Regardless of whether you’ve been exercising consistently for years or you’re brand new to an exercise regimen, the new year is a fantastic time to try something fresh. Our Lewisville pain and wellness team (locations also in Bedford and Benbrook) want to encourage you in this goal. To that end, we put together a list of the top five exercises to try in the new year. (You might be surprised to see how many of these are free and familiar!)
We can’t think of a better exercise to encourage you to try in the new year. Planks require no financial investment, no equipment and almost no training. If you are looking for a new and more effective way to target your core, planks are going to be your go-to modality. The best part is that there are several ways to increase a plank’s difficulty as you become more proficient at it.
Begin a plank by getting onto your hands and knees. While keeping your palms pressed into the floor, straighten each leg (one at a time) until you are supporting your body by only your toes and hands, creating a posture like that of a pushup. Engage, or tighten, your core muscles and stay in this position for as long as you can, continuing to breathe throughout the hold. Each time you do a plank, try to increase the amount of time you can hold this position.
Did you know that the recommended number of steps per day for a healthy, active lifestyle is 10,000? Although at first glance that may sound intimidating, the benefits far outweigh the challenge of carving out the time and energy to achieve that goal. Aside from being a free, simple activity that can be done just about anywhere, additional benefits include the following:
- Easy on joints (low impact)
- Improved mental functioning
- Improve heart health
- Increase muscle tone
- Strengthen bones
- Lose weight and/or maintain a healthy weight
Intermediate: Resistance Bands
If you have never been introduced to resistance bands as an exercise tool, we invite you to meet what may end up being your new favorite work out! Resistance bands offer a wide range of activities that can target every muscle group in your body. They are also small enough to travel with and can be used just about anywhere, making them a fantastic option for someone who travels a lot or who doesn’t have room in their home for big, bulky equipment.
Initially, you will want to invest in a 3-band “starter kit”: heavy, medium and light. The variety of resistance levels allows the user to customize his or her workout depending on the needs of each individual muscle group. Resistance bands can be used for strength training, improving balance, increasing coordination and more. Consult with an exercise specialist, a personal trainer or a Lewisville pain and wellness specialist (locations also in Benbrook and Bedford) for specific methods to use with the resistance bands.
Intermediate: Online Workout Subscription Services
Although this recommendation can be used by people of all different ages and fitness levels, we put it in the intermediate category because it requires a bit more technical understanding and investment than some of our other suggestions. Workout subscriptions are essentially digital gym memberships. They are apps, downloads or sites that allow the user to pay a monthly fee which gives them access to a wide range of pre-recorded or live streamed exercise classes.
One of the more significant benefits of this is that you can access high-quality materials that are customized for your workout preferences. There are subscriptions services for just about any type of workout, including:
- Strength & Conditioning
- Martial arts
- Low impact
- HIIT (more on that later)
Some may even include access to personal trainers and health coaches. Be sure to do your research ahead of time to find the best fit for your needs. And don’t forget to inquire about trial memberships so that you can experience it before you invest.
HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training. It made a name for itself back in the mid-2010’s and has continued to be a popular cardiovascular workout ever since. This category of exercise is designed to help athletes and other highly active individuals. HIIT is known for its short-but-intense intervals of cardio activity separated by low-intensity rests. Most HIIT workouts are less than 30 minutes total.
If you are looking for an exercise modality that delivers a lot of energy, challenge and growth potential, we encourage you to give HIIT a try. As we mentioned earlier, several online workout subscription services offer HIIT as one of their primary modalities so there are plenty of opportunities. If you have any concerns about HIIT being safe for you, consult your primary care physician prior to beginning.
Whatever your health goals might be for the new year, we’re here for you. Our team of physicians specialize in a variety of services to help support you best, including chronic care management, geriatric medicine, family medicine, hormone replacement therapy and more. Visit us at any one of our three clinic locations: Lewisville, Bedford and Benbrook. We can’t wait to meet you!