Here's a word of advice: If you're getting ready to make New Year's fitness resolutions--don't. Instead, design a yearlong fitness plan to ensure that you make effective lifestyle changes.
Use this yearlong plan to improve your health each month:
February. Focus on fuel. Keep a daily log of what you eat and how you feel. As your body gets used to more activity, you'll naturally crave a lighter diet with less fat and sugar and more vegetables, fruits, and grains. You'll need protein to build muscle, so make sure your daily intake meets your new demands.
March. Check your progress. Look at what you've achieved so far and what's missing. Fatigue, aches, and pains are signs that you're trying to do too much, too soon. If your progress has slowed down or stopped, change your routine to keep your body challenged.
June. Take midcourse action. You're halfway through the year, but are you halfway to your goals? Take a look at how your fitness efforts are affecting the rest of your life. Do you feel less stressed and more productive? Hopefully, the answer is yes.
September. Go back to school. Students are returning to class, and so can you. Sign up for something that interests you, or that brings new discipline to your body, such as yoga or tae-bo.
November. Kick an addiction. Take advantage of your new feeling of power to gain control over an unhealthy habit. Smoking, shopping, drinking too much alcohol--if some habit has taken over your life, you should now find it easier to quit.