10 Simple, Smart AND Realistic New Year’s Resolutions to Positively Impact Your Health in 2021
Welcome, sweet, sweet 2021! We have all been eager to put this crazy year behind us and hit January running. Have you set your New Year’s Resolutions yet? Yes, of course, eating well and exercising is on the list – but are you remembering to be kind to your body and make room in your life for rest & recovery?
If you are like me, your schedule is jam-packed, and that’s probably the way you like it. I don’t leave myself much downtime either (except to spend time with my daughter), but active individuals need to prioritize their selfcare routine as much as they do their training regime. If you’re putting in the effort to crush your workouts, then you deserve to see maximum results! Many fitness enthusiasts cannot wrap their heads around the importance of rest, which is actually when muscles repair and grow stronger.
So let’s commit to doing this together! Here are 10 easy ways to become more mindful of your recovery program:
1. Drink 3-4 litres of water per day to stay hydrated. Dehydration can make you feel even worse during the recovery period, so keep that in mind and sip on water all throughout the day (especially when you exercise).
2. Foam roll or stretch at least twice per week. If you are feeling especially sore, this can be a chore, believe me, I know! But spending time warming up your muscles and gently stretching out your body will help you maintain your mobility to benefit you long-term. Here is a link to my favourite stretching routine: https://www.juliegermaine.com/stretching-how-to-get-flexible-fast/
3. Kick back and put your legs up. If you think about it, we are constantly in a position with our legs down, such as walking, standing, or sitting. By elevating your legs even for 5 minutes, you will improve circulation and cut down on any swelling within your muscles.
4. Plan a vacation. At some point, we will be able to get back to a normal lifestyle, which includes spending time with loved ones and travelling. Look ahead and start to dream about your next trip, even if it’s to a spa on Saturday. Getting into that headspace will make you feel happier and will ensure you have recovery in the schedule in the future.
5. Don’t work out today. Rest days are a crucial component to every healthy fitness program, so just do nothing a few days per week. It can feel strange, but you are making the right choice to allow your body time to rest and recover from your intense training program.
6. Indulge (guilt-free!) in a relaxing bath. DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) may have your muscle screaming one to two days after a workout, so treating yourself to a soothing bath is a wonderful way to reduce inflammation and process healing. I recommend alternating between cool and hot baths or trying both and sticking with the one that your body responds best to.
7. Take up writing regularly. When you allow yourself time to observe your thoughts by journaling, or practice mental self-care by spending time being creative and developing a fictional story, you give your physical side a much-needed break.
8. Spend 5 minutes every morning meditating. This minor time commitment can pay off in a big way by helping you focus on your priorities. It is a proven way to become more successful in achieving your goals! You will also tune into your body and become better able to gauge if you are ready for another workout or need more rest.
9. Eat before bed every night. Enjoying a bedtime snack that is high in protein, like a protein shake, provides your body with the nutrients it needs to build muscle.
10. Commit to getting at least 8 hours of sleep every single night. This could be a tough one, but I promise you will be grateful in so many ways! You will reduce your stress level, realize better brain function, and have more energy to put into your workouts if you ensure your body is able to properly go through complete sleep cycles each night.
I suggest choosing 3 off this list and adding them to your list of New Year’s Resolutions to help you make amazing progress in your fitness journey this year! Cheers to 2021!
Coach Julie Germaine is an NFLA-certified fitness expert and prenatal trainer, and an NASM-certified nutrition specialist. She is also a fit mom to an active toddler and a 2x world-class fitness champion who has been featured in and contributed to numerous fitness, fashion, and lifestyle magazines and other media. She has loved helping men and women lose belly fat and maintain their incredible body transformations as a virtual coach since 2005.