People are creatures of habit. We like routines because they provide structure to our lives and help us know what to expect, but even the best routines can use an occasional revamp. By giving your routine a makeover, you can learn new things, gain new perspectives and enjoy new experiences — you can even improve your health.
Below are seven healthy ways to refresh your routine. And since we’ve just entered a new year, there’s no better time to put them into action.
TRY A NEW WORKOUT
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut with your favorite workouts, but the body responds to unpredictability. Rather than going back to the same old exercises to start the new year, try something new. If you typically jog, mix it up with occasional high-intensity interval training sessions. If yoga is your thing, pick up some weights or take a strength-training class.
SPEND MORE TIME OUTDOORS
Getting outdoors has been shown to lower stress levels and improve your mood. It’s also a great way to soak up vitamin D and all its benefits, from immune support to bone and heart health. If you’re stuck at a desk all day, take a short walk outside during your lunch break. If you’re a treadmill aficionado or typically lift weights in the gym, try heading outdoors for a hike or bodyweight workout.
LEARN A FEW NEW RECIPES
Many of us are guilty of cooking the same boring meals each week — or, worse, resorting to takeout. Instead, pick up a cookbook, find inspiration on Instagram or browse the recipes on MyFitnessPal. There are countless great meals out there, from slow-cooked stews to quick, weeknight dinners.
Between your job, family and social responsibilities, it’s often hard to get a good night’s sleep. Most adults need 7–9 hours per night to function at their best. To get on the right track, set a bedtime, and stick to it. Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day is a good start, as this practice promotes sleep quality and trains your body to prepare for sleep as bedtime approaches.
SIGN UP FOR A RACE
Nothing motivates you quite like having an event on your calendar. But if races aren’t your thing, no worries — try a new sport or join a walking or cycling club in your neighborhood. Anything that encourages you to get out there and move is beneficial to your health and fitness.
If you’re unorganized, even the simplest tasks can feel overwhelming. This year, add some serenity to your life by organizing what stresses you out. Maybe it’s your desk or your home gym. It could be your fridge or your pantry. By getting and staying organized, you’ll be better prepared to handle life’s daily tasks and tackle some of your more ambitious goals.
TAKE TIME TO RELAX
Wellness is holistic, and it can’t be achieved solely through diet and exercise. Meditate, write in a journal, listen to music, get a massage, take a bath or do literally anything else that helps you relax. Studies show even 10 minutes can be enough to reduce stress. Make relaxation a part of your daily routine, even if you have to schedule it in your day, and you’ll feel better all year long.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Routines can be healthy, especially if they involve regular exercise, nutritious eating and quality sleep. But even the most well-intentioned routines are likely to get off track or to fall by the wayside completely. So, this year, mix up your routine (or start one), and reap the benefits — after a few weeks, you may notice you’re not only healthier but also more efficient with your time.
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