Easy Ways to Look and Feel Stronger in the New Year
New Year’s resolutions aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but most people have the desire to set and ultimately achieve goals they set for themselves throughout the year. When it comes to physical health, feeling stronger is a less common but incredibly important objective anyone can set their sights on. Being strong does not mean you’re able to lift hundreds of pounds or mimic a bodybuilder’s workout routine – it simply means you are confident that your body can keep pace with your lifestyle without feeling fatigued or strained. If increasing your strength is part of the to-do list this year, here are a few tips to get the job done right.
Start Small with Tracking
One of the easiest things you can do to increase your strength in the new year is to pay close attention to how active – or inactive – you are every day. Physical activity doesn’t necessarily mean an intense workout or running several miles on a lunch break; it includes steps taken, number of minutes spent moving around, and hours awake. These metrics are helpful in setting the benchmark for activity and improving it over time. Invest in a tracking wearable that monitors your activity each day, and aim to increase your steps, active time, or workouts each week after reviewing your results.
Add Mini Workouts
Building strength does not come by way of staying idle, but putting in the effort to get a lengthy workout on the agenda for the day can be overwhelming. The great news is that effective workouts do not need to be an hour or more. You can slip in a shorter workout, focused on strengthening the muscles of the core, back, legs, or arms, any time of the day. Think about how long it will take you to do 15 push-ups, 20 crunches, or a few jumping jacks. Those few minutes once or more per day can add up to a solid workout that helps increase your strength exponentially.
Don’t Be Afraid of Weights
If strength is your goal, challenging yourself with some form of weightlifting may be an initial, albeit intimidating thought. Most people shy away from weights because they fear their muscles may get too bulky, or that they will experience an injury if they select the wrong weight to start. The concern over bulking up isn’t a reality for most adults, but working with a trainer or experiencing weight-lifting friend who can show you the ropes may be beneficial. Always start with a low weight and work your way up slowly. You can still build strength by doing more reps at a weight that feels comfortable for you.
Mind Your Diet
Feeling stronger not only requires some changes to your daily activity but also the fuel you give your body. Diet is key to building strength and maintaining it over time, and focusing on the essentials will get you where you want to be. Avoid skipping breakfast, and keep the sugary snacks and high-fat foods to a minimum. Muscles require protein to grow over time, so focus on foods that are high in lean, natural protein to boost your strength game each day.
In addition to these tips to feeling stronger in the new year, be sure to add in plenty of time for rest and relaxation. Taking care of your body is not only done during your active hours but takes place while you sleep as well. Ensure you’re getting enough rest each night, and take days off from your strength-building workouts to let your muscles recover. Each of these activities will lay the foundation for a stronger, healthier you in the coming year.