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Simple changes in your daily lifestyle can go a long way. Improving your diet, going for a light jog — these are all examples of ways in which you can simultaneously work on your mental and physical health. To help you get a head start, TODAY spoke with Zuzka Light and Adam Bornstein, two online fitness personalities who offered great advice for those ready to make a change.
1. Change up the workout to fit your own personal needs and ability
"The joy of most exercises is that they all can be adapted and made easier or harder. Everything from the push-up to the squat can be adjusted," Bornstein says.
There's flexibility in just about any exercise, and each can be modified to reflect an individual's level of ability. Bornstein suggests adding weight or adjusting squat routines are both easy ways of getting acclimated to a new exercise while still feeling challenged.
"Most people think of the traditional squat as causing back pain, but you can do single-leg squats or split squats to challenge your lower body without adding much stress to your back."
The Burpee is one of Light's favorite moves, which is also easy for anyone starting out.
"It's an awesome cardio exercise that helps support upper body and core strength. Essentially you go from standing position, jump down into plank, do a push-up and then jump back up into standing position. This exercise done in quick repetition boosts your heart rate and provides a great workout," Light said.
2. Modify exercises or increase the challenge when necessary
Modifications can be done to lower the intensity of any workout by slowing your pace, stepping (not jumping) into plank, omitting the push-up and just stepping back into a standing position (without the jump).
Not challenged enough? Light says including a squat or doing a jump tuck will ramp up any workout.
"The most important part is that you take your body from standing then to the ground in quick repetition for increased cardiovascular and strength benefits."
3. Make the most of your workout...every time
What you do in the limited amount of time that you have to work out is critical — being cognizant of reps and areas for improvement will make it all the more effective.
"Focus on total work load. This is a measurement of reps x sets x intensity/weight used. It's the easiest way to measure if you're getting better," Bornstein says. "Don't worry about the best workout, the best exercise, or spending hours in the gym. Small changes can lead to big results. The real secret is finding something that is sustainable, meaning you should find an activity you enjoy and make it a part of your life."
4. Dread going to the gym? Try something else to get your body moving
If you don't like going to the gym, Bornstein suggests a walk, or playing your favorite sport more often. Either way, the small efforts are extremely important to your emotional and physical well-being.
"Your well-being depends on your health. Your brain, your heart, your emotions all benefit from exercise," Light said. "Just a little bit of exercise will not only help you feel better, but it can help you live longer, process food better, and live a happier life. That alone makes it worthwhile and worth the small investment."