When you're tight on time and the weather isn’t cooperating, it could be easy to put off exercise until springtime. But sticking to a regular fitness routine is critical, if you want to stay in shape and maintain your health. Just remember the effort that you put into your health and fitness over the summer; it’d be a shame to undo your hard work by sitting around feeling tired and lethargic all winter. There are plenty of ways to prevent weight gain and stay active in winter, and this is a fun routine you could do without leaving your home!
Try these five simple body weight exercises to stay lean and mean this month. You won’t need fancy equipment for these moves:
CARDIO BURST: Briskly moving up and down stairs is a great way to raise your heart rate for two minutes straight. Don’t have a set of stairs at home? No worries; you remember how to do a classic “jumping jack” move from elementary gym class. Start with your feet together and hands at your sides, keeping your core engaged. Then jump both legs out hip-width to each side while swinging your arms out and above your head. Bend your knees as you jump again to bring your feet back together and arms down to starting position. Repeat for two minutes!
DIVING PUSH-UP: We’ve also called these “roll the peanut” in my indoor classes, because you could visualize yourself pushing a peanut along the floor with your nose. Begin in a downward-dog yoga position with your rear in the air and your hands and feet firmly on the floor. In a controlled and fluid motion, swoop the hips towards the floor while your chest rises, looking up toward the ceiling on your lift. Keep moving until your back is gently arched and your chin is lifted. Swoop down and back to your beginning downward-dog position, continuing this motion for ten to fifteen repetitions.
LUNGE JUMPS: The only thing more fun than a lunge is catching some air in between lunges. Start standing with the feet together and lunge the right foot forward, bending the knee about ninety degrees, being careful not to let your knee come forward of your toes. Jump straight up, and while in the air, switch legs and land in a lunge with the left foot forward. Try for eight to ten (or as many as you could do with good form).
PLANK JACKS: Start in a traditional plank (shoulders over the wrists and the body in one straight line), keeping the feet together. With your core tight and not moving your hand position on the floor, simply do jumping jacks with the legs, softly hopping them out to the sides, then back together. Aim for twelve to fifteen hops (out-and-in is one hop!).
BICYCLE AB CRUNCH: Lie down on your back with knees in toward your chest, and elbows bent with hands behind your head. Bring your right elbow toward the left knee while the right leg simultaneously straightens, hovering above the floor three to six inches. Alternate sides just like you’re pedaling on a bike, and pedal out for twenty to thirty reps.
You could run through these five exercises as a circuit-style workout, repeating each set three times a row or simply doing one set of each through all five exercises, three times total. Keep in mind that staying fit in the wintertime isn’t a contest or a one-time event. When inclement weather forces you inside, take that challenge and turn it into a fun off-the-plateau treat for your body!
Cari Draft is an award-winning personal fitness trainer who makes “house calls” in West Michigan. Cari also created the unique outdoor group workout company EcoTrek Fitness, which now operates out of twelve locations in Michigan and one in West Virginia. She’s a popular social media fitness guru (http://facebook.com/fitgirlcari.FANS and http://twitter.com/fitgirlcari) and shares many topics on her blog, http://fitgirlcari.blogspot.com.