I‘m a power-walker so there are lots—and I mean lots—of reasons why my motivation to work out flags in winter: early sunsets, icy sidewalks and sub-freezing wind chills. But the cold is no excuse for not keeping fit. As the temps cool down, take your workouts indoors. Turns out there are plenty of activities you can do at home to get an efficient and challenging workout. And they don’t require a hefty investment in special equipment.
“I think people need to get back to the traditional exercises we used to do to ground themselves and get back into real life,” says Brian McGee, exercise physiologist and program manager for exercise services at Christiana Care Health System. “You don’t need equipment to do these exercises. And you already have shoes and socks.”
Here are some activities that will help ward off winter weight:
Stretching is an excellent winter warm-up that will prepare and motivate you to get up and get going.
Cleaning can be very physical, especially vacuuming, scrubbing and moving furniture. Check out the numbers on www.calorielab.com. So if you’re stuck indoors, clean your house. You’ll kill two birds with one stone.
3. Jumping rope
It isn’t just for kids anymore. Jumping rope delivers an intense cardio workout that blasts calories. In fact, you’d have to run an eight-minute mile to burn off more calories than you’d burn jumping rope, according to WebMD. Another benefit? Jump ropes sell for less than 20 bucks.
4. Jumping jacks
Like jumping rope, this is another elementary-school throwback that offers a great cardio workout. Try squeezing in a few during the commercial breaks of your favorite TV show.
5. Stair Stepping
Although not as intense as jumping rope or jumping jacks, stair stepping activates enough muscles—including glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves—to provide a strenuous cardio workout. Don’t have stairs at home? Fetch the biggest and sturdiest book you have and start stepping.
6. Water-bottle/Milk-jug weights
Need to do some arm, shoulder and back strength training? Make your own weights by filling water bottles. If you need a bigger challenge, try using milk jugs. Tailor the exercise to your level by adding the exact weight you need. Increase the amount a bit each time you work out.
Bored with routine workouts? Dancing to your favorite tunes is an excellent—and fun—way to burn calories and get your heart pumping—even if you have two left feet.
8. Walking inside
If the idea of traipsing around in sub-zero weather doesn’t appeal to you, try power-walking at home. Just lay out a circuit around furniture and walk for the same amount of time as you would outdoors.
9. High knees
If you’ve tried running in place but are not satisfied with the results, McGee suggests “high knees” as an alternative. To do this exercise, march in place or down a hall brining your knees up as high as they can go. This is sure to get your heart pumping.
10. Putting socks on standing up
One of the things we begin to lose as we age is balance. Make a habit of putting your socks on while standing and not holding onto anything. Getting in and out of a chair with one foot off the ground also improves balance. You’ll also be working those all-important core muscles, says McGee.
11. Online workouts
There are tons of workout routines on YouTube. Just search the word “workout” or the specific type of exercise you’d like. Moreover, bringing the “class” into the home is much like joining a gym, says McGee. “You need that little bit of motivation to make sure you’re working out.”