you'll be able to impress your friends at parties.

Keep Yourself Entertained

Working out doesn't have to be boring. In fact, it can be the best time to catch up on your favorite podcasts, audiobooks, or TV shows. Your local library will likely have a great selection of free audiobooks to keep you company while you're on the treadmill. Try rolling out your yoga mat in front of your favorite sitcom so you can laugh while you move your body. Making exercise entertaining and enjoyable can help you keep at it; you're much more likely to keep doing things you enjoy rather than things you don't. Besides, when you're watching your favorite guilty pleasure dating shows, you might feel a little less guilty if you're getting a workout in.

Jump Rope

"But jump rope is for kids!" you say. Well, why should they have all the fun? Pulling out the old jump rope and giving it a whirl can be a great way to ignite some childlike joy in your life, and that's never a bad thing! It's also a great cardio exercise that only requires a simple, cheap, readily available jump rope. Jumping rope is simple, but there are plenty of ways to spice it up and improve your technique. Try alternating the foot you jump with or crisscrossing your arms as you swing. You can even go Double Dutch if you can recruit a pair of friends or family members to swing the rope for you. As kids, we instinctually exercise through play, and finding ways to get back in touch with that instinct can help make exercise cozy and fun again!

Conclusion

Taking care of yourself is more than just working out, so treat yourself gently as we enter into the new year. When you set your New Year's Resolutions, find ways to get cozy, stay healthy, and have fun!

Authors

Graham Morris

NatureMade Copywriter

Graham has a degree in film with a focus on screenwriting from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He enjoys learning new things and finding the best, most engaging way to communicate them to a wide audience. Graham appreciates simplicity in life and nutrition, and wants to find the easiest, no-stress ways to stay healthy.

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Lynn M. Laboranti, RD

Science and Health Educator

Lynn is a Registered Dietitian (R.D.) and is a member of the Medical and Scientific Communications team at Pharmavite. She has over 20 years of experience in integrative and functional nutrition and has given lectures to health professionals and consumers on nutrition, dietary supplements and related health issues. Lynn frequently conducts employee trainings on various nutrition topics in addition to educating retail partners on vitamins, minerals and supplements. Lynn has previous clinical dietitian expertise in both acute and long-term care, as well as nutrition counseling for weight management, diabetes, and sports nutrition. Lynn earned a bachelor’s of science in Nutrition with a minor in Kinesiology/Exercise Science from The Pennsylvania State University. She earned a M.S. degree in Human Nutrition from Marywood University in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Lynn is an active member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Sports Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutritionists, Dietitians in Functional Medicine, and holds a certification in Integrative and Functional Nutrition through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

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