Winter is hard on everyone. The snow, ice, and cold make it difficult to participate in outdoor activities (running, walking, hiking, baseball, golf) that help keep us in shape and happy. Some of us eat more in the colder months, and the combination of sedentariness and getting our grub on can add unwanted pounds.
We can do nothing about winter itself, but fortunately, we can improve our lot mentally and physically by engaging in a regular exercise regime either at the gym or at home. Here are some indoor exercises you can do to stay in shape this winter:
1. Walking Inside
If you’re like me, you refuse to allow inclement weather to imprison you, and you stubbornly bundle up and trudge through the snow in the cold wind. If traipsing around your neighborhood like a polar bear doesn’t appeal to you, however, you can walk inside, either at a mall or in your home. Just fire up your MP3 or stereo, lay out a circuit around couches and tables, and walk for the same amount of time that you would if you were outdoors.
Stretching is an excellent winter warm-up. It will make the other items on your workout list easier to do. Once you’ve stretched, you’ll find yourself looking forward to the other activities.
3. Waist Bends
Bending forward at the waist, to the right, then backward, and finally to the left is a low-impact movement that should be part of your daily routine. You can do this to music, and if you like, you can amp up the difficulty by holding a dumbbell in each hand.
4. Calf Exercises
I call these “toe ups,” and they consist of repeatedly standing on your toes and coming back down on your heels. I advise refraining from doing too many of these the first day. If you’ve never done them, you’ll find that your calves will be quite sore afterward.
5. Knee Bends
Doing knee bends tightens up flabby thighs, but doing the deep variety is probably not advisable. Try grabbing both sides of a doorway with your hands, leaning back, and squatting a bit farther than halfway down. You’ll get the best benefit by doing these until you feel a burning sensation in your thighs.
Traditional situps are hard to do on the floor. The human body is not made to sit up multiple times on a hard surface. If you use a situp board with good padding, you’ll be pleased at how much easier this exercise becomes. If you don’t have room for workout equipment at home, try using a foam pad, a pillow, or towels to reduce the friction burn on your coccyx.
7. Running In Place
I used to run six miles a day, but lately I’ve become disenchanted with such hard-impact activities. I’ve had no joint problems, but I know several avid runners who’ve had knee-replacement operations, and I have no desire to join their ranks. Nevertheless, some running in place in the wintertime provides variety, increases your heart rate, and warms you up for other exercises.
8. Jumping Jacks
This classic exercise is still one of the best in the arsenal of things to do indoors. Doing too many of them is probably counterproductive because of the pounding on your joints, but including them with the other movements on this list is a good idea.
9. Lifting Weights
Weight lifting is excellent for strength building and cardiovascular training, and as an extra benefit, it helps prevent osteoporosis. You can start with lighter weights and work up to more complete weight-lifting workouts.
Crawling on the floor relieves lower-back pain and improves balance. We all need to do this simple activity for thirty seconds or so each day.
11. Getting Down On The Floor
As we age, we begin to lose abilities that we took for granted when we were young. Getting down on the floor and then standing up again several times each day will forestall the loss of that ability. Take every opportunity that comes your way to get on the floor with babies or pets, and enjoy the freedom of knowing that if you fall, you will be able to get up on your own.
12. Putting Your Socks On Standing Up
One of the things we begin to lose as we get older is balance. Make a habit of putting your socks on while standing up and without holding onto anything. This may seem difficult at first, but with a little practice, you can do it as part of your dressing routine.
You don’t have to allow winter to defeat you. Taking time out each day to exercise, just as you would in the summer, will allow you to emerge from the cold months in good physical condition and mentally stronger.
Source: www.slingingthebull.com; 2015.