Kick Off Your New Year With This Beginner-Friendly, Equipment-Free Workout Plan

What if, this January, you ignored all the voices telling you what you “should be” and instead focused on finding the healthful habits that feel right for *you*? With ReNew Year, the only thing we’re detoxing from is a restrictive mindset. Pick a goal—movement, food, self care, or all three—and hit refresh. Get the Program

What better way to welcome a shiny new year than with a shiny new 28-day movement plan? Today, we're kicking off Well+Good's annual Renew Year Movement Plan with a bang. If you follow along, you'll have so many amazing moments ahead of you—and I'm not just talking about the heart-racing workouts you'll do. Throughout this program, I'll be offering holistic wellness practices (think: meditation, journaling, and other reflection activities) to help you work your mental fitness just as much as your physical fitness.

You know how a snowball picks up speed and momentum as it rolls down a mountain? That's going to be you this January. We'll start this week off by teaching you the basics of some movement patterns like running and bodyweight workouts. As you get stronger, the workouts will become more challenging, but I'll be right there alongside you the whole time. (Don't worry, we'll be scheduling plenty of recovery time in between tougher sweat sessions to recharge those muscles.) You'll also have a couple of "choose your own adventure" days where you'll get moving in a way of your choosing. Hike. Dance. Hula hoop. Jump rope. That time is for you. Pick movement that's joyful.

Before we dive into week one, a note about nutrition: Make sure you're drinking plenty of water and replenishing yourself with nourishing foods after your workout. Fueling properly will make all the difference in how your body feels before and after your workouts—so don't skip it! With all that said, we're ready to get into the program. Here's your starting line. Follow along below for the first week of workouts, and check back next Sunday for the next week's plan.

Day 1: Run or walk for 20 minutes

Day one is all about dipping your toes into the water. Have some fun with your movement, and make sure to give yourself a mental high five for starting in the first place. We're beginning with a 20-minute walk or recovery run to pick up your heart rate. If you're going for a walk, do your best to move continuously but keep your effort around a four out of 10 on the difficulty scale. Runners—or runners-to-be—can turn on their favorite playlist and cruise at the same effort level (four out of 10) for 20 minutes. Don’t sweat this one too much! Make it easy.

Day 2: Do this core-stability and upper-body workout (12 minutes)

This first workout will help prepare your core for the weeks of training we have ahead of us. It's an abs-centric workout—but let's not forget that having a strong core has nothing to do with having a "six pack." It has everything to do with strengthening the area from your shoulders to your stomach from a 360-degree approach.

You’ll notice some of the exercises challenge your coordination while other drills force you to hold a specific position to build strength and stamina. We’re building a strong foundation for you to protect your spine and transfer power from the lower body to upper body (and vice versa). Don't forget to take some time to stretch once you've run out the clock on this video.

Day 3: Go for a run (20 minutes)

Take on your second cardio day of the week with Nike Run Club's "First Run"—a 20-minute, guided jog to help you get your feet underneath you. Take note: This workout can be done walking at whatever pace the audio sets and you can pick up the intensity while still technically walking. Along the way, you'll learn a few tips that will help you go the distance. Plus, you'll be reaping some of the awesome cardiovascular benefits of running.  If you prefer to walk, make sure you fall back on that four out of 10 effort and try to keep it continuous—just like day one. Additionally, see if you can keep the core engagement you experienced yesterday as you walk or run (especially in your lower abdominals).

Day 4: Repeat the core-stability and upper-body workout (12 minutes)

Yes, again. The first time you do a workout, you’re just trying to understand what’s being asked of you. When you repeat it, you get to feel more confident because of muscle memory. By this point, you and the workout will basically be old friends, so see if you can focus on your form and take a moment to congratulate yourself for learning something new.

Day 5: Practice yoga (30 minutes)

You've pushed yourself this week—and now, it's time to recover. This yoga class will help you stretch and strengthen your body while gently introducing you to mindfulness. It’s so important to start to understand the messages our bodies are trying to communicate to us in the moment—and yoga teaches us that. This week's class focuses on posture, so you'll stretch the muscles of the spine and shoulders that work hard to keep you upright throughout the day.

Day 6: Choose your own movement (15-30 minutes)

Today is about you. Choose whatever movement is going to give you joy. It could be playing soccer with your kids, dancing in your living room, or popping into a workout studio you've been dying to try forever.

Day 7: Try restorative activities (10-20 minutes)

Time to reboot. Spend this time doing a restorative activity—or restorative activities, plural—to help you reflect on a great week of workouts. (Just make sure your phone is elsewhere so that it doesn't distract you.) Here are a few things you could do:

  • Spend five to eight minutes in a supported position like legs up the wall or legs up on the couch. Close your eyes and take some deep breaths. Notice what comes up without judgment.
  • Self massage, or use balls and/or a foam roller for eight to ten minutes. Treat this with a playful mind. Pick out which part of you needs some lovin'. Your calves? Your hamstrings? Your arms?
  • Build a gratitude practice. Grab a notebook and write down five things you’re grateful for. Keep it simple and jot down the first things that come to mind. Next, write down how you want to feel this month. Again, no judgment is allowed.

If your restorative practice is feeling really good, don't rush it. Twenty minutes may turn into an hour or more—and that's great.

Looking to hit refresh on your healthy habits this January? Check out our full 2022 ReNew Year program for expert-led plans for sustainable eating, exercise, and self-care routines. 

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