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COVID keeping you from the gym? No problem

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Despite efforts from gyms to sanitize and reduce crowds during the pandemic, some people still feel more comfortable working out at home. Luckily, there are ways to get in effective workouts and diet plans from home without breaking the bank, making new year fitness goals attainable.

Shaylin Pachciarz, an exercise physiologist at IU Health, said setting sensible workout goals is the best way to ensure you don’t give up on your resolutions.

“It’s about reframing your mindset,” Pachciarz said. “This isn’t just temporary; it’s a lifestyle change. To start out, you need to be specific and smart with your goals and how you plan to reach them.”

Pachciarz recommends investing in some workout equipment if you’re exercising at home. Resistance bands and core sliders, she said, help intensify workouts. There are still ways to get effective workouts without equipment. Pachciarz recommends bodyweight workouts — such as squats and pushups — or following YouTube tutorials for other workouts.

When it comes to getting in shape, though, exercise is only half the work. A balanced diet is also necessary to reach your new year’s fitness resolutions. And while a new diet can be daunting, IU Health dietician Garrett Swisher said starting slow can make the process easier.

Instead of giving up items such as sugar and bread cold turkey, Swisher said it’s best to look at your lifestyle habits and figure out what you could dial down. Cutting back on soda instead of giving it up entirely at the start makes you more likely to be successful in your new diet.

According to Swisher, one thing to leave in 2020 is the misconception that organic fruits and vegetables are necessary to a healthy diet.

“A lot of those organic, non-GMO [genetically modified organism] are hyped up to be something they aren’t,” Swisher said.

To cut back on cost, Swisher recommends shopping at places like Aldi, where fresh produce is cheaper, looking for deals while shopping and meal planning. By preparing a couple of meals at a time, Swisher said it’s easier to ensure you’re staying on track with your diet plan and makes it less likely you’ll opt for takeout, saving you even more money.

The key to sticking with both a new diet and workout regimen, according to Pachciraz and Swisher, is finding things you enjoy and listening to your body.

Instead of working out for 60 minutes straight, Pachciarz suggests breaking it up into 15-minute increments throughout the day, especially if you aren’t used to an active lifestyle.

“Do whatever you can to get your heart rate up every day,” Pachciarz said. “Do a light jog, dance along to a video on YouTube, just find stuff you enjoy and stick with it.”

Contact staff writer Breanna Cooper at 317-762-7848. Follow her on Twitter @BreannaNCooper.

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