Quick And Easy Fitness Hacks

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Starting a completely new, healthy lifestyle right on January 1 is tough, so begin by taking some baby steps. These exercise programs take less than 15 minutes a day, but they’ll pay off in the long run by helping you form a healthy habit early in the year and allowing you to continue your fitness goals in any other direction later on.

  

Photo: DVIDSHUB/Creative Commons


Resolution: put on some muscle
If you’re making your first foray into muscle gaining this year, start small by conditioning basic muscle groups with bodyweight exercises to prevent injuries and unnecessary discouragement. Take a look at this set of fitness routines by the fine folks over at 100 Push Ups, who built a no-brainer workout system that slowly takes you from couch to 100 consecutive push ups. They also figured out the keys to reaching 25 pull ups, 200 sit ups and 200 squats, all daunting numbers made easy with their gradually-increasing difficulties. Each one of these programs take less than 10 minutes every other day at the outset, so do two a day and alternate them.

 

Photo: Nicholas Tonelli/Creative Commons


Resolution: increase your range of motion and flexibility
Sports injuries are usually the result of a lack of mobility that can be solved if you put a lot of time into it. However, if you’re starting off stiff as a board, start off easy with 15 minutes of light yoga poses daily at home for basic mobility. The following sequence really helps with your legs and hips, incorporating some of the most simple poses. Start on all fours in a downward dog, holding the pose for about 3-5 slow breaths, and move to upward dog to stretch your core, repeating the set for three reps each. Next, move to child’s pose to feel a stretch in your lower back and hips and hold for 30 seconds facing forward, then 30 seconds each slightly to the left and right sides. Now, to begin on your hips in earnest, return to downward dog and, from there, attempt a low lunge by stepping your right foot to your hand, and sliding your other foot back until you feel a stretch, 15-30 seconds on a side for three reps. Last, finish up with a classic quad stretch by lying on your side and pulling your foot to your buttock, keeping your core tight as you do so for 30 seconds a leg.

 
 
Photo: Craig Dugas/Creative Commons

Resolution: keep your diet on track
If staying on the straight and narrow with a new commitment to weight loss is something you had trouble with when 2013 rolled around, give yourself a boost by removing the temptation to compromise. First, start off with a daily food journal, as these let you see exactly what you are eating and make you less likely to cut corners. However, the most effective way to reduce the chances of getting into your old habit with snack foods is to start exploring other options. Rather than finding zero-fat or vegetarian versions of your favourite microwave dinner, stray away from so-called healthier replacements and check out Yummly for good meal ideas you may never have heard of. A free account lets you filter recipes from across the internet by rating, cuisine, style, flavour, ingredients and dietary restrictions. Your welcome.

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