The 3 Best Yoga Moves To Stretch and Relax a Desk Chair Body

Many people work desk jobs, which typically equates to a sedentary lifestyle despite being super productive during your eight to 10-hour shift. Beyond being compared to smoking or cancer, sitting all day can lead to sore hips and a knotted back.

While there isn’t much to be done at work, aside from purchasing a better chair or a standing desk, you can improve your health and wellness outside of the office. Yoga is one activity that is surprisingly helpful when it comes to relieving sore muscles and stiff joints. The focus on breathing, stretching, and slow and controlled movements are the key to relaxing your body and finding relief. While all yoga is beneficial, several moves can help ease a rigid desk chair body.

1. Standing Forward Fold

The forward fold can help relieve compressed muscles by slowly stretching them. It is a simple move but quite effective when performed correctly. You want to stand with your feet slightly apart, about hips-width. With your hands on your hips, inhale deeply and stretch your arms straight out above you. As you exhale, you want to bend at the hips, folding forward and engaging your abs. Tuck your chin to your chest and relax your shoulders as you extend the top of your head toward the floor, stretching your spine. You want to keep your legs as straight as possible and shift your weight forward. You can either let your hands hang down toward the floor or grab the opposite elbow. Hold the pose for 30 seconds before slowly returning to an upright position.

2. Downward Facing Dog

The downward-facing dog pose focuses on strengthening all those areas that are stiff or sore from sitting all day: shoulders, back, hamstrings, and calves. To perform the pose, start on your hands and knees, your hands should rest on the floor beneath the shoulders, and your knees aligned with your hips. Inhaling, tuck your toes under your heels, and exhaling, lift your hips into an upside-down V shape. Spreading your fingers wide, create a line from your elbow to your middle finger on each side. Relax your head. Hold for 30 seconds.

Try to improve your posture every time you perform this pose. Work on lowering your heels to the ground and straightening your legs for the best possible stretch.

3. Cat-Cow Pose

The shoulders, chest, and spine tend to be the most affected by sitting all day. The Cat-Cow pose is a way to open up these areas while mobilizing the spine. Start in the same position as the downward dog pose, on your hands and knees, each aligned under the shoulders and the hips, respectively. Inhale deeply, and on the exhale, you want to pull your belly button up toward the spine, curving your back toward the ceiling. Allowing your neck to relax, bring your chin toward your chest. You are now in the cat position.

As you inhale, let your belly drop toward the floor and arch your back, lifting your head and tailbone toward the ceiling without straining your neck. You are now in the cow position.

Cycle through each position 10 times, controlling your breathing and focusing on posture. Remember to limit tension on the neck. These poses are intended to focus on the back, shoulders, and chest.

While yoga has many benefits overall, these three positions offer significant benefits to those who sit at a desk all day. What are some poses you would suggest? Leave a comment.

Which is Better: Pilates or Barre?

The Barre workout method has been gaining traction over the last several years, motivating several gyms to institute classes and programs. The technique is of particular interest to former dancers or those who admire most professional dancers' muscular physique and lean appearance. The most interesting thing about the Barre method is that it is advertised as a complement to Pilates and yoga and not an alternative. In truth, while more intensive, the workout does incorporate several principles and movements of Pilates, but it is more focused on the outcome of a dancer's body. Despite the apparent differences in styles, the goals of Pilates and Barre are pretty similar; Therefore, while most people want to look at exercise programs as an either-or situation, that is not the case with these two methods.

Looking Into the History of Each Method

Out of all the workout methods, there are few with such a storied history as Pilates. The founder of the technique, Joseph Pilates, created it while imprisoned in an internment camp during World War I. He wanted to help fellow cot-ridden prisoners maintain their health and mobility. Coming from such humble beginnings, Pilates has grown into a fitness and wellness program used by people from many walks of life, from pro-athletes to post-op patients.

While not as endearing or awe-inspiring, Lotte Berk, a dancer and teacher, is credited with inventing the original Barre method, the Lotte Berk Method, in 1959. She based her program on ballet, focusing on the core. The Barre method has evolved to incorporate movements from Pilates and yoga and focuses on measured movements, emphasizing form.

Similarities Between Barre and Pilates

Both Barre and Pilates are mental and physical disciplines. Each leads to similar results: improved flexibility and posture, sculpted and toned muscles, increased flexibility and mobility. Additionally, neither method requires high strain on the body, making it safer for most people than other exercise programs.

As mental disciplines, each method requires precision and focus to perform techniques. The level of concentration can lead to increased clarity and mind-body cognizance. Additionally, as each is a form of exercise, they result in the release of endorphins, causing feelings of relaxation and reduced stress levels.

Differences Between the Barre and Pilates Methods

The most apparent difference between the two methods is the use of equipment. Barre is a minimalist routine, using only a barre, mat, the occasional exercise ball, and your body weight. Alternatively, Pilates does require light hand weights and magic circles or Pilates wheels attached to some apparatus.

Barre also requires participants to push their muscles to the point of fatigue by focusing on intense, small movement in an aerobic setting. Pilates is non-aerobic and focuses on all muscle groups with the incorporation of various small and large movements. The primary goal of Pilates is to improve flexibility and core strength through a full-body workout.

The Primary Takeaway

Neither Pilates nor Barre is a superior workout by comparison. Each method achieves similar goals, and both live in a similar community. If anything, Barre is an excellent complement to Pilates, as the former often requires a cardiovascular or aerobic partner to achieve maximum results.

While Pilates and Barre are a part of a larger group of exercise methods, each provides unique benefits. One approach does not overshadow the other. If you are interested in a fun and effective regimen, consider using both methods to achieve superior results. If you only want to choose one, consider your current physical state.

Which method do you choose? Leave a comment.

Strength Training: The Forgotten Key to Weight Loss Success

Diet and exercise go hand-in-hand. However, when discussing weight loss, people often narrow their focus to diet and cardio. There is no denying that cardio is a valuable tool in a weight loss journey, but it should not be the only form of exercise you use.

Strength training often has more to offer individuals focusing on maintaining or achieving a healthy weight. In many ways, strength training might even be more beneficial than cardio to dieters and fitness enthusiasts.

What Is Strength Training?

Strength training encompasses any form of physical activity that raises the body's heart rate and uses resistance or tension to activate the muscle. It usually includes bodyweight or body-weight-based exercise.

Bodyweight exercises are always a good start, as they incorporate movement and cardiovascular fitness. However, movements that involve resistance or pulling are also a good starting point. Many of these movements include sitting back on your heels while holding a weight, or moving the weight across your body while sitting in a chair.  Several examples of strength training and bodyweight exercises include crunches, squats, push-ups, sit-ups, planks, lunges, and more. Additionally, for the more advanced individuals, weight lifting is also a form of strength training utilizing barbells, dumbbells, and other weighted or resistance tools.

Why Is Strength Training Important to Weight Loss?

While cardio increases endurance and helps burn calories, strength training increases both physical and metabolic strength. Additionally, while weight loss is linked to cardiovascular activity, it has also been tied to muscle building, decreasing stress levels, increased energy levels, improved sleep, and overall improved mood, all of which are improved with strength training.

Why Cardio May Not Be Enough

Cardio training is excellent for losing weight in the short term, but research shows that there is little evidence to suggest that it will be of much use for long-term weight loss. This is because cardio is more focused on burning calories that stick around for a while. However, strength training will burn fat more quickly. It also has the added benefit of reducing the risk of injury. In addition, research shows that strength training can help with losing weight in all areas of the body. Strength training might be the key to lasting weight loss, but many people still feel overwhelmed when it comes to getting started. This can be a particular problem for fitness beginners who are hoping to maintain weight loss for long periods of time.

How To Incorporate Strength Training Into Your Routine

People often overestimate the level of commitment required to start an exercise routine. Most experts recommend 30 minutes per day or at least 150 minutes per week. You do not have to complete the 30 minutes in one consecutive activity; you can split it up.

As far as the types of exercises, they typically fall into four main groups: push, pull, squat, and bench press. All of these exercises allow you to improve the strength of the muscles within your body. Many people use these types of activities to increase their overall health and wellness, and these will certainly aid in your quest to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Note that while some exercises are going to require weights, other activities can be performed without. 

Strength training is a valuable and necessary tool in your weight loss journey. However, as with any new exercise regimen, talk to your doctor first. Attempting to lift weights or perform exercises that you are not ready for can result in injuries. A doctor, physical therapist, or personal trainer can help you customize a workout routine that is appropriate for your current abilities.

6 Amazing (Natural) Remedies for IBS

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is more common than you may think. Anywhere from 25 million to 45 million people in the U.S. have it. That means around 1 in 10 Americans may have IBS symptoms! What can you do about it? 

Tip 1: Stop Listening to Family Members

One of the most important ways to deal with the symptoms of IBS is to ignore what other people tell you. There will always be a well-meaning family member offering to share the "secret" to curing bowel problems. The thing is, IBS is very different from other digestive problems, and some “common-sense” diet tips can make things worse.

Let me give you an example: fiber. Everyone knows that you need more fiber to help ease digestive discomfort, right? Well, with IBS, that’s not always the case. Yes, you need dietary fiber, but too much can actually trigger bloating, gas or constipation issues.

Tip 2: Go for a Walk

One of the worst triggers for IBS isn’t a food at all. It’s stress. There’s a direct connection between how you feel emotionally and how your colon works. Depression, anxiety or stressful events can trigger bowel problems.

Want a great solution for stress and IBS at the same time? Exercise! Working out is good for your body both physically and emotionally. It relieves stress, encourages healthy bowel movements, improves your self-esteem and even benefits your sleep quality — all of which are great for IBS symptoms.

Choose moderate-intensity exercises that get your heart rate up but feel relaxing:

  • Walking

  • Going for a calm bike ride

  • Doing low-impact aerobics

  • Swimming

  • Stretching

Pro tip: Exercising also makes it easier to pass gas, especially if you’re outdoors. You didn’t hear it from me!

Tip 3: Be Balanced

If you have IBS, try to take things slow and steady when it comes to diet changes. Let’s say you read an article on the health benefits of Greek yogurt. Normally, if you’re like me, you’d rush to the store to buy a couple of gallons right away! To avoid IBS symptoms, however, it’s better to avoid extremes. Start slow and work your way up.

Tip 4: Skip FODMAPs for a While

FODMAPs are carbohydrates that many people with IBS have trouble digesting. Unfortunately, FODMAPs appear in a surprising number of otherwise awesome foods:

  • Wheat

  • Rice

  • Some fruit (mainly watermelon, apples, mangoes, peaches, pears and cherries)

  • Onions

  • Garlic

  • Some vegetables (such as asparagus, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, mushrooms and snow peas)

  • Beans and lentils

  • Dairy foods with lactose (cow’s milk, soft cheeses and yogurt)

Take note of foods that cause problems for you personally. If you suspect certain grains make irritation worse, ignore Dr. Oz and listen to what your gut is saying. Identifying your personal triggers can be huge for avoiding IBS symptoms.

Tip 5: Try Peppermit Oil (in Capsules)

There's some evidence that taking peppermint oil can help with IBS symptoms such as abdominal pain, gas and bloating. This plant oil appears to help the muscles of your intestines relax while soothing irritated or painful spots from the inside. Go with capsules to avoid problems with heartburn.

Tip 6: Take Care of Your Gut With Probiotics

A healthy gut has a blend of over 300 different types of microorganisms that work together to protect your digestive lining, break down foods, make vitamins for your body, absorb nutrients and even improve your emotions! Getting plenty of probiotics can help with pain, boating, bowel movements and overall intestinal comfort.

You can find probiotics in several foods:

  • Yogurt

  • Sauerkraut

  • Kefir

  • Kimchi

  • Pickles

  • Kombucha

But wait — didn’t I just say that lactose in dairy can make IBS symptoms worse? If you notice that yogurt bothers you, there are several options. You could choose a lactose-free Greek yogurt. Or you can simply take a probiotic supplement and avoid the fuss!

A New Approach To Healthcare: Lifestyle Medicine

Typically, when people go to the doctor, it is to assess a variety of ailments. Lifestyle medicine goes beyond the ailment detection of medical practices and focuses on sustaining and perpetuating continued health and wellbeing through a more holistic approach.

The 7 Pillars of Lifestyle Medicine

While classified as a holistic approach, the theory of lifestyle medicine is a practice most medical professionals can get behind; the concept of balance in seven core areas of life. Lifestyle medicine focuses on the seven habits for a healthy life, and those habits contribute to reduced risks of chronic conditions.

1. Exercise

Movement or physical activity is vital to lifestyle medicine. A sedentary lifestyle can lead to many complications, including cardiovascular. By practicing at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week, you can find it easier to maintain or control your weight, strengthen muscles and bones, and promote mental wellbeing.

2. Nutrition

The dreaded nutrition pillar can seem problematic. Many people look at nutrition like rocket science, something complex and hard to grasp, but it is not as challenging as it looks. On a fundamental level, making a few minor adjustments to your diet can drastically improve your health. For example, eat out less than twice per week and swap a can of soda for water. Additionally, add more fruits and vegetables to your diet.

3. Outdoor Activity

The outdoors is nature’s gift to humanity. Spending even 30 minutes outside can increase your well-being. According to lifestyle medicine experts, you should spend a minimum of 120 minutes outside every week. Exposure to the outdoors is proven to reduce stress, limit inflammation, and improve sleep.

4. Sleep

Most adults know they need between seven and eight hours of sleep per night, but few get it. Many things affect your sleep, from noise to stress and diet. Lifestyle medicine highlights sleep as critical to overall health. To get a better night’s rest, consider sleeping in a quiet environment without tech or television. Additionally, avoid eating too late and do not consume caffeine after midday.

5. Emotional Wellbeing

Stress relief is vital to mental and physical health. Anxiety, worry, and fear all lead to problems with sleep, diet, and relationships. Finding a way to deal with stress is necessary and pivotal to lifestyle medicine. Practicing mindfulness is one way to combat the effects of stress.

6. Hydration

Dehydration leads to a variety of health issues: headaches, fatigue, dizziness, etc. While the rule is often stated as eight glasses of water per day, the Mayo Clinic would disagree. According to the clinic, men need a minimum of 15 cups of water per day and women need at least 11.

7. Substance Avoidance

Lifestyle medicine also encourages a substance-free life, meaning no smoking or drugs. Cigarettes, alcohol, and other substances can lead to significant consequences and impaired thinking. Lifestyle medicine is all about clarity and purity.

New Focus Equals New Hope

While people understand the benefits of adopting healthy habits, they often overcomplicate the process, getting bogged down in the details. By restricting your attention to the above seven areas, you can increase your health and mental wellbeing in stages. There is no need to embrace all the habits at once; instead, take on one practice at a time and master it. By working methodically, you limit the potential of becoming overwhelmed, allowing you to embrace the changes.

Do you have any experience with the practice? leave a comment below and keep the conversation going.

How and Why To Try Hot Yoga at Home

Hot yoga is the “hot” new workout trend that offers a wide variety of benefits. If you think the idea of doing yoga in a hot and sweaty environment sounds like torture, you’re in for a treat! While it’s true that yoga isn’t “hot” unless it’s done in a humid and warm environment, it’s a much more enjoyable practice than you’re probably imagining in your head. You don’t have to take my word for it, though. Here’s how and why to try hot yoga in your own home this week.

Understanding the Point of Hot Yoga

I have to admit, I used to look that people who did hot yoga were a little crazy. Why in the world would you choose to exert your body in an environment that forces you to release as much sweat as possible? But now that I’ve learned more about it, I’ve come to understand the point of this unconventional form of exercise.

Hot yoga offers the same benefits as traditional yoga (you know, the standard benefits like improved strength, stress reduction and flexibility), but it also gives you an even more intense workout in less time. So if you don’t have an hour to spend on a typical yoga routine, you can spend half an hour doing hot yoga and get the same benefits! Plus, the humid environment a hot yoga session provides is meant to replicate the humid natural environment found in India, where yoga originated. So you get a more authentic experience from doing hot yoga than from doing traditional yoga in an air-conditioned environment. Just make sure you drink lots of water before you get your sweat on!

Benefits of Hot Yoga

Now that I’ve got you thinking hot yoga may not be so bad, here’s a list of some of the impressive benefits the practice can provide.

  • Increased calorie burn

  • Improved flexibility

  • Reduced stress

  • Improved mood

  • Boost in cardiovascular health

  • Improved bone density

  • Decreased blood glucose levels

Now keep in mind that in order to maximize these benefits and stay safe during your hot yoga session, you need to stay hydrated. Drink water before, during and after your hot yoga session. You may also want to guzzle a low-calorie sports drink to restore your body’s electrolyte balance.

If you’re pregnant, don’t do hot yoga unless you’ve been given the green light from your doctor. And if you have certain health conditions, such as low blood sugar, heart disease, anorexia or a history of fainting, hot yoga may be too intense for you.

How to Start Hot Yoga at Home

While prepping your space for a hot yoga session requires a little effort, it’s worth it if you don’t have a gym membership or don’t have time to go to an official hot yoga class. Here’s how to set up any room in your home for hot yoga.

  1. Designate one room in your home for you hot yoga session, and close the doors and windows.

  2. Put a small space heater in the room to bring the space to your desired temperature.

  3. Consider adding extra layers if the space heater isn’t getting the room warm enough for your liking.

  4. Bring in a humidifier and steam things up!

  5. Have a water bottle on-hand at all times.

  6. Complete your planned yoga session, making sure to take frequent water breaks throughout.

  7. If you need help coming up with your own hot yoga workout routine, look online or find a favorite workout on YouTube. You can also make things more fun by inviting a friend to come work out with you.

Hot yoga isn’t for everyone. But for those who like a challenging workout that delivers maximum benefits in minimal time, it’s a must-do routine to work into your weekly schedule. Give it a try this week to see if you’ll fall in love with it like I did!

The Best Alternatives to Peloton in 2021

One of the reasons Peloton bikes are so popular is that they’re more than an exercise machine: They’re a lifestyle. Unfortunately, this particular lifestyle also costs a pretty penny. What if you don’t have upwards of $1,900 to spend on exercise equipment? You can save money by choosing smart alternatives.

The Best Features of Peloton Bikes

Peloton-style bikes are sleek, stylish and state-of-the-art. Four main features make this type of equipment stand out:

  • Virtual classes: One of the biggest things that makes Peloton bikes popular is the online experience. You can access live group workouts, exercise to awesome videos, hang out with friends in a virtual community and follow your favorite instructors. And let me add that you can do it all in your pajamas.

  • Touchscreens: An essential part of the Peloton experience is a touchscreen that lets you interact with content as your working out. Most people use this to follow virtual instructors or imagine they’re mountain biking in the wilderness. This working mom may or may not secretly use it to watch Netflix and burn calories at the same time.

  • Ride customization: This part is pretty unbelievable. Some Peloton-style bikes control the way your workout feels as you’re riding. Online instructors may even be able to tweak these settings for the group. Let’s say you’re taking a virtual mountain biking class. As you “climb,” the bike makes you work harder for it, and “going downhill” gives you a chance to rest.

  • Fitness apps: At first, an exercise app doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. It may not take long before this is one of your favorite features, however. Keeping track of distance, speed, heartrate and other stats helps keep you motivated. You can see how active you’ve been today, this week, this month and this year.

Before you go shopping for a Peloton or similar exercise bike, take some time to think about which of these features is most important to you. That way you get a killer exercise option for less.

My 3 Favorite Alternatives To Peloton Bikes

Choosing high-quality exercise bike alternatives can save you a LOT of money. They're not a Peloton, but they offer most of the features of one. Here are my three favorite options in a nutshell:

  • Bowflex C6: This bike has no membership requirement. You can use online workout apps and classes from YouTube for free, or sign up for whatever fitness subscription you want. Plus, solid quality for a budget price is hard to resist.

  • Echelon Smart Connect Bike EX3: What helps you save money here is that you can use your own tablet instead of buying a special touchscreen. With a $1,040 price tag ($1,400 with subscription), you’ve just saved almost $1,000.

  • ProForm Studio Bike Pro: With this option, you pay $39 monthly for a subscription but get the bike for free. It has all the top-tier features you expect, including adjustable touchscreen and resistance control. The catch is you have to keep the subscription for three years, bringing the grand total to $1,400 (still less than $1,900). If you can only afford to pay a little each month, this is a great solution.

Connected bikes are an awesome solution for helping busy moms stay in shape. You get a whole-body workout with on-demand virtual classes at any time of day. There’s no searching online for exercises or scheduling dance classes ahead of time. You just hop on the bike, turn on the screen and start burning belly fat!

The Best Natural Ways To Get Electrolytes

Bottles

Did you know that electrolytes help your body conduct electricity? I’m not talking about zapping your hair into a frizzy nightmare like in the cartoons. Any time your muscles or nerves go to work, they need energy, which is where electrolytes come in. The more you sweat, the more of these essential vitamins and minerals you lose.

Woman Running on Beach

Electrolytes Are Pure Energy … Literally.

You should be getting potassium, magnesium, sodium and calcium every day anyway, but your muscles especially need them before, during and after physical or mental exertion. This is why being dehydrated makes you feel like your body is shutting down. And your brain isn’t exactly thrilled either; low electrolyte levels cause problems with concentration and mood.

Gatorade

Gatorade and Powerade and Vitamin Water, Oh My!

How do sports drinks stack up when it comes to giving your body the electrolytes it needs? They’re popular, that’s for sure. But there’s a bad reason for that: Most are filled with sugar.

In one popular brand, the ingredient list I saw read “water, crystalline fructose, cane sugar” and less than 0.5% of different vitamins. In other words, you’re basically getting water and two types of sugar.

Relying on these drinks for your daily fix of electrolytes is like hitting the snooze button on your alarm by taking a sledgehammer to it. Sure, they give you electrolytes, but they also give you a ton of fat-boosting carbs, which is what I’m trying to get rid of when I exercise!

Coconut Water

The Best Options for Getting Electrolytes and Staying Hydrated.

Believe it or not, you can actually get a lot of electrolytes for free. My other favorite sources are 100% natural, as close to healthy as you can get. Here’s how to hydrate the right way:

  • Tap water: In may areas, tap water naturally has quite of bit of magnesium, sodium and calcium, meaning it compares to pretty much all of the sports drinks on the market. Of course, some people don’t love the taste.
  • Coconut water: This is nature’s answer to electrolyte water. Coconut water has absolutely everything you need for workouts: sodium, calcium, potassium and magnesium. It has a pleasant, neutral taste and just 46 calories a cup. I guess getting lost on a desert island isn’t that bad after all!
  • Watermelon: This refreshing summertime fave is over 90% water, making it smart for pre- and post-workout hydration. Sometimes I eat a few slices and other times I drink homemade watermelon juice. Watermelon has a lot of potassium and magnesium.
  • Tart cherry juice: Unsweetened tart cherry juice is rich in electrolytes and vitamins. It has 14% of your daily potassium, 60% of the vitamin A and 40% of the vitamin C you need. Plus, several studies say this juice can increase muscle strength while reducing soreness and recovery time!
  • Milk: Calcium, potassium, protein … remind you of anything? That’s right, milk! Most people wouldn't think of a milk moustache for electrolytes, but this healthy drink is actually one of the most balanced (unless you’re lactose intolerant). Since milk is more filling than other options, however, I would recommend drinking it after workouts, not before.
Coconuts

If you really want to target the perfect electrolyte balance for your body, make a smoothie! A blend of watermelon, frozen mango (or another favorite fruit), milk, pumpkin seeds and coconut water hits the spot after exercising. Always add a sprinkle of sea salt (1/8 teaspoon for every 5 cups of your smoothie) since that’s the electrolyte you sweat the most.

How To Make a Weight-Loss New Year’s Resolution That Will Actually Stick!

Measuring Tape

We open up a shiny new year by declaring all the things that will be different this year. We'll eat better. We'll exercise more. In reality, though, our resolutions last maybe a week, and then it's back to the same old thing, right? What if there was a trick to making a new habit stick? What if this trick worked even for habits you had tried (and failed) to cultivate many times in the past? News flash: There is such a trick, and it really does work. (Spoiler alert: It's actually not a trick at all. It's science.)

2021

Remember Your Why

Take a bit of time to dig down into why you want to lose weight this year. Get specific. Don't settle for a vague feeling of nostalgia. Instead, write down the personal and health benefits you want to gain by losing weight. Focus on outcomes, such as playing with your grandchildren without getting winded or being able to climb stairs without knee pain from the extra weight on your joints. Post your "why" somewhere you can see it often.

Goals

Set Specific Goals

Now that you know exactly why you want to lose weight write down what that will look like for you when you've accomplished it. Will you be down a certain number of pounds or pants sizes? Will you know you've hit your goal when you can walk a set distance without feeling like you need a nap? Write it down, whatever it is.

Focus on Habits

After completing the two steps above, you've got your resolution. Now comes the part where you make it all happen. You already know how to lose weight. Although the details may vary depending on your health and other circumstances, it basically comes down to eating better and moving more. What new habits do you need to incorporate into your life to make weight loss happen for you? Create two category headings: one for food and one for movement. Under each heading, write down one or two habits to start with. One could be about filling up on fruits and veggies, and another could be about doubling your average daily steps. Try to choose new habits that are slightly out of reach but don't feel impossible.

Exercise

Tie It All Together

Once you have your new habits in mind (and down on paper!), figure out how to tie them to habits you already have. For example, you already brush your teeth every morning. If you want to create a new habit of drinking a big glass of water first thing in the morning, attach the new habit to the existing habit by placing your water glass next to the toothpaste so you remember to grab it and fill it up. If your new habit is eating two servings of fruit at breakfast and you're a coffee drinker, place a cutting board next to the coffee maker and link chopping fruit with waiting for the coffee to brew. Once your new behaviors start to truly become habits, add a couple more, always piggybacking onto something you already do.

Happy New Year

Give Yourself Grace

The true secret to success in anything is never to give up. New Year's resolutions that really stick are those you don't give up on, even when you have setbacks. When you feel like you've failed at keeping your resolutions, dust yourself off and start again. You've got this!

Five Home Exercise Programs That Rival Your SoulCycle Classes

Cycling Exercise Class

How have you been doing with your new at-home workout routine since your regular gym, cycling studio or yoga spot closed as a COVID-19 precaution? I know I've been missing both the camaraderie of my classes and the intensity of my SoulCycle routine. While it's hard to exactly match the vibe of boutique fitness at home, these are the five best ways I've found to feel the burn solo these past few months.

FLY LDN

The online outpost of this European wellness studio offers both live and on-demand fitness classes that fit your schedule. Take your pick of low-impact workouts like barre, pilates and yoga designed to build long, lean muscle, create strength and flexibility, and sculpt your shape. Feel the flow as you stream classes on your laptop, Android or iOS device and take advantage of the seven-day free trial to see if FLY LDN fits your lifestyle before you commit. You'll love the under-20 minute workouts if you need to squeeze in your sweat between Zoom meetings.

Peleton Bike

Peleton

You don't need a Peleton bicycle or treadmill to take advantage of offerings from the cult-favorite fitness company. The brand is currently offering a 30-day trial so you can get comfortable with its suite of exercise classes, including boot camp sessions, heart-pumping cardio, relaxing meditation and yoga, strength training, and so much more.

Sharp video quality and clear instructions make Peloton's videos easy even for beginners to follow. If you prefer to exercise outdoors, try the audio running courses on your next circuit around the neighborhood.

Aaptiv

This app ranked as an iOS App of the Day, with a legion of fans pursuing the program's promise to provide "a new you in 30 days." You'll find one of the most diverse selections of streaming workouts around, with more than 30 new classes added each and every week in categories that include outdoor running, elliptical, strength training, yoga and more. Expert trainers have also developed special programs targeted to your fitness goals, such as the six-week Intro to Weight Loss course and workouts designed to prep you for your first 5K. Your free trial starts with a fitness evaluation so the app can adapt to your preferences, fitness needs and workout goals.

Woman Exercising at home

Body by Ciara

Fitness influencer Ciara London has gotten tons of ink in 2020. Her thousands of followers appreciate her incredible workout playlists, accessible attitude and motivating energy. With a membership to Body by Ciara, you can take part in live workouts with the London-based fitness instructor, view nutrition plans and connect with her online social media squad for the girl-power motivation you need to get going. You can even schedule one-on-one virtual personal fitness classes with London if you're seeking a true transformation. You'll see why this program has landed in the pages of Vogue, Cosmopolitan and Harper's Bazaar over the past few months.

Workout Equipment

Nike Training Club

This app has become my go-to when I'm looking for workouts that require minimal equipment. What's more, there's no charge for the many streaming workouts offered through the Nike Training Club, with robust features such as tools that let you create a personalized workout program. You'll be floored by the array of world-class trainers who offer exercise, nutrition and wellness advice appropriate for sedentary newbies and seasoned athletes alike. In fact, this app has frequently received the coveted Editor's Choice award from the iOS app store.

No matter what your favorite type of exercise, you'll find an option that fits your lifestyle when you start with these five tried-and-true fitness apps. Grab your device and your favorite gym outfit to catch the spirit of SoulCycle without leaving your living room.