As if finding the time and energy to stay in shape isn’t hard enough, winter arrives, and Mother Nature makes it even tougher. Well, cold weather is no excuse to skip your regular workout. Try these five indoor home exercises. There is no equipment required, and you can do it all in a few square feet.
Don’t worry--no pirate ships involved. Here’s the drill: lie face down with your forearms on the floor. Keep your elbows directly beneath your shoulders, and place your feet together with your legs straight out behind you. Tighten your core (the muscle system that stabilizes the spine and pelvis) by keeping your legs, back and head in straight alignment. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds...or more. The longer the better!
2. Jumping squats
Stand up tall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Put your hands behind your head keeping your shoulders back and head up. Sit back on your heels, and bend your knees slowly to a sitting position. Pop back up to a standing position with a vigor, jumping off the ground just a few inches at the end. Try 3 sets of 10 repetitions with a 1 minute break between sets.
The old classic. Lying face down on the floor, place your hands slightly more than shoulder-width apart. With your legs parallel behind you and your toes on the floor, tighten the core and lift your body up. It’s important to keep your back and head aligned. Use your arms for support and descend to just above an inch from the floor, and then push yourself back up. Pushup ability will range widely. Do your first set until exhaustion (“I just can’t do anymore!”). Give yourself a one minute break, then do one more set; aim for about the same number of repetitions as the first set. You can modify the exercise by spreading your hands further apart (to focus on chest muscles) or closer together (to focus on arm muscles).
4. Front lunge
This is a killer exercise for a killer derriere. Stand with your feet slightly apart keeping your shoulders back and spine straight. Then, step forward with your right foot about two feet; your knee should not quite go over your toe. Bend both knees to a 90-degree angle, then push off the heel of your right foot to go back to the starting position. Repeat the same motion with your left foot. Try 2 sets of 10 reps on each leg with a 1 minute break between sets. If you have lightweight dumbbells, you can intensify this exercise by holding the weights in each hand while you lunge.
5. Inch Worm
Inch worms aren’t much of a power animal, but their eponymous exercise is powerful. Stand tall with your legs straight, and bend over and touch the floor. Then start inch worming! Keep your legs straight, and walk your hands forward--inch by inch. Remember to keep your core tight. Then, take tiny steps to walk your feet back to your hands. And don't let your hips sag. Stand up straight to your starting position, and that's one repetition. Try doing ten repetitions in a row.
This whole routine shouldn’t take more than about half an hour. Stay fit, healthy and happy this winter!