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

Have you made improving your fitness a goal for 2019? One secret to keeping this resolution is to set yourself up for success by giving yourself lots of options for working out, no matter what your day has in store. Make working out part of your daily routine-more of a necessity, like brushing your teeth, and less of an optional “extra- curricular”.

Getting exercise in in the winter can be especially difficult in some parts of the country because it’s too icy or cold to get outside and move. While gyms and fitness classes are great, it’s important to have a back- up plan in case you can’t physically get there. Instead of beating yourself up for not making it to your fitness class, or making excuses because of the weather, vow to get moving by doing some of these exercises on your own.

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.

For a combo, try kettlebells

Kettlebells are iron balls attached to handles that enable you to combine cardio and weight training for a total body workout with only one piece of equipment. You only need one kettlebell to begin, and you can find lots of kettlebell workouts online.  Here’s a good place to opens in a new window

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.


1 Gaynes, S. (2011, September 10). What's So Important About Core Strength? Retrieved December 04, 2017, from opens in a new window
2 Robinson, K. M. (2016, April). Plyometrics. Retrieved December 04, 2017, from opens in a new window
3 Laskowski, M. E. (2015, August 13). How to use your body weight for strength training. Retrieved December 04, 2017, from opens in a new window