Yesour fitness routine can be a safe space where you will find joy, endorphins and, yes, even a little peace. The problem is, each January the language used to move your body tends to be more damaging than inspiring. Mindsets like “go strong or come home” and “push your limits” can make you feel like your training is worthless if it doesn’t leave you gasping on the floor and sore for days on end. But the simple truth is (repeat after me): Not all workouts should be hard.

Amanda Freeman, founder and CEO of the reformer of the studio Pilates SLT, says that every time you exercise, you reap the rewards, no matter what your level of exertion. “Any kind of exercise, whether your exertion level is one or five, is worth it. Always exercising is not a sustainable way to exercise and can lead to injury and burnout. It’s important to listen to your body when you workout and not push past what’s smart, ”she says.

Looking for evidence to support the idea that any movement is worth it? A few weeks ago, we reported on a study that found that brisk walking for just 17 minutes a day increased your cardiorespiratory fitness, a measure associated with a decrease in heart rate and all-cause mortality. This means that your midday walk is very able to increase your longevity and general well-being, even if you are not out of breath in the end. And for what it’s worth, the dwellers of the Blue Zones, the longevity hotspots on the planet, also prefer snackable longevity exercises that fit into their everyday lives, like gardening or bringing back groceries. home from the supermarket. (Read: they are not going all-out in a spin class every day – and that’s great.)

“Always exercising is not a sustainable way to exercise and can lead to injury and burnout.” —Amanda Freeman, Founder and CEO of SLT

Now here’s the thing: Sometimes it can be great to push your limits. And as long as you’re doing it safely, Freeman says that’s fine, too. “My advice is really to listen to your body and figure out which days you can do it all and which days you need to be more moderate in your physical activity,” she says. After all: Sometimes going that extra mile or doing an extra burpee or two can give you a feeling of confidence and power. But it’s not always easy to know what your body “needs” on any given day.

That’s why Freeman recommends planning training at different levels of effort throughout the week. Then if you arrive, say, Wednesday and not want to go for your long term, you can swap something else instead. “I think it’s important to plan your workouts to vary them and not overdo any muscle or type of movement. Balance is key,” she says. (Nudge, nudge: if you’re looking for an easy way to plan a week of fitness, check out Good + good ‘s ReNew Year Fitness Plan).

Grab your sliders and try this SLT workout (whatever level of exertion is right for you today!):

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