When the weather is warm and the days are long, getting outside is easy. As the clouds roll in and temperatures drop, it’s much more difficult to get motivated. Getting out of your warm bed into the cold, dark morning for that run you were going on during the summer isn’t as exciting. Just because it’s dreary outside doesn’t mean you have to decrease your physical activity. Here are a few tips and tricks to stay active indoors.
Invest in a band set
Exercise bands are great tools to stay active when you don’t have access to a gym. Exercise bands are either loops that can be placed around the legs or arms, or single bands with handles to pull on and increase strength. Bands can be used just about anywhere and are lightweight. Unlike some intimidating weight routines, resistance bands are fairly easy to use for beginners and target areas that may be difficult to reach with free weights. If you have closed loop resistance bands, start by placing them around your legs and walking side to side or front to back. You can also place them around your wrists and move your arms outwards. If you have resistance bands with handles, here are a few exercises you can try.
Utilize the stairs
If you have access to stairs, take advantage of them! I’m not just talking about ditching the elevator every now and again. Stair stepping works the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and even strengthens the core. Stair stepping is one of the most effective workouts for burning calories and quickly raises your heart rate. A 160-pound woman can burn about 100 calories by stair climbing for 10 minutes. Stairs aren’t just for climbing; you can also use them to work other muscle groups. Stand on the edge of a stair to perform calf raises or put your feet in front of you and lower your body weight to the ground to work the triceps.
Clean the house
Cleaning the house is a great way to get your steps in. The average American meets about half of the recommended 10,000 steps per day. Chores such as vacuuming, dusting, or shoveling snow are all great ways to stay active even if you aren’t breaking a sweat. Better yet, turn on the music! Some of the best house chores to get your blood moving a little quicker include scrubbing bathtubs, washing windows, and folding laundry.
Build abs on the couch
Sound surprising? It may be your new favorite place to work out! The core begins to strengthen when it is forced to stabilize the body. All you have to do is scoot to the edge of the couch and get moving. Here are a few exercises to engage your core.
Cut back on the snacks
It may not be a workout, but there is truth behind the common phrase, “Abs are made in the kitchen”. The best way to stay healthy is to eat healthy. Focus on a balanced diet with a proper distribution of macronutrients. The Institutes of Medicine recommend that 45-65% of daily caloric intake come from carbohydrates, 10-35% from protein, and 20-35% from fat. Focus on whole foods such as fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
- Manore MM. Exercise and the Institute of Medicine recommendations for nutrition. Curr Sports Med Rep.2005;4(4):193-8.
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