Create health habits that stick

Eating in a more plant-based way has significant health and environmental benefits, which is why it’s such a common New Year’s resolution. The same goes for fitness. As with eating healthier, you can start a fitness plan at absolutely any age and make incredible progress.

Aim to keep the habits you add small and sustainable. This way, you’ll set yourself up for lifelong results, and you’ll learn to love the daily processes involved in achieving your health and fitness goals.

Along with a whole foods, plant-based diet, regular resistance training is great for optimal health, fitness, and disease prevention. Resistance workouts most often involve strength training at the gym, but you can also complete bodyweight, resistance band, or suspension trainer workouts at home.

Of course, you don’t need to be vegan or vegetarian to engage in these excellent exercises—they’re perfect for your New Year’s resolutions regardless of your diet.

Aim for three sets of 10 to 12 reps per exercise, with a weight that feels very challenging by rep 7. For the weighted carry, aim to walk about 30 meters (40 to 50 steps).

Movement 1: Squat

Target: Quads, glutes, hamstrings

The squat is one of the most effective lower body exercises. It builds muscle and strength, as well as hip mobility.

  • Stand with your feet a bit wider than shoulder width, holding a dumbbell (by one end) at chest level.
  • Keeping your chest up and your back flat, hinge your hips back and down, bending your knees so your thighs are parallel to the floor. Keeping your knees in line with your toes, press into the floor with your feet to return to standing.

Movement 2: Push-up

Target: Chest, shoulders, core

The push-up is the most fundamental upper body pushing movement to master. It engages your entire core and teaches proper body alignment.

  • Start in a plank position with your hands positioned under your shoulders. Your body should form a straight line from your head to your heels.
  • Maintain this plank position as you lower yourself and bring your nose within an inch of the ground. Press back up into the start position.

Movement 3: 3-point dumbbell row

Target: Back, core

Rows strengthen the major muscles in your back, which can help to improve your posture. By using only one hand on the bench (instead of kneeling on it), your core muscles work hard to resist torso rotation.

  • Holding a dumbbell in one hand, hinge your hips back, bend your knees, and place your other hand on the end of a bench.
  • Keeping your back flat and abs braced, pull the dumbbell up your side until your elbow is just above your torso.
  • Lower the weight with control, and repeat for 10 to 12 reps.