As we are well into the new year, many people are still sticking to their resolutions related to health, wellness, and staying pain-free and active. This is great news! It’s a great time for setting our intentions and sights on these important aspects. With that, there are a ton of different options to start on, but how do you find the best place to start to focus your efforts? What will give you the best results? Here are some of the best areas to focus your efforts for the best return on investment related to wellness.

First, it is great to really take a look at what areas you would like to improve with your health and wellness. Some options to self-reflect on are: Do I get enough moderate cardiovascular exercise, meaning do I work out my heart muscle enough? Do I get enough strength-training and/or do I feel that my muscles are as strong as I would like them to be? Am I eating a nutritious diet? Without self-judgement, figuring out areas to prioritize and work on is a great start to setting up a plan.

If you feel like you need to get more cardiovascular exercise and realize you do not get this daily, here would be a great place to start to focus on. This is a great way to get your heart rate up, burn calories, and get that high intensity interval training done for the day in only four minutes. The idea is to choose any type of exercise you would like to and go “all out” at 100% effort for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds for eight rounds total. You can perform this with squats, burpees, jumping jacks or anything else you would like to.

Another great way to get in your cardio is to choose something you enjoy doing and do this at a quick pace. Dancing, zumba, walking stairs, brisk walks can all get you to your goals. Sometimes we try to change everything at the same time and this can be too overwhelming for most people. Just add in those things you enjoy doing and you will start to see the changes.

For strength-training, there are a ton of ways that a person can get stronger and it doesn’t mean you have to join the gym. If the gym is your “thing” then that is awesome, but if you’d rather workout at home then that is totally great as well. You can actually get an awesome workout in with just resistance bands, a swiss-ball, and some free weights. Your physical therapist can help you set up a home exercise program specifically for your goals and your body.

Nutrition is a big one for people in terms of areas for improvement. In my opinion, the more we can stay away from sugar and simple carbs the better. The more protein and veggies the better. Seems simple, but this awareness can make such a great impact. Try eating five to six smaller portions a day, rather than three large meals. There is much more we could get into here, but these are my favorites to prioritize for proper nutrition.

Seek out support for your plan, and professionals can help you reach your goals. We all need a little help sometimes, and this is YOUR YEAR! Just by reading this you are setting your sights for something better, and you will get there with just some focused effort. Cheers to a new year and new you!