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The best workout to help you reach your 2021 health goals

Suppose you’re among the 44 percent of Americans who resolved to move more in 2021. In that case, you’re probably hoping that regular exercise will help you reach a health goal. 

Well, you’re in luck. Research shows that exercise is vital for overall health and wellness. 

Different workouts carry specific health benefits. Depending on your health goals, you may prioritize specific exercises over others.     

Do yoga to lower stress and improve sleep

Yoga and relaxation go hand-in-hand. Try it if you struggle with sleep and anxiety. 

Need proof? A 2014 study found that older adults who did meditative yoga two times a week for 12 weeks saw significant improvements in sleep, fatigue, anxiety, stress, and general well-being. 

Lift weights to get stronger 

Strength training is the best way to build muscle. It doesn’t matter if you use weights, soup cans, or your body.

The CDC recommends strengthening your muscles at least two days per week. Hit all the major muscle groups: legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms.

Walk to keep your heart healthy and maintain (or even lose) weight

Walking is underrated. 

Research shows walking is a simple activity to help you keep your weight in check for the long-term. According to a study in older women, walking 30 minutes a day was associated with 17.6 pounds less weight gain over 15 years than women who don’t walk.

Walking is also good for your heart. Research in women found that walking briskly for at least 40 minutes two or three times per week is linked to a 25 percent reduction in heart failure risk.

For benefits, the CDC suggests getting two and a half hours of moderate-intensity cardio (i.e., brisk walking) every week.

Do Pilates to strengthen your core

A strong core carries many benefits. It helps you stand tall, keep your balance, and do better in your sport of choice. 

To get these perks, try Pilates.

If you’re a runner, for example, Pilates can help you make more progress over time. One study in veteran runners found that practicing Pilates two times a week helped them cut nearly two-and-a-half minutes off their 5K time after 12 weeks. 

A strong core meant people wasted less effort recruiting extra muscles to help them run. 

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