It’s crunch time. You’re two weeks into your New Year’s Resolution. By now you might be feeling the strain of the life altering change you’ve promised to see through, but stay strong. It takes 21 days to make a habit and you’re only 7 days away. Don’t be anxious, or stressed because there is one thing that will help you accomplish almost all of your New Year’s Resolutions, and it’s simple to do. EXERCISE!

Weight Loss

Everyone knows that exercise can help you lose weight, but exercise is a very broad, vague term at times. If your resolution is to lose weight and you’re killing yourself with the same workout over and over but aren’t seeing the results you want …. SWITCH IT UP! Exercise isn’t a one size fits all kind of thing. Try something new like boot camp, a cycling class, group fit, swimming, yoga, pick-up basketball, resistance training, Ridge X, or a personal training session. Your body will work harder than before because it’s trying something new and you may just find something that gives you the edge to reach your weight loss goal.

On a side note, if you’re debating between steady state cardio and some interval training, several studies show that while both types of exercise provide excellent benefits. Sweating it out for a 30 minute Ridge X session is a more efficient way to burn fat and lose weight compared to long duration steady state cardio, especially if you’re in a time crunch.

Stay Healthy, Physically and Mentally

Regular exercise boosts good cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein) levels while lowering the levels of harmful triglycerides to keep your body running at peak efficiency throughout the day. Since your body is humming along at 100%, your protection against stroke, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, depression, anxiety, and stress all skyrocket, making you a healthier, happier you.

Boost Energy and Improve Mood

Having a bad day? Need a boost of energy to keep your resolution cruising along? There’s nothing better than getting to the gym and blowing off some steam by throwing around some iron, pushing yourself on a cardio machine, or gritting through a fitness class. This type of physical exertion releases endorphins into your brain which relaxes your nerves, improves your mood, and boosts your confidence. At the same time, the influx of oxygen and nutrients that exercise pushes to your muscles helps your heart and lungs work in overdrive, boosting your energy levels and turning you into an ass-kicking machine.

Maintain Healthy Eating

Regular exercise has shown to lead to healthier diet decisions and also decreases appetite after your exercise bout is done. Be careful though, it’s easy to think that you just burned through a thousand calories on the treadmill, when in fact you were around the 400-500 range. Another aspect of maintaining your new healthy eating habits is to drink plenty of water. For all the incredible things your body and brain can do, they are terrible at deciding if you’re hungry or thirsty. All you know is that you need something in your stomach. Be honest, more often than not you’re going to reach for the hamburger over the bottle of water. If you are feeling hungry and don’t feel like you should be, drink a glass of water and wait 10-15 minutes. More times than not you’ll feel full after this and you can go on with your day. If you still feel hungry though, then you’re actually hungry and feel free to crack open that bag of carrots and have a snack.

Side note: Veggies, always choose veggies…. not fries, VEGGIES!

Kick a Habit

All of the benefits of exercise I’ve outlined can be directly cut and pasted into this section. Whether your habit is smoking, chewing tobacco, biting your nails, binge watching 10 seasons of a TV show on Netflix, or whatever else, it doesn’t matter. Exercise benefits all of you and can help you fight those urges when you’re trying to beat that monkey off your back. So instead of lighting up or queuing up the next episode, take a breath and go on a walk, go to the gym, hike the M, or do anything else that’s physically demanding. I promise it will help.

Sleep Better

If you’re like me and struggle falling asleep because your mind is running a million miles an hour with everything you have to get done tomorrow, RELAX! Regular exercise is great for tiring out your body and brain while providing you a sense of accomplishment for that day. This can lead to falling asleep faster and having deeper, more restorative sleep that your body craves. Careful not to workout too close to bedtime. Some people who regularly workout late at night have more trouble falling asleep due to the excess energy boost that comes with exercise. Just like with everything else though, test it out and see when you react best to exercise, then plan your day accordingly from there.


About the Author
Jake Bushnell has a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science and
is an ACSM Personal Trainer at the Ridge Athletic Clubs.