By Erika Stalder, Designed by by Isabelle Rancier, Refinery29
Sooo…about those New Year's Resolutions. Though most of us have the most noble of intentions, not to mention dedicated wallets (Americans will spend a projected $5.6 billion this year on resolution-related stuff and services), the statistics are grim: 75 percent of us ditch our goals to become fitter and healthier by the second week of January. For intentions that are born with the brightest of hope, the reality is downright depressing.
We're here to combat these dismal trends by offering 12 low-to-no-cost (and, more importantly, achievable) ways to stay healthy and well throughout the year. Mind you, these are not the secrets to losing 20 pounds in 20 days or reaching a higher state of being during your lunch break. Instead, we've discovered little ways to tweak your days (and nights) that yield a high impact when it comes to getting - and staying - healthy.
Because, as it turns out, the road to fitness or even a feel-good you isn't paved with grueling bootcamp workouts or perfecting a six-minute mile; it's about innovative ways to carve out pockets of time in even the most hectic of days and treat our bodies and brains. The result? A leaner, clearer-minded you without the burden (or potential disappointment) of having to meet lofty goals. Read on for R29's month-by-month guide to a fitter, happier, healthier you.
No matter how you slice it, TV is a horrible motivator when it comes to exercise - and we're not just talking about those cupcake shows, either. A University of Alberta study showed that the hysterical and grueling workouts in weight-loss TV shows not only failed to motivate viewers to exercise more, it turned them off to the whole idea completely. So if you're watching The Biggest Loser... more
Photo by: Designed by Naomi Abel, R29
January: Go TV-Free
No matter how you slice it, TV is a horrible motivator when it comes to exercise - and we're not just talking about those cupcake shows, either. A University of Alberta study showed that the hysterical and grueling workouts in weight-loss TV shows not only failed to motivate viewers to exercise more, it turned them off to the whole idea completely. So if you're watching The Biggest Loser in hopes of motivating your own workouts, you're more likely to avoid the gym in general.
Rather than forming your goals and motivations around the miracle transformations seen on TV, the study's researcher, Tanya Berry, suggests recalibrating expectations to yield more attainable results. "When you start exercising, you might not be losing weight, but you lose the visceral fat - the fat that packed around the internal organs - and that's the dangerous fat," she says. "The stuff we find unattractive, the subcutaneous fat, isn't necessarily unhealthy. It just doesn't look good. If you start exercising, the first fat you lose is the internal stuff that is dangerous, but you don't see that, so you still see a muffin top. People may quit because they think they may not be achieving anything. But, they're achieving huge things for their health - even if it's not quite as obvious."
In short, Berry reminds us what TV programming won't: "The simple message, if you want to see positive benefits, is do a little bit [of physical activity] a less