You’ve got your workout clothes ready, your sneakers by the door—but then you check the weather and find that the streets are covered in snow, keeping you from being able to do much of anything, let alone head to the gym for a workout. The same goes with holiday prep and the many other obligations that make this season particularly busy.
“Wintertime can be a rather distracting time of year; unpredictable weather and holiday festivities can easily throw us off our fitness routines,” says Justine Lucid, a trainer at Burke’s Adult Fitness Center. “In order to maintain some kind of consistency, many avid exercisers keep a home exercise program in their back pocket as a contingency plan."
But what can that exercise routine look like?
“In order to build strength and condition the body, it’s ideal to choose movements that recruit a variety of major muscle groups. The goal is to get the biggest bang for your buck in a short span of time, without the need for bulky fitness equipment,” she says.
As with any workout, make sure you have the okay from your doctor before jumping in. Once you’re ready, Lucid recommends a 20-30-minute total-body conditioning regimen, like this one:
Start by warming up. “We always recommend a 5- to 10-minute progressive, cardio-based warm-up to prepare the body for more strenuous movements,” says Lucid.
That might include:
- Seated jumping jacks (where you sit in a chair and move your arms and legs like in a traditional jumping jack, but without jumping)
- Marching in place
- Climbing steps
- Doing arm circles
Then, try this circuit:
For each of these exercises, hold the pose as long as possible and then repeat the entire circuit (all three exercises) between 5 and 10 times.
Start by lying on your back and bending your knees so your feet are flat. Then, “Breathe in, and dig your heels into the floor as you squeeze your buttocks and drive your hips up to the ceiling. Hold the position for as long as you can, and slowly lower yourself back down to the floor, vertebrae by vertebrae,” says Lucid.
For this pose, start by standing against a firm wall. Then, says Lucid, “Walk your feet out in front of you, and slide down the wall. Brace your abdominals and keep your shoulders pressed back against the wall as you breathe and maintain a 90-degree bend behind the knees. Your weight should be evenly distributed between the heels and midfoot.”
If you look like a plank of wood, you know you’ve got this position right. “Starting out with your hands and knees on the floor, get yourself into the top of a push-up position. (If you would prefer to plank from your elbows, ensure that shoulders are directly stacked above elbows.),” says Lucid. “Hold the pose, making sure that the upper back is slightly rounded (flexed), while the butt is down low.”
Finally, cool down. Before you’re done for the day, incorporate a few favorite stretches as a cool-down, Lucid recommends. Two to try:
- A seated hamstring stretch: “Straighten one leg and reach for the toes; hold for 60 seconds. Repeat on other leg," says Lucid.
- Chest/upper back extension/shoulder stretch: “Interlace both hands behind the nape of the neck, and pull elbows apart as you tuck chin in and look up,” she says, and hold it for 60 seconds.
This home body circuit can help prevent those unintended weather-related “rest days,” but make sure to save a little energy. Chances are there will be some snow outside that needs to be shoveled.