The holidays are here, which means it's time to start worrying about how many extra calories you're ingesting and how to avoid those additional holiday pounds. Luckily, there are lots of simple things you can do to keep active during the cold winter months to keep those extra pounds at bay. Whether you're in need of a few at-home exercises that you can do without a lot of equipment, or you're looking for something else that can feel like fun but is exercise in disguise, here are a few tips to get you started this holiday season.
There are so many things happening during the holidays that you can get in a lot of exercise without even realizing it. Check out your local zoo or botanic gardens. Chances are there is a night-time light show that will involve at least a mile or two of walking, which is a great way to keep active during the season. Or spend some evening walking around your neighborhood, checking out all the light displays. If you've got snow on the ground, go out and play with the kids, make a snowman or have an old-fashioned snow ball fight. Even sledding is great exercise since you have to walk back up that hill.
Sometimes, the best way to get someone motivated to work out is to make it fun, and dancing is a very fun and effective form of exercise. Try doing 16 reps of a plie squat, which is a basic ballet move. Stand with your feet about hip-width apart and your toes pointing out, hands on your hips. Squat down until your rear end is even with your knees and then return to standing, be sure to keep your rear tucked in and your back straight. This works your quads, core and glutes really well.
Burpees are a great exercise for anyone during the holidays because they can be done indoors, nearly anywhere, and they work out the entire body. Basically, you start in a standing position, drop to a squatting position with your hands on the ground then go back up to standing and repeat. You can do two to three sets of 20 burpees and that will give you a great exercise for your whole body, and that's sure to work of at least a few of those extra calories.
Four Move Circuit
Women's Health also has some great recommendations for holiday weight-loss and fitness routines, which also include burpees as one of the four moves in a circuit. It recommends you start with jumping jacks, then move to squat jumps, then side to side hops with your knees bent slightly and then into burpees. You should do as many reps of each as you can in one minute then move to the next without stopping. Complete the whole circuit once, then rest for 90 seconds and do it again, for a total of three or four circuits.
Cooking With Exercise
If you're going to be stuck in the kitchen for much of the holiday season, you can do little things to keep y our heart rate up, making your cooking a bit of an exercise as well. Try keeping a couple jugs of water nearby so you can do some quick curls while you wait for something to finish baking. Or you can grab a kitchen chair to do some slow squats over the chair while you wait for that water to boil. To do a slow squat, simply act like you are about to sit in the chair but stay very slow and very controlled. Your core, back and leg muscles will do all the work for you.
Deborah Flomberg is a theater professional, freelance writer and Denver native. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.
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