Building a Healthy Routine From the Ground Up
There’s no doubt the past year has changed the way we live and the activities we do. Workout routines have likely been thwarted due to closed gyms, and former healthy habits may be a little rusty after a series of unexpected life events. It happens! If you feel like you’re starting from square one, you’re not alone. We may not know when our favorite places to break a sweat will reopen, but the good news is there are affordable and accessible options for you to stay fit while staying safe.
Before starting any new exercise program it’s important to know what you’re getting into. Choosing movements that are enjoyable and sustainable are two key components to a successful workout routine. If you’ve always hated running and still do, there’s no need to start training for a marathon. If you aren’t a big fan of the pool, swimming probably isn’t for you! The point is to select an activity that you find interesting, do-able, yet still challenging so there’s room to improve. If you don’t know what that is, consider experimenting and try new activities to see what sticks.
Gearing Up For Mindful Movement
It’s easy to get caught up in the amount of health/fitness gear and clothing that is on the market. Keep it simple. Choose clothing that is weather-appropriate, comfortable, and well-fitting. Footwear is especially important for exercise. Whether you’re walking, running, or weightlifting, sport-specific footwear is essential in order to prevent injury and ensure proper form. If you’re serious about finding the right pair, visit your local running store or sporting goods shop to consult a specialist. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to start, but having at least a foundation of workout gear can help you feel comfortable and confident during your movement of choice.
Back to basics:
- Activewear: Tops and shorts/pants that are sweat-wicking and breathable material, allowing you to move comfortably.
- Shoes: Find sport-specific shoes for your chosen activity. A pair of supportive active sneakers can go a long way, but every sole is different. Your shoes will impact your comfort and performance. I love the Alaina Active Sneakers (pictured above).
- Headphones: Good music is a must! A personal playlist is added motivation to keep moving.
- Water bottle: Grab a reusable water bottle that can be re-filled before, during, and after exercise. Hydration is always important.
Equipment Essentials in the Comfort of Your Home
At-home fitness is all the rage now, and with good reason! With many gyms and fitness studios temporarily closed, now is a good time to stock up on fitness equipment that makes exercise easy to do at home. But remember, keep it simple! Your home gym doesn’t have to replicate a 24-hour fitness center with every piece of equipment you can imagine. Less is more, so stick to the necessities.
- Two sets of dumbbells: (One light, one moderate/heavy) With dumbbells in your arsenal, anything is possible. I recommend a light to moderate set of dumbbells, and a heavy set. Find a pair of weights that feels challenging so you can work on those gains!
- Jump rope: Great for cardio and a full body workout, jump roping is an easy way to improve cardiovascular endurance.
- Resistance bands: Resistance training improves muscular strength. Resistance bands are a low impact option to train using primarily bodyweight.
- Exercise mat & yoga blocks: Yoga and deep stretching are a great option for mobility and can provide much needed calming and grounding. Yoga blocks are an additional accessory to assist with poses and stretching.
- Foam roller: Muscle tightness and soreness are common effects from exercise. Foam rolling can help relieve inflammation in the joints and increase range of motion. Warming up and cooling down with stretching and/or foam rolling can prevent injury and increase performance.
- Room to move: An open space that’s big enough to safely move around. Make sure you have enough room to jump, raise your arms, and move side to side. Full range of motion should be possible in your exercise space so you can move fully and freely!
Don’t feel pressured to buy all fitness tools at once. Start with your favorite and necessary equipment, then build as you go along.
At-home workouts can be just as effective as a studio session, and you might even find that it’s easier to squeeze movement into your day when you don’t have to pack a bag and travel to the gym. Schedule your exercise like an appointment, honor the commitment and keep showing up.