words Alexa Wang
Have you arrived at the new year ready to rethink your exercise regime? Perhaps you want to do more than Joe Wicks’ PE sessions and you’re wondering where to start?
Now that we’re out the other side of 2020, we can focus on our own wellbeing and fitness levels. But what makes January the ideal time to jump on the fitness train? And what exercises are the right fit? Read on to find out.
Why exercise right now?
In usual circumstances when we’re not in a national lockdown, many of us flock to the gym as soon as we’ve seen in the new year. In fact, around 12% of gym members sign up in January, while others sign up for exercise classes.
So, what makes January a good month for exercise? First, there’s a buzz about starting a fresh year. This is a chance to begin a new chapter feeling revitalised – especially after indulging over Christmas. We want to swap the mince pies for fruit and sitting on the sofa for long walks and quick HIIT workouts.
Another reason why the first month of the year is a great time to get exercising is that it’s the perfect antidote to the cold weather and dark nights. Whether you head out for a jog or you hop onto a peloton Zoom class, you can enjoy building up endorphins that help shake off low moods and promote positivity.
Exercise with care
Whatever type of exercise you do, be careful and make sure you wear the appropriate protective clothing and footwear. According to recent research by National Accident Helpline, a third of survey respondents said they’d been injured while exercising at home. Home exercise has become unavoidable recently, so it’s worth taking things slow and building up gradually.
If you do hurt yourself, you might need to seek medical help. Doctors should be able to care for you and assess any injuries you sustain – if not or you don’t receive the treatment you need you might need to seek further advice.
Whichever exercise you attempt, plan out what you’re going to do before you do it and go slowly. Even the most experienced gym-goers can get injured, so be sure to take it easy, especially at first.
What are the best exercises for weight loss?
If you’re exercising to help tone up and lose some pounds, there are plenty of options available – especially if you’re new to exercise and want to ease in gently.
First up is walking. This is low-impact exercise that allows you to dictate the speed, route, and length of exercise. The average adult can burn as much as 167 calories per 30 minute walk and studies have proven the link between walking and weight loss.
If you feel ready, you could take it up a level by jogging or even running. This is a great fat burning form of exercise. Again, you can pace yourself here and gradually build up to a level that you’re comfortable with. Couch to 5k is a great introduction to jogging.
Alternatively, get on your bike! Cycling is a brilliant way to burn calories, plus if you head out on a weekend, you can explore your surroundings. If you’re not ready to go out on the lanes and roads, stationary bikes are just as beneficial for weight loss. Plus, you can blast out your favourite playlist in the comfort of your own home as you go.
What are the best exercises for weight gain?
Looking to build muscle and bulk up? There are several exercises to try that can help you achieve the definition and target weight you’re looking for.
Pushups are a great start. These not only help to build muscle, but they boost upper body strength. These can take a while to get into so go slowly first, aiming for five to start with, then building to 10 when you’re ready. Repeat as many times as you feel comfortable.
Squats are another great muscle-builder, this time for the buttocks and legs. These can be easy to get wrong, so be sure to keep your feet in line with your hips-width distance. Next, lower yourself as though you are about to sit. Aim for your thighs to be parallel to the ground and keep your upper body still. Raise yourself back up and repeat as much as you want to, building slowly.
Which exercises are you going to attempt in January? Do you have plans to keep fit well into 2021?