Exercising your body is such an important thing to do, yet often the first thing to get neglected as our days get busy. And the holidays have been known to create busyness in people’s lives. As we enter one of the most stressful times of the year, I wanted to offer to you a short workout that you can squeeze into your day. If you can keep up some semblance of physical activity you will feel less stressed, be healthier, and maybe even keep your waistline in check.
Resistance training is also known as strength training and most people think of it as “lifting weights.” You don’t have to lift actual barbell weights to get results though. You can lift your own body weight.
Women: Many women are afraid of “bulking up” so they choose not to lift weights. The reality is, it is very rare for women to really bulk up without making a conscious effort to do so (bodybuilders, for example). Generally speaking, you will just tone up, especially with my proposed workout. And having a little muscle definition can be very sexy! 🙂
It is preferable that you would be up moving about for a little while before starting these so your body is a little bit warmed up. Ideally, you would go for a walk, run, or bike ride first.
This is a 4-8 minute workout depending on how many you do of each exercise. My suggestion is that you start off just doing as many as you think you can PLUS ONE. Make sure the last one is so hard that you FEEL like you can’t do it…but you actually DO! This way, you will start off with fewer repetitions, therefore less time. As you can handle more repetitions, the time will increase gradually. Please use caution when doing any exercises you have never done before.
- Start with 30 seconds of jumping jacks.
- Drop to the ground and do pushups – it’s ok if you start on your knees until you get stronger. Please make sure you do these correctly so you don’t hurt yourself – make your body into one long straight line hinging at either your knees or toes and bend your arms so that the entire plank of your body hinges and your chest and face meet the floor and your arms straighten to push your straight body back up. Keep your head in line with your body also. Keep your butt down, but do not sag your back.
- Get up and do alternating walking lunges around your house – do not allow the front knee to extend over the toe as you bend into the lunge.
- Drop to the ground and hold plank for as long as you can (start with 15 seconds) – form is critical here too (see pushups form). You can either do plank on your elbows (low plank) or on your hands (high plank).
- Stand up and do squats. Again, make sure your knees do not extend over the toes, keeping your butt pushed back like you are sitting down.
- Drop to the ground and do pushups.
- Get up and do alternating walking lunges around your house (again).
- Find a chair or coffee table and do tricep dips. Keep your butt close to the chair or table so you are dropping straight down and back up again.
- Stand up and do squats again.
If you cannot find time to do these all at once, keep the list with you and do them throughout the day: squats while blow-drying your hair, walking lunges while brushing your teeth, pushups while watching TV, tricep dips while at the park with your kids, etc. The beautiful thing is that there are no excuses with this workout – you don’t need any equipment! The best part of this is that you can do this in your house or anywhere!
If you can’t do this workout, what CAN you do? Walk more, take the stairs instead of the elevator, play more, go for a hike…what can you do to stay active this holiday season?
Try to do this 3 times per week. Always make sure you have a day in between workouts.
You will be sore the first few times, but it feels oh, so good to get those muscles in shape!
Why is resistance training necessary?
- Muscle burns more calories than fat ~ increases your metabolism
- As we age, we lose muscle each year – the only way to combat that is to incorporate resistance (in this case body weight) exercises into your life
- Increases bone density and strength and integrity of the bones
- Stronger muscles make doing other things easier – skiing, walking, running, swimming, moving furniture, picking up your children, etc. It FEELS good to feel strong
- Often, people notice an improvement in their posture when doing resistance training