With the new year just around the corner, it can be difficult to find time to hit the gym to burn off those holiday cookies. So why not skip the gym and work out at home?
Below are six at-home exercises and tips that can make staying healthy a little bit easier — even if you can’t go outside this week. As always, consult with a doctor before starting any exercise routine.
"Performing any one of these activities is great exercise if the intensity is high enough," said Rusty Gregory, author of Living Wheat-Free for Dummies and a personal trainer in Austin, TX, in an interview with dailyRx News. "A combination of these activities can prevent boredom from setting in, which often leads to quitting your exercise program altogether."
Consistency is key, Gregory said.
"Ultimately, the best exercise program will be the one you stick with long term," he said. "These programs are ones that the participant enjoys and can see the benefits. So, find activities you enjoy and do them regularly."
Look for Web Workouts
High-intensity workouts can boost fitness levels, as well as blood pressure and insulin sensitivity. There are plenty of workouts to choose on YouTube and on fitness magazines’ websites.
One option comes from The New York Times: a seven-minute, high-intensity workout that can be done in your living room. The workout starts with reverse lunges and lateral pillar bridges, moves into dumbbell exercises and continues on in 30-second increments to give you a thorough workout. About half of the exercises require dumbbells.
Yoga or Bust
Yoga can easily become part of your daily exercise routine — and you never have to leave the house. Studies suggest yoga could be as effective at reducing heart disease as aerobic exercise like biking.
To get the most out of your workout, pick a yoga video you like. YouTube is a treasure trove of yoga videos. One website, DoYogaWithMe.com, offers free online yoga tutorials for various skill levels and effects. The site has yoga routines that vary from energizing to relaxing.
If you have time to run, intervals can be more efficient than a casual jog. Run or sprint for three minutes, jog for three minutes and repeat. Runner’s World magazine recommends doing intervals in three- to five-minute spurts for the best results.
Do a Little Dance
Dancing can combine cardio with the fun of shaking off your troubles. One at-home choice is Zumba. Zumba is an exercise dance routine that combines popular music and dance moves for all skill levels.
Often, Zumba classes are offered at your local gym, but you can also buy Zumba DVDs online. The 30-minute workouts have options for everyone — from dance superstars to people with two left feet. Zumba is best done with a group, so invite your friends over for some holiday dancing.
Be a Good Sport
Go play a sport with the kids. If your family has young children, arrange a game of kickball or tag. If the children are older, go out to a batting cage.
Even a walk around the block to see holiday lights will get everyone moving and away from the holiday leftovers.
Do Your Chores
It may seem simple, but cleaning the house can get you on your feet and working up a sweat.
If you have multiple stories, plan to alternate which rooms you tackle. Start with one room on the first floor, then clean one on the second floor and then switch back to the first floor. Not only will you be moving around while you clean, but you’ll be up and down the stairs, which can be a good cardio workout.