Have you resolved to get in better shape? Discover 12 realistic fitness goals to set in 2023 that you can reach for as you strive for better overall health.
It's 2023, and you've resolved to get in better physical shape this year. Perhaps this is the first time you've made this new year's resolution. Maybe this is the ninth year in a row you've decided to set fitness goals, and it's finally time to do something about it.
The key is to set realistic fitness goals for you to attain rather than a major goal that seems impossible to reach. Discover 12 smaller goals to set in 2023 to achieve better fitness and overall physical health.
1. Walk Before You Run
When we were kids, we had to learn to walk before we could run. Similarly, start walking 15 to 30 minutes a day as you work your way towards better fitness. Harvard Health says walking can ease pain in your joints, improve your immune function, and even tame your cravings for sweets.
2. Exercise Without Equipment
You don't need fancy equipment to get a good workout. Pushups, sit-ups, crunches, walking, jogging, and even pull-ups don't need expensive barbells, weights, or pulleys. The key to working out without equipment is to use your own body pushing against gravity as the resistance force to help you grow stronger.
3. Try a New Workout Every Month
Vary your workout every month to keep it fresh. For example, try jogging one month, yoga the next, bike riding after that, aerobics classes, and then pilates. Eventually, you'll find the ones you like the most and develop a routine. You don't even need to have the same workout routine from week to week to see benefits.
4. Use the Buddy System
Find a workout buddy, ideally someone you trust like a friend, family member, or significant other, to help you get in shape. A workout buddy makes exercise more fun. Plus, both of you can hold each other accountable for getting in shape as well as compete in a friendly way against each other. Competition can help you strive to do better.
5. Put Workouts on Your Calendar
Rather than resigning yourself to just "getting around to it," make a concerted effort to carve out a block of time every week for working out. It can be when the kids are at school, before you head to work, or just ahead of dinner. Develop a weekly routine and stick to it, making it easier to fit workouts into your time.
6. Drink Plenty of Water
Rather than reach for that soda, fruit drink, or refreshing adult beverage, consider drinking more water.
WebMD states there are several reasons why you should drink plenty of water:
• Improved digestion
• Better absorption of nutrients
• Consumption of fewer calories for better weight control
• Hydrating the muscles for better movement during exercise
• Better-looking skin
Mayo Clinic says to drink around a dozen cups of water a day. Start by taking a sip of water every 15 minutes to stay hydrated throughout the day, unless you're increasing your physical activity. Try not to guzzle a lot of water at once. Getting enough water every day makes workouts easier to handle because it replenishes fluids lost through sweating.
7. Sleep at Least 8 Hours
Sleep helps your body heal from the stress of the day before. It's your natural healing mechanism where your brain works behind the scenes to help your body get better and stay better.
A good night's sleep of at least eight hours can help:
• Lower your risk of serious health problems like heart disease and diabetes
• Reduce stress and anxiety
• Stay at a healthier weight
• Improve your mood
• Reduce risks of getting sick
8. Start With Stretching
Not every type of physical activity needs to be a rigorous cardio workout. Stretching is a form of physical activity. Gradually work through stretching every part of your body, going from the neck and shoulders down to your calves and feet. Stretching may decrease the chances of a physical injury, increase blood flow to your muscles, and increase the range of motion of your joints. Proper stretching can lead to more rigorous workouts later on. Plus, stretching gives you a feel for your body's limits before you increase your physical activity.
9. Take a Fitness Class
There are many types of fitness classes out there. You don't have to attend a class in person. There are plenty of online fitness classes you can tap into, and then continue with the ones you enjoy the most. Looking for something new and trendy? Trapeze, roller skating, and trampoline are growing segments of fitness classes. Studies show that being part of a team or group can increase motivation to accomplish tasks.
10. Eschew the Elevator
Rather than use an elevator or escalator, take the stairs. Taking the stairs can get some extra physical activity for just a few minutes a day. Before you know it, you feel better and have a spring in your step.
11. Eat One Healthier Item a Day
Changing your diet often fails because you feel overwhelmed about transforming every little aspect of your eating habits. Comprehensive meal plans can be challenging to follow, with lots of details to remember. Quitting your entire diet one day and going all-in the next might seem daunting, and it could cause your digestive system to turn somersaults in your gut.
Instead, replace one dish a day with something healthier. For instance, replace white rice with organic brown rice or switch out corn for a green leafy salad. Try this for one month. Then, replace another dish with a healthier item the next month. By the time you're at the end of the year, you've got an entirely new dietary regimen that's easy to keep track of. Feel free to experiment until you find great-tasting foods that are better for your body.
12. Reward Yourself Every Day
We're only human. We need positive reinforcement to motivate ourselves. Reward yourself every day for taking steps in the right direction to improve your health. It can be spending 15 minutes in meditation, reading before going to bed, or indulging in one piece of dark chocolate. Pick things that you truly enjoy as a reward, and have fun moving forward with the new and improved you in 2023!