When talking about the NEW YEAR, you hear plenty of conversations about optimism, making goals to help make this the best year ever, and for a while, everyone is excited about the possibilities of bettering themselves and their situation. And then...reality sets in...
After the confetti is gone (and the hangover is too) we must go back to dealing with real life. A new year means another year of paying bills, trying to keep up with our day to day jobs, managing our family life and more. The reality of all this can raise stress levels and diminish our once optimistic NEW YEAR attitude. One of the best ways to combat this is through working out which can help reduce blood pressure, reduce cortisol levels (the stress hormone that helps store FAT) and help one get better sleep at night.
Here are 5 tips to help you create a solid workout plan that will help wipe away all that stress and have you feeling fit and fine in the New Year:
Write down your goals -One of the greatest feelings in life is the sense of accomplishment that comes from completing a task or reaching a goal. To begin with, list 5 goals that you want to achieve with your workouts. Make them SPECIFIC, such as a number of workouts you want to complete each week, a number of pounds you want to lose in 60 days etc. Try to come up with 5 and create a word doc or just write them down on a piece of paper that you hang on the fridge. Just by having the visual list your stress levels can be reduced as you feel good that you DO have a plan on how to accomplish these positive goals.
Try a few different workout routines -Boredom is a huge reason why people fail to reach their workout and fitness goals. Rather than just hit the gym and knock out some reps, commit to trying out some workouts you've never done before. Yoga, kickboxing, CrossFit ...really mix it up and have some fun! You may discover that a workout you've never done before is one you want to stick with on a consistent basis. The variety will help prevent boredom and make you more likely to continue with your workouts on a regular basis.
Grab a roll -Not the dough kind, the FOAM kind! Foam rolling can be a fantastic way to start and finish your workouts and as you roll away muscle aches and pains, the slow, controlled motions of foam rolling can act as a bit of meditation as well, helping to lower blood pressure and your overall stress levels. Heck, put on some ENYA while you roll to amplify the effect even more! (unless you hate Enya, then yeah, don't do that...)
Find a partner -One of the best ways to keep on track with your workout goals is to have someone along for the ride with you. If you find a partner such as a friend or family member who has similar fitness goals, they can workout with you can help each other stay on track as you hold each other accountable. Nothing motivates you to go to the gym like a text from your workout partner that says, "I will see you at 9am for our workout!"
Revisit your goals monthly -Writing down your goals is one thing, but don't just create em and forget em! Make sure to visit those goals at least monthly. Are you making progress? Do you need to change anything up that isn't working? Have you met a goal and need to cross it off as COMPLETED? As you make progress with your goals, your sense of accomplishment will get higher as your stress levels get lower!
So, if New Year stress has you feeling less than festive, take a few minutes, follow the tips above, and make a regular workout part of your NEW YEAR STRESS RELIEF PLAN! Exercise, as you know, provides a ton of healthy benefits and stress relief is chief among them.
Happy New Year and good luck on your stress relieving workout journey!