Ways to Exercise this Winter

Winter is right around the corner, and for many people, it brings with it the winter blues. Don’t let the cold get you down this winter; shake up your daily routine and get the exercise your body is craving, even during those freezing months by trying new and inventive ways to squeeze in a workout. Whether you want to be indoors or out, check out my tips for keeping in shape this winter season.

Outdoors

  • Rake some leaves! If you’re nestled in those months of winter between when the earth loses its color and when it actually snows, chances are your yard is littered with leaves galore from autumn.
  • Shovel your driveway. This one is weather permitting, but if you’re faced with a fresh snowstorm, one of the best ways to work up a sweat is by clearing your home’s paths and walkways of snow.
  • Take up skiing. You’ll get the same exercise from snowboarding and ice skating, but this winter, try taking up a winter sport for fun! You’ll be surprised how much exercise you get while having fun, so much so you won’t even realize it until you’re sore the next day!
  • Play in the snow. If you’re lucky enough to have a day off from school or work due to snowy conditions, take advantage of the opportunity. Go for a walk in the grass through the snow to avoid slipping on ice, have a snowball fight, or build a snow fort!

Indoors

  • Go to the gym. While it may not be the optimal option for exercise during the winter, especially if you hate working out around other people, the gym is the perfect place to squeeze in a winter workout because it was built for it! Find a gym you like, and start going regularly to beat the winter blahs.
  • Take the stairs. This tip is a little one you can incorporate every day to help keep your body in better shape. Take the stairs instead of escalators, and if the weather is nice, try parking farther away from your destinations to make yourself walk a little farther.
  • Be an active TV watcher. No, I don’t mean make sure you pay super close attention to your Netflix bingeing; rather, be active while you watch TV. Try running in place, planking, and doing sit ups during commercial breaks.
  • Try doing yoga. Although many people prefer to do it outside, yoga is a great form of exercise that you can do indoors at any time during the day and during the year.

Staying Active on No Time

In today’s world, using the words “time” and “gym” in one sentence is hard to do without the word “no”. However, you don’t have to have time or go to the gym in order to stay fit. Many of our lives are overwhelmed with work, travel, and family time, leaving exercise the last thing on our priorities list. Here are some tips for staying active, even when you have no time in your schedule!

  1. Walk/Bike

If possible, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to walk or bike to your destination. It’s recommended that an average person walks 10,000 steps (or 5 miles) per day in order to stay healthy. If you sit in an office all day, being active is crucial to your health. If you can’t walk or bike to work, use your lunch break to be active. Twenty minutes out of your lunch break can make a critical difference in your lifestyle. It’s also a great idea to stand up and stretch your legs every half hour. Even a few steps will help!

  1. Park Far Away

Many people rely on vehicles to get around on a day-to-day basis. Try parking farther away in the parking lot and walking to your destination, and take the stairs instead of elevators and escalators. Remember to walk straight and suck your belly in for extra benefits to the core and back. This will allow you to squeeze in those extra steps in and get the blood flowing without even noticing.

  1. Use the Powder Room

Setting goals for yourself is a great way to sneak in a workout. Although it may sound funny, try doing 10-12 squats every time you go to the bathroom. If you use the bathroom 6 times a day, that’s already over 60 squats! If you’re up for the challenge, lunges are also a great, powder room workout. Don’t worry about someone walking in on you; you’re bettering your body by doing something rather than nothing at all!

  1. Compete With Yourself

There is no better person to compete with than yourself- or technology rather. If you don’t have a fitbit, most cellphones have fitness trackers, and in today’s world, who doesn’t constantly have a phone on their hands? You can add your personal information onto these trackers in less than five minutes and start watching your daily activity. You’ll be amazed at the daily results and start focusing on getting those steps in! This is a great way to set goals and motivate yourself to keep active.

  1. Use A Bedtime Routine

We all have a bedtime routine! If you’re not a morning person, adding little workouts to your bedtime routine is a great benefit, and can even help you sleep better! Before hopping in the shower, try doing some crunches and yoga stretches. Your body will thank you for missing a few minutes of sleep for these simple exercises.

4 Post-Baby Belly Workouts

As a new mom, you know how difficult it is to get back into the shape you were before your baby. You’ve gone through the pregnancy and delivery and are now wondering how you can get rid of the paunch you have leftover from those long months of carrying your child. It’s likely you’re incredibly busy, exhausted, and feeling discouraged about accomplishing the goal of improving your abdominal muscles, but it’s certainly possible! There are hundreds, probably thousands, of resources online. I’ll give you a list of simple exercises that are proven to help you improve your core strength, which is the vital first step to dropping the weight and toning your body!

 

  • Pelvic Tilt

This exercise is fairly basic and referenced on various lists about getting back into shape after a pregnancy. Just lay flat on the floor with your feet hip-width apart and straighten your arms out at your sides. Align your spine with the floor and make sure it’s straight, then inhale and exhale as you raise your hips up off the ground. Tilt your pelvis and squeeze your abs, then hold for a couple breaths before lowering back to the ground. Do 10 reps.

 

  • Plank

There are nearly endless variations on the plank, but the two classic ones you should use are the ball plank and a side plank. For the ball plank, assume a typical plank position, but rest your arms on top of an exercise ball. Hold the position for at least 30 seconds, repeat 5 times. For the side plank, lay on your side and place your forearm underneath your shoulder to support your body. Straighten the rest of your body, stack your feet, and stabilize your core. Hold for at least 30 seconds and then switch to the other side. You can add leg lifts if you feel comfortable.

 

  • Plank Vinyasa

 

This exercise is a yoga pose which puts an interesting twist on the typical plank. Get into the normal plank position, lowering onto your forearms if necessary. Once your body is straight, inhale, then exhale as you pull a leg into your chest area while contracting your abdominal muscles. Return to typical plank position and then switch legs. Alternate for 10 to 20 reps, whatever you feel most comfortable doing.

 

  • Alternating Twist

To do this exercise, lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor. Interlace your fingers behind your head, but make sure not to strain your neck. Inhale, and as you exhale contract your abs and lift your head off of the floor. Move your right elbow toward your left knee as you pull your knee toward you. Hold for a couple of breaths, then return to your starting position. Do the same on the opposite side and continue alternating knees until you reach a rep of 10.

Postpartum Workouts for You & Your Baby

A great way for mothers and their babies to bond is through light workouts. Before you begin, make sure both you and your baby will be comfortable and safe with your selected workout.
A great way for mothers and their babies to bond is through light workouts. Before you begin, make sure both you and your baby will be comfortable and safe with your selected workout.

If you’re a recent mother, it’s no secret to you that time can be a bit tight. Between changing diapers, cooking, cleaning and working, it’s hard to even imagine there being time for exercise much less actually putting aside the time to do it. If only there were ways to overlap some of duties that didn’t involve cooking while changing diapers or breastfeeding at the gym. Fortunately, there is a solution: you can work out while bonding with your baby. There are some safe and effective workouts that you can do with your baby that will not only help you strengthen your muscles, they’ll help you strengthen your bond with your child. Take a look at some of the workouts you can do while keeping in mind your baby’s limitations as well as your own.

  • Wall Sits: Stand with your back against the wall with your heels about a foot from the wall, holding your baby’s face out wit his back and head against your stomach and chest for support. Bend your knees as if you were sitting – without extending your knees past your toes – and hold for 10 seconds before slowly standing back up. Try to work up to ten reps.
  • Chest Press: Lying on your back with your feet on the ground, hold your baby against your chest and slowly raise your arms to lift your baby in the air above you. Hold for ten seconds, then slowly bring your baby back down. Try to repeat this 10 times.
  • Planks: This move will work out your entire body, targeting the triceps, upper back, core abdominals, and buttocks. Start out on your hands and knees with your baby on his back under you. Lower your forearms until they’re flat on the floor with your shoulders directly above them. Then slide your knees back about a foot while keeping your back level and your abs tight. Hold for 30 seconds, eventually working up to 2 minutes. Bonus: sing your baby’s favorite nursery rhyme while you hold the pose.
  • Lunges: Stand straight up while holding your baby to your chest. Take a big step forward with your left leg and bend until both knees are at a 90 degree angle. Make sure you don’t extend the front knee beyond your toes. Push off with your back leg and bring your feet together, then repeat with your right leg.
  • Roll-Back Crunches: Sit with your knees bent and your feet under a piece of heavy furniture for support. Have your baby sitting on your lap with his back and head supported by your thighs. Make sure to hold him securely before rocking back a few inches until you can feel your abs tighten. Hold this pose for 10 seconds, slowly bring yourself up into the starting position, and repeat 10 times.
  • Taking the stairs is a great means of exercise. Try holding your baby in front of you and walking up and down the steps for 10 minutes.
    Taking the stairs is a great means of exercise. Try holding your baby in front of you and walking up and down the steps for 10 minutes.

    Stairs: If you live in a residence that has a staircase, try taking the steps with your baby. Hold him in front of you and walk up and down the stairs for 10 minutes. You’ll really be able to feel the burn from this one.

  • Dance: This workout is great if you’re feeling tired or stressed. Hold your baby close to you – use a carrier as needed – and put on some music that you love and start dancing, all while keeping your abs tight. Be careful not to bounce or turn too quickly while holding your baby. You can also put your baby in a bouncy seat or swing and dance around him using big movements and maintaining eye contact.

If your baby is still too young to participate in any of these mommy-and-me exercises but you want to break a sweat, try bringing your baby with you on a walk or a hike. Put your baby in his stroller and take him out for a walk. When your baby reaches 6 months, you can also put him in a jogging stroller and take him for a light run. If you’re hiking, bring your baby in a front carrier, making sure he’s well supported. You can also use a sling or a backpack if your baby can support himself, but make sure whatever your choose doesn’t strain your neck, shoulders, or back.