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The new year is a time when many set out with ambitious goals to better their health and fitness. But even if you’re not looking to make an official New Year’s resolution, having the same workout routine can get monotonous—or even stop giving you the results you want—and leave you looking to make a change.
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Whether or not formal resolutions are your thing, these tips can help refresh your routine.
1. Try a new exercise class
Checking out a new workout class can introduce you to a modality you’ve never tried, with guidance from an instructor so it’s less intimidating.
Many workout studios have discounted first classes so you can give them a go before signing up for any membership, or you can use a subscription like ClassPass to get access to multiple studios in your area for discounted rates.
Those who prefer to exercise at home may want to download a workout app to change up their routine. With our app of choice, Nike Training Club, you can take endless, high-quality HIIT, yoga, pilates classes and more—for free. For those who love a good yoga flow, Alo Moves is our favorite yoga app. It features thousands of classes, including fitness options like barre and pilates in addition to yoga and meditation sessions, all taught by motivating and educational instructors.
2. Give strength training a go
Of all the new exercises you could try, strength training, also called resistance training, is one that has loads of benefits for everyone and doesn’t require any equipment to start. It helps strengthen your muscles and bones, protect your joints and can help you develop better balance.
While you may envision a noisy weight room, you can start with bodyweight exercises and see the benefits. Movements like squats, lunges and push-ups are great additions to any workout routine and can be done without equipment.
When you’re ready to up the difficulty, it’s easy to do at home with a set of resistance bands or dumbbells. For a highly-rated set of resistance bands with varying levels of tension, try the option from Fit Simplify. This set has a 4.5-star rating on Amazon with more than 101,000 reviews, and reviewers say these bands are easy to use and make home workouts more challenging. For a set of dumbbells to help you lift heavier, consider the Amazon Basics Neoprene-Coated dumbbell set. These weights come in a variety of loads from 1 to 20 pounds, or you can choose from one of the pre-selected sets of three. These dumbbells have a 4.8-star rating with over 53,000 reviews, and satisfied customers say they’re comfortable to hold and the coating provides great grip during workouts.
3. Get an exercise pal
Friends make fitness more fun, so why not grab a buddy next time you hit the gym, cycle studio or yoga class? Linking up with a like-minded person can make the experience more enjoyable, and it may help to have someone hold you accountable on days where you’re thinking of skipping your workout. You can also try some activities like hiking or biking together and make a day of it.
Prefer to keep things virtual? Strap on a Fitbit—like our best-rated fitness tracker, the Charge 5—and join any number of virtual step and workout challenges via the companion app. You can recruit friends you know or find online pals to help you reach new goals. Apple Watch users can partake in similar competitions with friends and family, either by sharing notifications when they close their rings for the day or challenging friends to see who can move the most throughout the week.
4. Invest in some new equipment
If your current setup has you feeling uninspired, buying some new gear could rekindle the spark. Something as small as a set of versatile resistance bands or stylish ankle weights can make you want to get up and use them, as well as make your workout more challenging.
To really advance your home workouts, you may want to consider some larger equipment like a treadmill, exercise bike or connected workout mirror. For a treadmill that makes running enjoyable, we recommend the NordicTrack Commercial 1750. As our top pick, it has speeds ranging from 0.5 to 12 miles per hour, an incline ranging from -3% to 15% (that’s right, it goes downhill), and a spacious belt that makes running indoors comfortable.
If cycling is your preferred workout method, you can’t beat the Peloton Bike+. This exercise bike makes for a smooth and silent ride and Peloton’s instructors made us look forward to each and every session in the saddle. It’s especially easy to follow along in class thanks to the bike’s auto-follow setting—which automatically adjusts your resistance to match your instructor’s—and the swivel screen, which allows you to seamlessly transition to off-bike workouts.
For a workout mirror that takes the guesswork out of strength training, consider Tonal. The Tonal workout mirror uses resistance cables to give you a full-body workout and its AI-powered technology evaluates your effort and automatically adjusts the resistance levels to match your output. As you get stronger, Tonal recognizes the change in power and increases the weight for you, making it simple to progress.
5. Find an activity that brings you joy
Moving more should be fun, so why not mix it up with some nostalgic exercises you may have enjoyed as a kid?
If you love to groove, sign up for a dance class as a way to improve your fitness without feeling like you’re exercising. Many workout apps, like Obé, offer dance cardio classes you can try from home. Trampolining, or rebounding, has become a popular exercise option, and can give you a great cardiovascular and agility workout. Jumping rope—with a weighted rope, like CrossRope, for a harder session—and roller skating are other excellent ways to get your heart rate up and have a blast while doing it.
6. Train for a race
Pushing yourself to try new exercises and experiences can be a great way to enjoy a change of pace in your workout routine. Signing up for a race, mud run or obstacle course can help you let loose and break out of the ordinary workout. You can even get some friends in on the fun and enjoy these high-energy activities together.
As a companion to help you meet your goal, a running watch from Garmin, like our top pick Forerunner 245 Music or best value Forerunner 55, shows you your pace, distance and time right on your wrist, and you can even find free training plans and send workouts to follow from the Garmin Connect app to keep you on track.
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.