Wellness

5 New Exercises to Try in the New Year

Cropped SingleCare logo By | January 6, 2016

As you may have heard before, to get the best results when you exercise, it’s important to mix up your routine. Here are five easy movements to change up your old workout, get out of your rut, and lose the pesky holiday weight.

With the New Year comes the perfect opportunity to improve your fitness — and that means picking out a new workout routine.

Fitness gurus agree that one of the best ways to challenge your body, avoid plateaus, and kickstart weight loss is to switch up your workout. “When you change up your workout, your body works harder because it’s in unfamiliar territory,” California-based trainer and exercise physiologist Amy Dixon tells Health. Classic movements like squats, pushups, and rows are great — but when you try new exercises and use different muscles, your body burns more calories.

Make it routine to change your routine: Shape points us to a University of Florida study, which found that when people altered their training routines twice a month, they were more likely to stick to their plans than those who adjusted their regimens whenever they felt like it.

With that in mind, these five easy-to-do exercises will help shake up your routine, beat boredom, and get in shape. Get ready to hit the ground running and re-energize your workout.

Single-Leg Squat

A man doing a leg squat.
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You’re probably familiar with the standard, two-legged squat. Meet its little brother. Single-leg squats are a great way to train your lower body without weights, improving strength, balance, control, and coordination, according to bodybuilding.com. You can target leg and core muscles, minimize pressure on the back, and add muscle tone to your glutes.

When first trying out this exercise, hold on to something for balance. Have a bench behind you as a reference point to gauge depth of your squat. Slowly lower into a squat, keeping one leg as straight as possible pointing forward. Keep your upper body straight, and don’t round your shoulders. Focus on form and stability, and as you get better, try to increase the depth of the squat.

Pushup Plus

A woman doing a push up.
Antonio_Diaz/Thinkstock

Like the one-legged squat, the pushup press is a variation of an old standby. This version works your chest, and the extra movement targets the serratus anterior, improving posture and reducing the risk of shoulder injury.

Start off in the normal pushup position. Keep your arms straight with your hands positioned slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. You might want to try this next to a mirror to ensure you have a straight line from your ankles to your head.

Slowly lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor. Push back up. When your arms are straight, push your upper back towards the ceiling. This extra movement is slight — only a couple of inches. Pause for one count and repeat.

Single-Leg Side Plank

The single-leg side plank strengthens the lower back and increases musculature in the glutes.

Lie on your right side with your legs straight. Prop up your upper body on your right elbow and forearm. Place your left hand on your left hip. Engage your core, and raise your right hip until you have a straight line from your ankles to your shoulders. Raise your left leg as high as possible, and hold the position for 30 seconds. Repeat the process on the opposite side.

Hip Raise

Beautiful sporty fit yogini woman practices yoga asana setu bandhasana - bridge pose variation in studio
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The hip raise is another movement you can do anywhere — no equipment required. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Tighten your core, and squeeze your glutes. Raise your hips so you have a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Hold the position for three to five seconds — still squeezing your glutes — and slowly lower your hips back to the ground.

Body-Weight Star Plank

This plank variant will help you get the abs you’ve always wanted. Get into the pushup position. Move your arms and feet apart as wide as possible. Your body will form a star shape. Hold the position for 30 seconds. Make sure to keep your upper body straight, maintaining the line from your head to your ankles.

Seeing results means getting out of your comfort zone. But you don’t want to sweat about healthcare while you’re sweating in the gym. Fitness is just one component of a healthy lifestyle. SingleCare helps connect you with high quality medical professionals at affordable rates, even if you have limited or no insurance coverage.

Specialty visits, like seeing a physical therapist, can even be scheduled at reduced costs. And since SingleCare uses a pay-as-you-go structure, there are no monthly premiums or high deductibles, so you can stay on track and focus on tuning up your fitness routine instead of confronting piles of bills.

(Main image credit: moodboard/Thinkstock)