Winter Workout Blues? Here’s How to Stay Toned While Staying Inside

Alaina Anderson, Copywriter

Winter Workout Blues? Here’s How to Stay Toned While Staying Inside

Let’s face it— it’s not easy to focus on fitness during the winter months. With all the Christmas cookies and comfort food, it’s easy to hide that extra 10 lbs underneath a cozy sweater. But once it’s time for those sweaters to go into storage, you may wish you took time to work those muscles.

Luckily, you don’t have to brave the cold to achieve your fitness goals. No gym? No problem! All you need is some motivation and a little bit of creativity to get a great at-home workout. Here are a few at-home exercise tips for all experience levels. If you’re not sure what these are or how to do them, do a quick internet search -there are plenty of great online videos to help coach you along.

If you want a stronger core

While it is one of our most important muscle groups, our core often gets neglected. All of our body movements originate at the core, and it links the movements of the upper and lower body. Core training does two really important things: it helps you look thinner, and it supports your spine and helps with things like balance.1 Core workouts target the front, the back, and the sides of the body, unlike traditional abdominal training. The key to targeting your entire core? Instability. Anything that encourages you to stabilize yourself requires you to engage your core. Here are a few examples of exercises that will engage your core:

  • Planks
  • Superman lifts
  • Russian twists
  • Toe touches
  • Leg lifts
  • Crunches

Move through each repetition slowly and controlled, feel the muscles deep in your core engage with every movement. Pick a combination of 5 or more core movements, do 15-25 reps, and repeat 3-5 times based on your fitness level.

If you need a quick cardio session

Cardio is one of the easiest workouts you can accomplish at home without any equipment. Thanks to plyometric workouts and high intensity interval training (HIIT), you can burn around 150 calories in as little as 15 minutes. Plyometrics used to be called jump training. You do a series of jumps and hops to get your heart rate up and stretch your muscles at the same time.2 The key to plyometric exercise is to do a move for 30 seconds, walk or jog in place for a minute, and repeat. The minute recovery in between each move is essential to catch your breath while still moving. Some plyometric moves for you to try are:

  • Burpees
  • Squat jumps
  • Jump lunges
  • Box jump on a chair or sturdy bench
  • Star jumps
  • Plank jumping jacks
  • Speed skaters

Pick five or more of these moves and repeat each 3-5 times based on your fitness level. Have fun and get creative!  

If you love weight lifting

You don’t need fancy equipment for strength training exercises. In fact, you carry with you the most effective exercise machine— your body. The resistance training effect you get from using your body weight can be as effective as training with free weights or weight machines. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends incorporating strength training exercises of all the major muscle groups into a fitness routine at least two times a week.3 To hit all of these muscle groups, do a combination of these moves:

  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Pushups/pushup variations
  • Pullups
  • Step-ups on a sturdy chair
  • Tricep dips on a sturdy chair

Do 12-15 reps of each exercise, and repeat as many rounds as you can based on your fitness level.

Before you start

As always, there are risks to consider with any new exercise program, so talk to your doctor prior to starting. All of these exercises can be easily modified to fit your fitness level. Do your research to look up the correct form for each exercise before attempting them on your own. It is important to listen to your body, and to stop if you feel any pain or discomfort. Start slowly, maybe once a week, and increase to two to three workouts each week.

 

References:
1 Gaynes, S. (2011, September 10). What's So Important About Core Strength? Retrieved December 04, 2017, from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/10/whats-so-important-about-core-strength_n_955931.html
2 Robinson, K. M. (2016, April). Plyometrics. Retrieved December 04, 2017, from https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/a-z/what-is-plyometrics#global-main
3 Laskowski, M. E. (2015, August 13). How to use your body weight for strength training. Retrieved December 04, 2017, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/expert-answers/body-weight-training/faq-20147966

 

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