10 Simple Exercises to Help You Shed Those Holiday Pounds
The holiday season is a time filled with love, gratitude and……food! Every holiday seems to have its own required menu, and many family traditions center around certain dishes and recipes. By the time the new year rolls in, you may find yourself with some new rolls of your own.
If a sudden weight gain over the holidays leaves you feeling bloated and uncomfortable, there are some simple exercises and activities you can do to start feeling better. Keeping your whole-body health in mind is important when deciding how to lose weight. We do not advocate crash dieting for weight loss but rather a gradual adjustment to your habits.
Incorporate simple exercises and activities that will keep you healthy and help you meet your goals at the same time. Any new exercise plan should begin slowly to avoid the risk of injury or burnout. The more fun and flexible your routine, the more likely you are to keep it up.
We have compiled a list of the best simple exercises to help you lose that pesky holiday weight:
Sometimes you just can’t talk yourself into a trip to the gym. On those days, you can do the following moves at home without any equipment. You can link them all together for a complete plan, or just add them into your day as you are able. When you get more comfortable with each of them you can even add variations for extra difficulty.
Squats are a foundational exercise in the fitness world. They are a full-body exercise that you can do practically anywhere. To properly do a squat:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Extend your arms in front of you.
- Push your hips backward.
- Slowly bend your knees down into a sitting position (use a chair or box to help with form).
- Keep your back straight and your chest high.
- Go as low as you can without sacrificing proper form.
- Stand back up with force, keeping your weight in your heels.
Another exercise that is easy to do anywhere (such as while watching tv or putting away laundry), is lunging. As with squats, make sure you are keeping the right form to avoid injury. To do a proper lunge:
- Stand with your shoulders back and your torso straight. Keep your eyes straight ahead.
- Step forward with your right leg and bend at the knee to lower your hips to a 90-degree angle.
- Keep your right knee over your right ankle, and keep your left knee floating above the ground.
- Rise back up into a standing position, bringing your right foot back to starting position.
- Repeat on left side.
You can also use lunges in a forward motion, bringing the back foot forward to meet the front instead of the other way around.
Burpees are much higher-intensity than squats and lunges. They may not be your favorite exercise, but they will get you results! Good form is again incredibly important with this exercise. To do a correct burpee:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Bend your knees, fold forward and place your hands on the floor in front of your feet.
- One at a time, move your legs back into a plank position.
- Hold this position momentarily and then jump back to your forward fold position.
- Stand up. Repeat.
Climbers (also known as Mountain Climbers) work your core as well as your upper body. This exercise requires some focus and balance. To start:
- Position yourself in a plank pose. Keep your weight on your toes.
- Move your right knee forward until it is under your chest. Keep your knee and foot off the ground.
- Return to plank position.
- Repeat on the left side.
- Repeat each side, increasing your pace as much as you are able.
You’re probably already familiar with crunches; they are the go-to exercise for getting rid of belly fat and building core strength. Crunches are fairly simple to do and can be done easily while watching tv as a distraction. To do crunches:
- Lay flat on your back and bend your knees.
- Place your hands under your head and lift your chest toward your knee, using your abdominal muscles.
- It may help to have someone holding your feet down if they keep rising.
- Repeat until you can’t anymore!
For times you feel like mixing things up and having a little fun, there are other ways to get your daily exercise. The activities listed below can be done alone or with friends, inside and outside.
Walking is as basic as it gets. If you don’t any issues with accessibility, you should be able to incorporate more walking into your daily routine and see a BIG difference in your health and fitness. If you want to progress into running eventually, great! If not, walking is still full of benefits.
Try taking a 30-60 minute walk first thing in the morning. It will help you wake up and set you on the right path for the day. Try parking further away from your office or the grocery store. Commit to walking anywhere under a mile away.
7. Jumping Rope
If you have kids, you may already be doing this! It isn’t an activity many adults engage in these days, but jumping rope is both fun and extremely active. It’s a great family activity or one you could do at the park on a nice day.
Dancing is a great way to burn calories. It’s a great option when you want to add some cardio to your workouts but can’t bring yourself to go running. You can dance on your own terms, or you can find a dance-fitness class in your city. Either way, as long as you keep moving and keep your heart rate elevated, you’re making progress.
Some of the exercises we’ve listed can be hard on your joints. If this is true for you, swimming is probably a great option. It doesn’t aggravate sore or weakened joints and can be done at as slow a pace as needed. Simply walking through a pool adds a bit of resistance to a basic cardio activity.
Biking is another low-impact activity that may be easier on your joints. You can bike outside with friends and family, or you can opt for an indoor cycling class at your local gym. It’s a great activity to do while traveling as well; you can see the sights while exercising at the same time!
If you are struggling to get started, begin with something easy. Walk your dog around the block or do 5 crunches while watching TV. As your confidence and willingness increase, you’ll be able to add more and more elements to your routine.
Indulging during the holiday season is practically a national tradition. But when the holiday is over, get yourself back in shape with these simple exercises.