Is the New Year the Right Time to Start a New Fitness Routine?

Getting fit is one of the classic New Year’s Resolutions. It seems like people are always saying they want to get fit right now. Why is that?

Honestly, this is one of those things you should work on whenever you realize you need to get fit. But at the New Year is as good a time as any, and may even be the best time to get a workout buddy, since other people you know may well be making the same resolution.

But if now is not the time that you will stick to your goal of getting fit, don’t commit yourself to it. Find the right time to set up a workout schedule.

stationary bikes

When it’s wrong

This is the wrong time if you’re stressed out from the holidays and have no idea how you’re going to go about getting fit. It takes a plan. It takes commitment. If you don’t have those, you’re probably only going to frustrate yourself.

If you know you have too many excuses for why you can’t so much as take a regular walk around the block for fitness, never mind working out, you probably aren’t ready to get fit yet.

If feeling like you’re so out of shape that you won’t fit in at the gym, decide if that is too much of an obstacle to join a gym, then figure out an alternative. This can be an obstacle, but you don’t have to let it be one.

When it’s right

Getting fit is the right decision most of the time, however. It doesn’t take money if you don’t want it to, so even finances should not be an excuse. Anyone should be able to find a safe place to take a regular walk, even if it’s just around the block at home, around the office you work at, or the mall. They’re all free, so you just need to pick the one that meets your needs.

You can also do basic exercises indoors at home with no equipment at all. Crunches, dancing randomly to music, anything you can do to get in motion.

If you can afford some basic home gym equipment or a gym membership, so much the better. This can often be one of the easy ways to get a workout buddy. Find someone who wants to join the same gym and plan at least a couple nights, mornings or whenever it works a week to workout together at the gym.

Many people find a workout buddy to be a great motivator. If you can’t work out a schedule to work out together, just try comparing how often and how long you work out. That can also be enough to give you that extra nudge to keep going.

But the most important thing to remember is simply that you don’t need to give up just because right now is not the time for you. Get started when you can make the commitment, then plan out what it will take to keep going. Having goals can make it a lot easier.

Is Holiday Weight Gain Just an Excuse?

Gaining weight is sooo easy over the holidays. Or so everyone says. And in a lot of ways that’s true.

There are a lot of food temptations around at this time of year. It starts with Halloween candy, moves on to the Thanksgiving feast, then you’re slammed with Christmas parties, family holiday gatherings, feasts and of course New Year’s parties.

Is it any wonder a lot of people consider weight gain at this time of year to be inevitable?

holiday food

I have absolutely no problem with saying “just for today, I’ll indulge”… provided that you mean it. But if you say that day after day you will end up sabotaging your efforts.

Honesty with yourself is essential at this time of year. You have to know what you are doing to your efforts to live a healthier lifestyle. If you think it is acceptable to gain weight right now you need to be okay with the results when you see them on the scale. Fooling yourself is not a good plan.

Eating healthy when you have no say in the menu is one of the greatest challenges. But if it’s an event you go to year after year, you probably have a pretty good feel for what will be served. If you know that healthy foods are not likely to be featured, eat enough that you can limit your portions better at the event. But if healthy foods are there, plan to eat more of them and be more moderate with the more indulgent options.

If you’re fine with gaining weight over the holidays, just say so! Be ready for what it will do for how long it takes you to reach your fitness goals, however. But if you can’t stand the thought of having your goals further away at the start of the new year, be honest with yourself and don’t let temptation control your eating no matter the time of year.

Give the Gift of Convenient Hydration

Keeping hydrated is very important when working out. But buying plastic bottle after plastic bottle of water isn’t exactly environmentally friendly. Besides, there are some really great looking bottles you can buy that are quite convenient when you’re working out. has a great selection of water bottles. The SIGG bottles are perhaps the most beautiful, but there are styles to suit just about any taste.

The other advantage that many reusable bottles have is that they do not leach toxins. They’re actually better for you. Not many people currently worry about whether or not harmful toxins leak from plastic bottles, but some feel we ought to. If you have a bottle that doesn’t do that anyhow, no worry about which side is right.

The SIGG bottles and other reusable water bottles can also of course be found at Amazon if you prefer. These make great gifts for the person working on keeping fit in your life.

Healthy and Active Gifts for Kids

Like most parents, I feel like my kids have far too many toys. It’s a very normal reaction, I think. Kids get toys from so many sources, and often have more than they can reasonably play with.

But I have one rule I tell people when they ask me. If it’s a toy that encourages activity, creativity or is educational, go ahead and get it. Hard to get too much of quality toys in that area.

There are a few toys that I think are really great to give to children to encourage them to be more active. Some are more for indoors (great for winter if they don’t want to go outside) while others are for playing outside.

The Fisher-Price Smart Cycle is one example. A lot of people laugh at the idea, since it is far better to encourage kids to be active outside than in playing video games, but if you’re getting a toddler a video game system, better to get one that encourages activity.

For older kids, the Wii is a decent choice. Just get some of the more physically active games to encourage the kids to get up off the couch when they play. Alternatively, Dance Revolution is popular, and you can get the dance pad for a variety of gaming systems.

NERF makes a lot of really great active toys. The big one this year is the Nerf N-Strike Disk Shot, but they have a wide range of toys that encourage kids to run all around and play. Some are good for indoors but many really do best outside.

For outdoor toys, in addition the the usual bicycles, inline skates and skateboards, consider the Ripstik Caster Board. It’s a cool twist on the usual skateboard and looks to be a lot of fun. People describe it as a cross between a skateboard and a snowboard, and the reviews on it have been excellent.

If your kids don’t have a lot of toys that encourage them to go outside, now is a great time to start changing that. If the weather is such that they don’t want to spend a lot of time outside, find variations that allow them to play more actively inside. Many of them will utterly delight the recipient.