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How to create an exercise routine you'll actually stick to

2020 is your year to finally get fit.

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Want to make exercise a habit? Create a routine.

Angela Lang/CNET
This story is part of New Year, New You, everything you need to develop healthy habits that will last all the way through 2020 and beyond.

One New Year's resolution you're sure to see on several people's lists this year is to finally get fit. Yet, when February rolls around, many have abandoned their efforts. 

This time of year, every gym will be vying for your money, eager to lock you into a subscription that often comes with a high initiation fee. But before you sign that contract, you're better off developing exercise as a habit that's part of your daily or weekly routine, and a great place to start is at home.

There are a bunch of legitimate excuses for choosing not to join a gym -- time, expensive memberships and judgmental gym-goers. But that shouldn't stop you from exercising. Starting up a workout routine in your own home addresses all of these problems, and it's much easier than you may think.

If you want to make 2020 the year you finally start working out again, the key may be to ditch the trips to the gym or studio and start exercising in the comfort of your living room.

Read more: Peloton, Daily Burn and more: Best workout subscription apps | The best fitness gifts in 2020 

Working out at home

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If you work out in your living room, you can squeeze in a quick exercise any time of day.

Angela Lang/CNET

Approximately half of American adults don't meet basic exercise guidelines. With our busy schedules, it's no wonder we don't have enough time in the day to drive to the gym and get a solid workout in. But if you use your living room (or even bedroom) as a defacto gym, you're cutting down on commute time. If you still can't wedge out 30 minutes a few times a week, try keeping an honest log of how you spend your time and identify any blocks of time wasted on TV or social media. 

Another reason to skip the gym, yoga studio or spin class is the costly membership fee, but working out in your house is completely free.

Thirdly, anyone who's been in a semi-public locker room knows that sometimes it can be uncomfortable. A huge benefit of exercising at home is avoiding any awkward interactions, judgy gym bros or accidentally laying eyes on an unclothed person. Seriously, people, do you have to sit on the bench for so long before getting dressed? 

How to create a home workout routine

No matter what exercise routine you start up, make sure it's one you genuinely enjoy -- or at least don't hate too much. The best workout routine is the one you're going to stick with -- it's much harder to make exercise a habit when it's something you dread. Begin with working out two to three days a week, and increase your frequency once you get used to it, if you desire.

Make sure to start every workout with a warmup and cool down so that you don't injure yourself.

Home gym equipment

It may be tempting to buy a pricey Peloton or expensive treadmill, but you don't need either of them when you're just starting out.

If you spend a few bucks on a yoga mat, resistance bands and a kettlebell or two, you can build an effective home gym. Set up your equipment out in the open with necessities like a towel, speaker, and maybe a TV to watch YouTube. Make your mini home gym impossible to ignore -- it'll motivate you to actually use it.

If you've exhausted the equipment-free options and are itching to try a new home workout, you don't need to buy fancy equipment like the Mirror or a Peloton bike. Instead, with a little DIY spirit you can create the same experience for a fraction of the cost. For example, try buying a used road bike and putting it on some rollers for an inexpensive spin bike. Use your phone or tablet to watch some free cycling videos and enjoy a great workout without busting the bank.

Bodyweight strength exercises

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Your bodyweight is a form of resistance that can help you get strong.

Angela Lang/CNET

If you want to get stronger, you don't need any weights or equipment to achieve your goals. A few examples of strength exercises you can do are pushups, tricep dips, planks, toe touches, squats, lunges and supermans

When choosing which bodyweight exercises you want to do, make sure you choose ones that are balanced across the different parts of your body -- for example, if you do pushups, which mainly work your chest, pair them with a back exercise. Not doing so will lead to muscular imbalances and risk of injury.

HIIT cardio

Of course you can always lace up your running shoes and head outside for a jog or walk, but with the cold weather this isn't feasible for many people. Instead of swearing off cardio till springtime, try doing high intensity interval training at home.

HIIT workouts should only take you 20 minutes max, and the key is to group together movements with short rest times. For example, you could do 20 jumping jacks, 10 pushups, then 10 squats in a row, rest for 30 seconds, and repeat. Or, if you want to make it purely cardio, try doing high knees in place for 45 seconds then resting for 15 seconds, and repeat five times.

HIIT will boost your athletic performance and is a great alternative to longer cardio sessions, and has numerous health benefits including lowering your blood pressure.

Yoga

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Angela Lang/CNET

Yoga or gentle stretching is a great exercise to do at home, even if it's as simple as doing a quick sun salutation to gather yourself before leaving the house. For lengthier routines, you may want a yoga mat, or you can do movements on a carpet.

Many people think of yoga as a destressing activity -- which is completely true -- but it can also function as an incredible strength exercise. Whenever I take yoga classes, my muscles are left shaking afterwards. You can find tons of free yoga videos on YouTube -- with routines aimed anywhere from helping you get stronger to relaxing after a stressful day

YouTube exercises classes

Instead of spending cash on a prancercise DVD, pull up YouTube to watch hundreds of fitness videos for free. There are dancing tutorial channels, ab workouts, home boxing workouts and more. Sometimes I dance around in my room while cleaning up, and it's good to know that I can turn this into a great workout.

Find exercises you love

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Mermaids must all be in great shape because this is a hard workout.

Mohd Rasfan / AFP/Getty Images

If you've tried doing pushups in the kitchen or yoga in the living room and can't stick with it, all hope isn't lost yet. There are a ton of alternate ways you can work out that are, believe it or not, surprisingly fun.

For a great cardio exercise, strap on a pair of rollerblades and venture outside to explore your neighborhood. Or, throw on some music and have a dance party in your living room. If there's a local pool nearby, you can even strap on a mermaid tail and live out your childhood fantasies.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.