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Getting some exercise and making time to relax often top lists of New Year's resolutions at this time of year. Home-based exercise and relaxation routines can be a cost- and time-effective way to achieve these goals. Here are four affordable activities to try in 2018.

 

Buy a jump rope

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While muscle strengthening exercises (squats, plank, lunges, stomach crunches, etc.) can easily be done at home, cardiovascular exercise can be more challenging due to lack of space and equipment. One solution is a jump rope -- back in fashion, this is the ultimate exercise accessory to burn calories and lose weight at home. Intense but fun, it's easy to get into jumping rope since results are very quick, from toned legs and sculpted glutes to reduced cellulite and boosted circulation. Get started by jumping rope for one minute followed by one minute of rest. As you improve, up the exercise time to 15 minutes while reducing rest time.

 

Sign up to an online yoga class

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Online yoga classes are the latest home fitness trend for relaxing body and mind. Aim to roll out your yoga mat at home for short but regular sessions. Pick a place that's warm, and set the scene with subdued lighting and a pleasant aroma. A host of studios offer online lessons led by their instructors (YogaGlo, Yogis Anonymous, Dirty Yoga) with affordable subscriptions ranging from $15-20 per month. There are also lots of YouTube channels with freely accessible videos by yoga teachers.

 

Abdominal breathing

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This technique is free and can be practiced anywhere, anytime. Deep breathing is the ideal activity for a moment of relaxation when you need to hit "pause." When you get home, taking a few moments to do some deep, abdominal breathing can help you relax. If you're struggling to find time for yourself among family commitments and children, why not get the whole family onboard with regular sessions to wind down together.

 

Self massage

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Who doesn't dream of a nice relaxing massage at the end of the day to get rid of stress and tension? Unless you have the cash to afford expert treatment, self-massage -- even with no oil -- is a great way of reconnecting with your body and taking a break from daily life, which leaves little place for sensuality. This moment of "me time" can also help boost circulation and eliminate toxins. Try massaging the soles of your feet every morning with a drop of vetiver essential oil, a plant that promotes courage and serenity, and has a grounding effect.

 

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