If you’re like 99.9% of new-year-new-you resolution makers, then you need to put down the bag of Doritos right now. If you want to get in shape, it’s all about forming some simple and healthy daily habits. When they’re simple, it’s easier to blend them into your routine. To help get your head right and your ass to follow, here’s a short list of simple at-home fitness hacks that don’t require a two-year gym blood-oath or a $3,000 stationary bike.
Drink more water.
Seems simple enough, and it is. Research shows that our bodies respond favorably to an appropriate level of hydration. Every last cell that makes up your organs, muscles, tendons, bones, skin, and even the gray matter between your ears relies on water to work optimally. You should be drinking two-thirds of your body weight in ounces every day. For example, if you weigh 180 pounds, multiply your weight times .67 (which is 67%, or two-thirds). You should be drinking 120 ounces of water a day, or roughly 10 12-ounce glasses. As far as good habits go, this one is the easiest to pick up.
Eat bright-colored fruit.
Prevailing wisdom says that bright-colored fruit, such as oranges, apples, melons, pineapples, berries, and bananas are “happy fruit.” From a visual standpoint this makes sense because, well, they look pretty stoked to be fruit. From a biological standpoint red fruit contains phytochemicals that fight cancer and support eye health; orange and yellow contain alpha and beta carotene, which is converted to Vitamin A to support immune function and strong joints and bones; blue and purple are full of antioxidants, which are great for heart and brain health.
Do 30 pushups a day for 30 days.
Now that you’re drinking water and grabbing some fresh fruit, it’s time to drop and give me 30! Pushups are a simple exercise that works almost every muscle group in your body. Arms, shoulders, back, abs, glutes, legs, all get to play nicely together. Well, maybe not to start, but eventually. The idea is to do 30 pushups a day for a month. If you’re starting from square one, try doing just a couple at a time. If you can pump out sets of five or 10, go for it. Remember, it’s 30 a day, not 30 all at once.
Get on a HIIT program.
For those of you who are gluttons for punishment, this one’s for you. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is aimed at burning the most calories possible in the shortest amount of time. A workout is made up of short periods of all-out exercise with short periods of active rest in between. The active rest is meant to make your body work that much harder when you’re going all out. No equipment required. YouTube is loaded with workouts you can try.
Start practicing yoga.
The answer to your question is “no.” Yoga is for anyone who wants a better mind-body connection, better flexibility, stamina, and strength. It’s not some trendy suburban bubble-tea fad. Yoga sessions are meant to be thoughtful and push your mind and body to healthier states of being. You’ll feel lost at first learning the basic moves and poses. But that fades. And you’ll sweat. A lot. So have a towel handy. Women’s Health has a great list of videos to check out.
Bust your tail with air squats.
Body-weight workouts are awesome because they only require your movement. No added kettlebells, medicine balls, free weights, or other equipment. And air squats are an exercise that will sneak up on you. Here’s the routine: With feet shoulder-width apart, shoulders back, arms held straight out in front of you, and keeping your heels on the ground, squat as deeply as you can without incurring pain in your knees (or other joints); repeat 10 to 15 times. That’s it. As you build strength in your legs and lower back, add more squats. You may not feel it immediately, but your ass will curse you the next day.
Yep, Pilates is still a thing. And it’s a legit workout. Again, no weights or special equipment to invest in, just sweat equity. Like HIIT workouts, YouTube is a gold mine for Pilates videos. Make sure you do some looking around and find the right instructor for you. There are definitely programs and personalities that may appeal more than others. Cosmo pulled together a pretty good list to start with. Remember, motivation and positive strides are the goal.
Walk it off.
Lace up a good pair of walking shoes and go spend a half-hour or more outside. There’s really no magic to this other than walk at a good pace. This isn’t holding hands with your significant other. This is you striding it out and getting your heart to beat the dust out of your chest. If you’re goal oriented, find a route of known distance and time your walks. As you start to run out of distance before your 30 minutes is up, add distance. Bring water on longer outings. Give yourself some uphills, too. They’re where it’s at.