If you want to avoid becoming a statistic, it’s time to ditch the excuses and commit to your health—and getting busy is no excuse. No one ever said living your best life would be easy or convenient.
While getting in shape is technically something you can do with your body and willpower alone, these five items are not only helpful, but essential for staying on track this year.
Fitness Tracker/Smartwatch1 of 6
If you don't already have a fitness tracker, you're a little behind on the trend—but we're not here to judge. A fitness tracker makes health and exercise integral parts of your life by strapping accountability to your wrist. Soon, keeping your daily numbers where they ought to be will become a fun personal challenge.
Your tracker will tell you if you're meeting your activity goals—and it won't lie or sugarcoat things. Sitting for too long at work? Alert. Short on steps or miles? Alert.
Not many people can afford a trainer to constantly motivate them but many fitness trackers, like the Huawei Fit, will even be your personal running coach—so there's no need to splurge on a trainer to achieve your goals this year.
Fitness trackers give you constant, actionable data that you can easily sync to your phone. From there, you can glean some real insights and make real-time adjustments when needed. You don't have to worry about fitness trackers cramping your style anymore, either. The Fit constantly monitors your heart rate, counts your steps, keeps you motivated, feeds you your phone notifications, monitors your sleep—and it does it all in style.
Yoga/Fitness Mat2 of 6
You don't have to be a yogi to own a yoga or fitness mat—you don't even have to do yoga on them. A yoga mat can turn any open space into a workout area, which will pretty much throw all your excuses out the window. It doesn't matter if you're traveling, stuck at work all day or too busy to go to the gym—your fitness mat will go where you go, and so will your workout.
You could run outside and do your exercises on the ground, but a plank becomes ten times easier with a cushy layer of foam underneath your forearms. Skipping a workout becomes a lot more enticing when you're facing hard concrete or a dirty carpet as your surface.
Brands like Gaiam and Wellness Fitness Mat make super comfortable—and affordable—mats for any type of activity, so there's no reason not to do a quick HIIT workout in your living room, while watching television after work.
Foam Roller3 of 6
You might've started your fitness New Year's resolution off strong, but one intense gym session later, and the soreness hits. That's how a recovery day turns into a recovery week—or longer. You don't need to be afraid of soreness; you just need to know how to deal with it.
We're not sure where we'd be in life without the invention of the foam roller. The pain inflicted from a good TriggerPoint foam roller might irritate you for a bit, but it's proven to be one of the quickest ways to get your tired muscles back to 100 percent and ready to fight another day.
If you use it right, you can roll out almost any muscle kink—and your body will thank you tomorrow. Think of foam rolling as a massage for your muscles and treat it as an act of TLC for your body.
Medicine Ball4 of 6
A medicine ball (or a set of them) can take your body-weight workouts to a whole new level with minimal effort. You can turn a regular squat into a squat press with a medicine ball and suddenly, that exercise becomes a workout not only for your legs, but for your arms as well. The medicine ball—like the kettlebell—is simple, yet effective, and it's an easy solution to boring workouts. The key to extending your resolution could be as easy as making your workout feel fresh.
Medicine balls come in a variety of weights and sizes, so it's easy to come up with new exercises and attain your goals.
The Perfect Shoes5 of 6
While everyone has a different preference, style and brand, not enough can be said about how important a great pair of kicks are to your workout. You can wear your favorite athleisure all day long, but putting on your favorite gym or running shoe should be a signal to your brain that it's go-time. Finding a pair of shoes that won't leave you with blisters—or plantar fasciitis—is key to ensuring you don't have to take days off from your routine to rehab.
The type of sneakers you wear really depends on the activity you're doing, but most popular athletic brands sell shoes specific to each one.
Your perfect gym shoe should be sturdy, stable, and it should keep you balanced. Your go-to running shoe should be supportive, comfortable and feel like the right fit for your foot. We recommend shopping around for the perfect shoe—especially at specialty stores. There are a lot of shoes out there. Sometimes it takes an expert to help you find the perfect pair. Your feet take a beating and you shouldn't settle for just any shoe—even if that means buying a less aesthetically pleasing pair—gasp.