10 Simple and Fun Ways to Stay Physically Strong During the Holiday Season

How can I incorporate strength training into my everyday life?

Let’s face it. Finding time to get to an exercise class or the gym during the holidays can be even more challenging than it is every other day of the week. Here are some terrific ways to keep up our fitness goals or initiate new ones all while playing with our children or doing tasks around the house. Give them a try and give us your feedback!

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10 Simple and fun ways to stay physically strong during the holiday season:

1. Instead of walking down the hall or across a room, get into a crab walk position. To do this, sit on the ground with your hands just under your shoulders and your knees bent. Then, lift up your bottom off of the ground and walk across the room on hands and feet with your nose and belly button pointing up toward the ceiling.

2. While carrying an empty laundry basket, try carrying it a few inches away from your body. This will force you to use your core. Increase the challenge by doing this with a partially filled basket.

3. Try reading to your child on the floor, instead of in a chair or bed. While on the floor, try to read for one minute in a plank position.

4. Do 10 squats while you are waiting for your shower water to heat up. Slowly bend your knees keeping your bottom behind you and most of the weight in your heels. While squatting, count out loud, and when you resume standing, inhale, filling your lungs with air.

5. When walking down the stairs, stop before the bottom step. Then, do a single limb mini-squat, but slowly bending the knee on the step you are standing on, while reaching the opposite foot/heel to the floor below. Just when your heel hits the ground, straighten back up. Then, switch legs. Do this 10 times on each leg before leaving the steps.

6. While you watch your children set the table, strengthen your calves by rising up and down on and off of tip toes until fatigued. Once you master this, try balancing on one foot (with a finger on a nearby counter or wall for support), and do toe rises on one limb.

7. Do 10 counter or wall push ups while you are waiting for a pot of water to boil (you may have time for 3 sets of 10). While lowering yourself and bending your elbows, count out loud. When pushing back up to your starting position, inhale.

8. Before opening a can of beans or sauce, hold one can in each hand and do 10 biceps curls.

9. If you have an electric toothbrush with a two minute timer, see if you can stand on one foot for the first minute and the other foot for the second minute. Keep one finger/hand on, or near, a counter for safety.

10. When standing in a line at a store, stand with one foot directly in front of the other so that the toes of the back foot touch the heel of the front foot. Stay like this for up to one minute and then switch legs and repeat with the opposite leg in front.

–Miriam Cohen, PT, DPT, PCS

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