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Whether you make a formal resolution or not, the new year is a time for change. And for many, that means a change in lifestyle and fitness.
Starting a new workout routine or finding ways to exercise more often can feel difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. Getting new workout gear or finding an exercise class you love can help motivate you to move. For fitness inspiration in the new year, check out these health and wellness products.
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A fitness tracker to help you set and reach goals
When your resolution is to move more, it helps to have a way to track your activity levels and celebrate your gains. A great way to keep tabs on your workouts and monitor your progress is with our favorite fitness tracker, the Fitbit Charge 5. In addition to the expected step counting and reminders to move, the Charge 5 makes it easy to record workouts right from your wrist using built-in GPS for outdoor activities as well as to view stats like heart rate or calories burned while exercising.
To successfully up your step count or time spent exercising, start by gauging your current activity levels. Wear a tracker for a week without changing any habits and see what your average is. Once you have your starting point, you can aim to increase your steps or workouts by 10% each week as an achievable goal.
A workout app to help you find exercise you love
If you’re not sure how to start exercising regularly or are struggling to find fun workouts, try downloading a workout app that gives you access to a variety of sessions so you can find some new favorites.
For starters, check out Nike Training Club, our favorite of the slew we tested. This free workout app offers various exercise styles such as strength training, yoga and HIIT, and we found the instruction to be challenging, fun and motivational. For those who find it hard to stick with taking virtual workout classes at random, NTC may be able to help. The app customizes your experience with a short quiz about what types of workouts you enjoy and recommends multi-week programs to help you stay consistent with your goals.
If a yoga flow is more your speed and you want to elevate your home practice, Alo Moves is our favorite yoga app. Like NTC, it gives you a quick quiz to get to know your exercise habits to recommend classes accordingly. With Alo Moves, you’ll get access to yoga, pilates, barre workouts and more, including meditation and breathwork sessions. Its instructors provide great guidance to help you improve your yoga form.
New gym clothes to help you look as good as you feel
Getting a pair of workout leggings that feel good and don’t restrict your movement can make you look forward to getting up and dressed for your workout, and help you get it done.
Our reviewer fell in love with the Colorfulkoala ⅞-length leggings among the over a dozen pairs she tried. The fabric is soft to the touch and fits snugly without feeling restrictive. These leggings stay put throughout all the workouts our tester tried, with no bunching or scrunching, and stay ultra comfortable through the most serious of sweat sessions.
Lightweight gear to level up your strength
Bodyweight exercises like push-ups and squats are a great way to start strength training, but when they aren’t quite cutting it anymore, you may want to add some extra equipment to your arsenal.
One easy way to do this is with resistance bands. For starters, a set of mini-bands, or simple latex loops about a foot in diameter, can help you build strength by providing resistance as you pull on the band. You can take them to the gym or the park and easily stash them away at home, no matter how limited your storage. The set from FitSimplify resistance bands are a great option and have a 4.5-star rating with more than 101,000 reviews on Amazon. It comes with five bands of varying resistance levels for about $10, and reviewers rave about how well they hold up and the multiple difficulty levels to choose from.
You can also get a booty band, or a thicker cloth band that can be used specifically for leg and glute exercises. These bands won’t bunch or bind like thin mini bands might, particularly during certain exercises like leg lifts. The Renoj three-band set from Amazon offers light, medium and heavy resistance, and reviewers say the bands are comfortable to use and stay put throughout their workouts.
For more versatility, try a set of resistance tubes, or longer non-looped resistance bands. This set from Whatafit comes with five resistance tubes, handle attachments, ankle attachments and a door anchor. These tubes have a 4.6-star rating on Amazon with nearly 24,000 reviews, and happy customers say they’re easy to use for various workouts.
A yoga mat to make floor workouts more comfortable
Whether you prefer a relaxing yoga flow or an ab-work finisher, you’ll need a mat to cushion and support your joints. The best yoga mat we’ve tested is lululemon’s The Reversible Mat 5mm. This mat offers Goldilocks-like firmness—it’s soft enough that it’s protects from the hard floor but firm enough that you won’t wobble out of balancing poses. Its nonskid polyurethane surface and textured natural rubber base give excellent grip, and a yoga towel holds still during the sweatiest hot yoga sessions.
For a less expensive option, we recommend the Gaiam Premium Yoga Mat. The grippy, waffled texture ensures you won’t slip or slide, no matter how sweaty you get. And this mat is one of the lightest we’ve tested, weighing just under 3 pounds, which makes it great for carrying back and forth to the gym or studio.
Headphones to help you get in the zone
A great pair of headphones and the right playlist can get you amped to work out, even on low-energy days. For a pair of wireless earbuds that sound great and are easy to use while exercising, try the Jabra Elite Active 75t. These earbuds feature active noise cancellation if you want to block out the world as well as a “transparency” mode to let you tune in to your surroundings, if you need to stay aware on a run. The controls are easy to use mid-workout and aren’t prone to accidental song changes. Additionally, these earbuds are water- and dust-resistant, so you can rinse them off after particularly sweaty workouts.
Workout gear that’s too pretty to not touch
Even if just the look of stylized equipment makes you want to get up and use it for five minutes, you can count that as a win. We tested the Instagram-famous Bala Bangles and think they could be an inspiring way for anyone to add a couple pounds of resistance to their barre, pilates or other slow-movement workout. These trendy, colorful weights come in 1-pound or 2-pound options and can be worn on your wrists or your ankles (though experts warn, don’t use ankle weights for cardio workouts). Our tester found the Bala Bangles comfortable to wear while exercising as they didn’t slide up and down the arm or chafe the skin, and they added an extra challenge to dumbbell movements like an overhead press.
Adjustable dumbbells to replace a whole weight rack at home
For those who enjoy lifting weights but don’t know how to lift heavier at home, consider getting adjustable dumbbells. A single pair is equipped with multiple weight plates that give you 10 to 15 pairs of dumbbells in one, helping you save money and floor space, and offering a challenging full-body workout.
We think the Bowflex SelectTech 552 dumbbells are the best out there. It’s easy to adjust the loaded weight, and the dumbbells themselves are smooth to re-rack—a feature that made them stand out during testing. They also have a wide weight range (from 5 to 52.5 pounds) that increases in increments of 2.5 pounds, which is important for exercises where a too-large increase might affect your form.
Home gym equipment to take your workouts to the next level
If you miss the gym but not the commute to get there, you may want to invest in some larger home gym equipment you’ll be pumped to use. We’ve tested plenty of exercise gear at Reviewed, and have a few favorite products for your consideration.
For a do-it-all treadmill, we recommend the NordicTrack Commercial 1750. The speed ranges from 0.5 to 12 miles per hour and its incline varies from a -3% decline (yes, it goes downhill!) up to a 15% incline. The deck offers a great balance between springiness and firmness, which makes running on it comfortable, even at high speeds.
When it comes to exercise bikes, you can’t beat the Peloton Bike+. Peloton’s classes and instructors are upbeat, positive and motivating, and made our tester look forward to using the bike every day. And Peloton makes it practically mindless to break a sweat with the bike’s auto-follow setting, which automatically adjusts your resistance to match the instructor’s, and a swivel screen that rotates for better viewing of off-bike exercise classes.
To take your home strength workout to another level, try the Tonal workout mirror. Like other workout mirrors, you can stream workouts on its TV-screen-like display and see yourself in the reflection while watching the instructor. But the difference with Tonal is that it’s equipped with adjustable cables that offer electromagnetic resistance up to 200 pounds. You add different handle attachments to work any part of your body, and Tonal evaluates your energy used while exercising and automatically adjusts the cable’s resistance as you get stronger. Tonal offers pretty much any workout instruction you can think of, from strength to cardio to HIIT, and you can even customize your own session.
Recovery tools so you can keep crushing your goals
Adequate recovery is just as important as finding the time to work out. But rest days don’t have to be boring if you have a fun tool to make your recovery time more enjoyable and more effective. Massage guns are great for workout recovery and warm-ups alike, and the Therabody Theragun Elite is the best massage gun out there. It has five speed settings and comes with five attachments, so you can tailor your massage to feel just right. It also connects to the Theragun app that programs your gun with preset massages, should you want more guidance.
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.