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How to Choose an Exercise Routine That Works For You

Moving your body carries a multitude of health benefits—here’s how to find the one(s) that best suit you.

Is “exercise more” on the top of your New Year’s resolution list? Perhaps this goal doesn’t have to be such a troublesome task. Even if it’s just for 15 to 30 minutes a day, moving your body can carry significant physical and mental health benefits. But with so many options out there, from walking to running to biking, how’s one to choose which exercise to focus on?

The beauty of exercise is that you can mix it up. All bodies are different, so there’s no one-size-fits-all workout routine. Your exercise preferences depend on your age, fitness level and interests, which change as you grow. The key is going through a series of trial and error to find your favorite forms of fitness. Read on for some of our favorite ways to get moving now.

RUNNING

This exercise requires nothing other than a pair of good sneakers and an open road. If you’re physically able to, running daily has a host of benefit. For example, running can increase energy levels, improve the condition of your heart, strengthen muscles, build muscles, reduce blood pressure, help lose weight, and more.

Going for consistent runs can also help relieve stress. Picture this: a quiet moment that’s just you in nature (or on a treadmill) and listening to your favorite tunes or podcast in a state of bliss. The act of running means allowing your body to take you from point A to point B relying solely on yourself, not any machine or pair of weights, which can feel empowering and mood-boosting.

With plush padding and a soft foam midsole, these Nike Women’s Revolution 5 Running Shoes feel like you’re running on clouds. It’s all about comfort with this pair, which has breathable support with a flexible lightweight knit textile throughout.

BIKE RIDING

You know that saying, “It’s like riding a bike”? Literally, bike riding is a skill that if you learn once, you’ll probably never forget how to do it again. You can pick up where you left off by pedaling one foot after another. Doing so will not only work out your legs, but a variety of body parts, from your arms and shoulders to your abdominals, glutes, thighs, and hamstrings. Bike riding is gentle on your body and gives it great benefits, like improving your brain power, mood, energy levels, and can even help slow aging.

While going for a bike ride, wear something comfy, such as this ALO Stadium ½ Zip Hoodie. The brand is known for yoga goods, but its clothing can be worn for a variety of workouts and goes easily with layers. The cropped fit of this one pairs well with high waisted leggings in the fall and winter or biker shorts in the spring and summer.

YOGA

Similar to meditation, the goal of yoga is to reach a state of pure consciousness. Practicing this exercise can bring you more self-awareness and help you feel calmer and happier. This is especially great if you work from home and are looking for an accessible workout that doesn’t require any equipment. If you’d like more comfort, you can use a mat and blocks, and follow the guidance of an app such as Glo. Yoga can help decrease stress levels, improve your strength and flexibility, and enhance your lung function.

To enhance your yoga session, try slipping on a pair of L’Original Leggings by Élastique Athletics, founded by Emeline Kuhner-Stout and Caitlyn Wooldridge. The brand started when Kuhner-Stout had her first child and relocated from France to the U.S. “I found less time for myself and a new body, that candidly, I wasn’t in love with,” she says. “While on the hunt for a solution to stubborn orange peel skin—as the French refer to it—I was introduced to the lymphatic system and the importance of it. It only made sense to develop garments that offered an added boost to the little time we women typically take for ourselves.”

What makes these leggings unique? The supportive gradient compression (which is tighter at the ankle and loosens as it goes up) and MicroPerle beads prompt circulation throughout your legs, which helps eliminate fatty build-up and rid your body of toxins. Think of these like a wearable massage that improves the look and feel of your skin. What’s more, is the high-waisted style made with luxe French-milled fabrics looks ultra-flattering and can be worn for other activities from spinning to dancing and more. After all, healthy skin starts within.

JUMPING ROPE

When we think of exercising, it’s easy to assume a visit to the gym is needed, but activities like jumping rope also counts. Not only can it be fun, but jumping rope helps you stay in shape, burn calories, and tone your muscles in your upper and lower body. More benefits include helping to improve metabolism, stamina, bone density, and skin.

A couple of tips: Jump in intervals gradually and aim to jump low (one to two inches above the ground) to reduce the impact on your knees and legs. Also, stay on the balls of your feet and jump on a smooth surface, which will also prolong the condition of your jump rope.

This jump rope from Tone It Up is super portable, lightweight, and has a soft, comfy grip. Its total length is 9 inches, which can be adjusted to your height. No matter where you are, you can easily get your dose of cardio in.

WALKING

Perhaps the easiest—yet still effective—exercise is walking. Plenty of good things can come from the simple act of putting one foot in front of another and moving forward. Walking can help burn metabolism, reduce diabetes, cholesterol levels, strengthen muscles, lessen back pain, and strengthen muscles.

Also, going for a stroll can up your creativity levels. Did you ever get a brilliant idea while taking a walk? Surrounding yourself in another environment can open up your mind to new thoughts you wouldn’t have otherwise come up with.

To get the most of your walk, spritz on Natura Bissé Diamond Cocoon Ultimate Shield Protective Mist which can get you energized to go out in the first place. In addition to moisturizing and refreshing your skin, it defends against environmental (and blue light) damage. Use it often and you may notice your skin feel softer and more radiant.

BOXING

Feeling stressed? Try boxing. This exercise challenges your mind to think about nothing else besides hitting your target. It also helps you better your hand-eye coordination, strengthen your muscles, improve posture, boost endurance, and make you feel happier. Boxing is also an effective ab workout that can help sculpt your midsection.

When boxing (and doing any exercise) be sure to keep a water bottle close to you. When working out, the body loses water with sweat. Keeping hydrated is critical to good health to replenish water in your body and to keep it cool internally and externally.

This Atlas 500 ml Water Bottle from bkr can help you drink more water, which is the foundation for healthy skin. Co-founders and former lawyers Tal Winter and Kate Cutler thoughtfully created the brand in 2011 after years of brainstorming a concept that focuses on hydration and skincare. Their collection of sustainable, BPA-free reusable glass bottles keeps water pure (no metal aftertaste) and readily at hand with its compact cap and silicone sleeve grip. The bkr collection includes larger one-liter versions and plenty of colors and designs (think: spikes and graphics) to choose from.

Wendy Sy

Wendy Sy is a fashion, beauty, and lifestyle writer based in New York City. In addition to her editorial website, Style Meets Story, her work has been featured in Allure, Avenue Magazine, InStyle, and more. When she’s not brainstorming ideas for upcoming articles, you can find her spending countless hours searching for lost treasures at vintage shops. Photo by Sophie Elgort.

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