It's winter time and healthy living isn't easy...
Depending on your climate, winter often has us holed up in our homes, waiting for the season when we can lounge poolside and enjoy a few margaritas. It’s hard to get motivated when you’re snuggled in blankets, eating holiday food, and trying to keep warm and jolly.
So, what are your choices to get that body moving? Outdoor winter activities aren’t exactly abundant, unless you’re into skiing, sledding, or ice skating. I guess you can count walking the dog, but even some furry friends aren’t usually game for a snowy adventure. While a lot of people take to the gym in winter, a trip to the gym means bundling up, making a snowy and icy drive, sweating it out, and then re-bundling up for the trek home. If you’ve already made yourself a gym routine, stick to it! Good for you and your winter fitness routine! Otherwise, here are some simple things you can do at home to stay active and burn off that cheese log and extra slice of pie:
Using just your body weight…
Do a quick Google search and find free regimens, YouTube videos and other methods that will help you put together a quick at-home workout using just your body weight.
Planks and Side Planks
Nothing tightens your core faster than a good old-fashioned plank workout. Try to set a goal for yourself to see how long you can keep your plank formation. Keep upping the ante each week to build those tummy muscles! And if you need a little toning in your lateral abs, get your side plank on. Planks put you on the fast track to get fit this winter.
Yes, I know it looks quite similar to “lounge”… but instead of eating Cheetos on your couch, get those leg muscles pumpin’! This is a back-friendly workout that targets your quads, glutes, hamstrings and more, while testing your body’s stability.
Virtually the same effectiveness as lunges, squats target your glutes, core, and legs. They help you build muscle mass, and can be used in tandem with weights for added intensity. Try alternating lunges and squats for a total lower body workout.
When in doubt, kick it out! Donkey kicks are perfect for staying active if you’re not big on space in your home. This is an isolated movement that tones to leg and glutes, and you aren’t moving around all over the place. Do these with your lunges and squats to keep your workout interesting.
The superman won’t have you flying all over the city, Clark Kent. But you will get toned back muscles! During our workouts, a lot of times we forget what we can’t see, and since you don’t perpetually walk around with a mirror behind you, keeping your back muscles in shape can be easily forgotten. Bonus! This move also targets your arms!
Cardio at home doesn’t have to mean running around your house like a sugared-up toddler. Just take the stairs! Though a lot of people use outdoor arenas and park stairs to run outside, indoor stair exercises in your home or apartment building are just as effective. Get a good workout in, without going out in the cold or slipping on the ice.
Using additional weight and resistance…
These props are great for strength training. Use them alone, or add them to your above workouts for more intensity.
These come in different sizes that work with your natural muscle strength. So, you can use a heavier kettlebell for lifting and building muscle, or a lighter kettlebell for added reps and cardio. Want to get an intense, fat-burning workout? Pair a kettlebell with squats.
You can use hand weights practically any time in your home. They’re so universal, which means they are perfect for simply getting your quick arm workout in, or for adding to your isolated movements (like lunges and superman) to up the ante and weight resistance.
Exercise bands and resistance bands are an adaptable way to get some variety in your at-home training. They’re easy, cost-effective, and portable. Did someone say travel fitness? So even if you’re out of town for the holiday season, you don’t have to skip out on getting a full body workout. (Just a hunch here, but maybe don’t pack your kettlebell…)
Implementing core workouts and isometric strength training…
Basic movements and props are great for staying in shape, but sometimes you need an actual course of action to keep you interested.
This is a fairly new and trendy workout that combines postures and movements of ballet barre with strength movements of yoga and pilates. Most of the movements are small ranges of motion, so you can still do the movements at home if you don’t have a barre handy (I mean, really, who does?) Use a heavy chair back to balance yourself. Just don’t pull too heavily, and maybe do your chair poses against the wall instead.
If you have one of these machines at home, put on a great workout playlist and get going! (Er, get rowing?) This workout encompasses the “work hard and keep it simple” attitude. To put it this way, it’s an easy machine with a lot of variation. Plus, it targets basically everything so, hooray for a total body workout!
Stretching is just as important as working out, so grab an online yoga regimen and get in the practice of doing this after your workout. On your off days, use yoga to stay in the game and clear your headspace—good for the body AND the mind.
These quick, at-home workouts can be mixed and matched, depending on what muscles you want to work on, or what level of intensity you need. As always, never do more than your body can handle, and keep your cardio and strength up this winter while you hibernate and wait for spring.
Looking for other ways to stay healthy this winter? Eating right is a pretty big one on the list. Check out our blog about superfoods and become a super you!
Need a new assignment so you aren't stir crazy this winter? See what we have available: