Five Simple Exercises to Ease You Into A Healthy New Year
A new year is a time for resolutions, and top of many people’s lists is a commitment to get healthier and improve their lifestyles. This promise is usually made in the wake of an overindulgent Christmas, so it makes sense that at a time when folks feel their most unhealthy, getting into shape is a top priority. Unfortunately, the evidence shows that not many people keep to their resolutions, even when they only involve simple exercises. America is a country plagued by obesity, with rising percentages resulting in one of the most overweight populaces in the world.
Obesity (and its more severe cousin, morbid obesity) can be classified as a genuine disability in modern America. Some people who suffer from the condition genuinely have their entire lives impacted by the disease. Morbid obesity can be classified as a disability in some serious cases, leading patients to avail of benefits like a handicap parking space or a disabled parking permit. They can also avail of telemedicine to treat their condition, and not have to leave their house to consult with the doctor. Despite these advances, the best line of defence against obesity is not treatment but prevention. If you’re worried about your weight after a heavy Christmas season, look to incorporate these five simple exercises into your daily routine, and keep yourself trim and fit as 2018 rolls in.
1. The Squat
A stone-cold classic, the squat is a perfect way to ease into a new fitness regime; it’s quick, can be performed anywhere, and is one of the most simple exercises you’ll find. This exercise is leg-based, and will help you build your quads, hams, and calves, while also burning off some of that pesky fat and strengthening your core muscles simultaneously. To perform it, stand with your feet roughly shoulder-length apart and put your hands straight out in front of you, palms down. Then sit back and down, making sure to keep your back straight. You should feel the burn on your legs immediately – this is a sign you’re doing it right! The goal with the squat is to get your thighs parallel to the floor if possible.
2. The Plank
When it comes to simple exercises, a surprisingly underrated little number is the plank, a practically static exercise that can help you build muscle while you appear to do nothing at all. There are two variants of the plank: one with your elbows on the ground, and the other with your hands extended (known as the high plank). All you have to do is to prop yourself on the ground like you’re going to do a push-up – and stay there. For the elbow variant, you simply place your forearms on the ground. The plank is especially great for your core; you’ll feel the pull there after a few minutes. It also helps your abs and shoulders to boot.
3. The Push-Up
While you’re in plank position, you might as well segue into the push-up, one of the most tried and tested simple exercises that anyone should know how to perform. In case you don’t, here’s how: support yourself on your hands and toes (palms directly under the shoulders), and push your whole body up and down while maintaining a straight line across your back and legs. Push-ups are pretty demanding on the body, but that’s why they’re considered a classic; they tone and firm up every single muscle in the anatomy, making them a great choice for a daily exercise. You can do as little as ten proper push-ups to feel a positive effect.
4. The Reverse Lunge
The reverse lunge is another exercise that works the legs. Interestingly, if you’ve ever run up the stairs, you’ve performed a series of lunges; anyone who knows what it’s like to be completely out of breath at the top of a flight of stairs knows how demanding lunges can be. The reverse lunge is a similar motion, but done backwards. Start with your feet at shoulder-width apart, then inhale as you step back with your foot. Next, bend your knees to create two 90-degree angles with your legs. Your back knee should be three to six inches from the ground. The goal is to get as low as you can with this one!
5. The Lying Hip Rise
The last of our simple exercises to get you into shape this new year is the lying hip rise, which might look a little weird to perform – but as long as you do it when nobody’s around, you’ll be fine! This one works your glutes and hamstrings while also giving your abs, back, and thighs a powerful workout. To perform it, simply lie on your back, with your feet flat to the floor and your knees bent. Fan your arms out to the side at a 90-degree angle, then lift your lower body off the ground while keeping your feet flat. Hold that position for as long as possible, then slowly lower your hips back down and repeat as necessary!