Making resolutions for the new year is a 4,000-year old tradition, so if you’re hoping to make 2014 the year you get healthier, fitter, or happier, you have about four millennia worth of company. To help you on your way, we’ll be posting 10 science-backed action steps for a popular resolution every day through January 12. Be sure to check back for hints and tips to kick off your best year yet!


Working out isn’t just for getting buff. Exercising results in a ton of benefits, from reducing stress and anxiety, to improving self-confidence, to enhancing cognitive function. The good news is that adding regular exercise to your day isn’t tough. Just use the tips below and start moving!

1. Exercise any and everywhere.
With awesome homeworkouts, you can exercise even if finding the time, budget, or transportation to make it to the gym is tough.

2. Keep your workouts fresh.
Stave off the dreaded workout rut by trying something new or unexpected, working with a personal trainer, or rocking a new playlist.

3. Get motivated.
Keep your routine on track by reminding yourself of the incredible benefits of exercising, seeking workout inspiration, or becoming an “intrinsic motivator” (someone whose drive to succeed comes from within, rather than from external factors). If you don’t consider yourself a natural intrinsic motivator, you can work towards becoming one with a few simple steps that include charting your progress, practicing positive self-talk, and visualizing your goals.

4. Work out first thing in the morning.
The upsides to working out in the a.m. might just inspire night owls to become morning people! Exercising before breakfast has been linked to effective fat lossBreakfast and exercise contingently affect postprandial metabolism and energy balance in physically active males. Gonzalez JT, Veasey RC, Rumbold PL, et al. British Journal of Nutrition. 2013 Aug;110(4):721-32.. Plus, getting your workout done first thing ensures it’s completed before the day gets away from you.

5. Work out while you work.
Seated doesn’t have to mean sedentary. Any time you’re stuck in the cubicle or hunched over a keyboard, take a break for deskercise. Even if they don’t prep you for an upcoming Ironman, those breaks will get the blood flowing and burn a couple calories.

6. Make workouts fly by.
Having the right tunes, working out in a group, or exercising with that special someone are great ways to make workouts more exciting. And as we know, time flies when you’re having fun.

7. Make it quick.
Interval workouts — think tabatas and other high intensity interval training (HIIT) — can be done in as little as four minutes and provide an array of benefits, including building cardio endurance and burning fat.

8.Sneak it in. Exercising without working out? NEAT! Non-exercise activity thermogenesis is everyday activity that burns calories like running errands, cleaning the house, chopping veggies, traveling by foot or bicycle. Days that you can’t make it to the gym are the perfect opportunity to up the ante NEAT-wise, whether that means taking the stairs, going on a mopping-and-vacuuming spree, or washing the car.

9. Make a plan.
Having a results-oriented game plan is a key to success when it comes to working outFundamentals of resistance training: progression and exercise prescription. Kraemer WJ, Ratamess NA. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2004 Apr;36(4):674-88.. Whether you work towards that 5K, download a checklist to keep you organized, or set reminders to strength train three times times per week, arrange your weekly workouts in advance. Plus, research shows that imagining yourself achieving fitness goals can enhance athletic performanceBenefits of motor imagery training on muscle strength. Lebon F, Collet C, Guillot A. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. 2010 Jun;24(6):1680-7.. Make a routine of rehearsing making healthy choices by visualizing the result of all your hard work.

10. Keep track online.
Logging your workouts allows you to keep track of what you’ve done — whether it’s miles run, reps lifted, or poses practiced. Plus, by paying attention to what kind of workouts you’re doing, you’ll know when to start changing things up, thereby avoiding the dreaded fitness plateau.

Which tips from this list will you use to stick with exercising in 2014? Let us know in the comments below or get in touch with us on Twitter.