by: Tara Puckey
Everyone knows that the holidays bring plenty of“exercise” at the table, but it’s so important to take sometime to give yourself the gift of exercise in the midst of the holiday hustle. You don’t have to hit the gym or run to the treadmill instead of spending time with family — even a quick workout will benefit you in the long run.
According to the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, short bouts of exercise helps to lower blood pressure and can shave inches off the hips and waistline. So don’t waste time. Try some of these quick workouts to make sure you’re healthy to enjoy many more holidays to come. The best part? They’re just right for the whole family, so get everyone involved!
No matter the method, making time to get active this season is something you can share with the family, just like those delicious meals around the table.
Fill a gift box or a jar (Bonus: spend some family time decorating it!) with small pieces of paper, each with a different activity that gets your heart pumping. Each day, select one and make it happen, no matter the hectic holiday schedule. The whole family will look forward to the surprise each day and you’ll be ready to start a new year with fresh, healthy habits. Need some inspiration? Check out these ideas:
Sledding — Hit the slopes together and race back to the top of the hill after each run.
Jumping Jacks — Sing your favorite holiday song while you jump.
Rudolph Push Ups — Using washable paint, give everyone a drop of red paint on their nose and do push ups over a blank white piece of paper. Bonus: color Rudolph when you’re done!
Walk and Talk — Working on that gift list? Take a family walk and chat about all the things you’re wishing for this season.
Wall Sits — Find a blank space on the wall and scoot down a bit to a sitting position, using your legs to hold you up. Sing, talk, or if you’re feeling advanced, write out holiday cards while you “sit.”
Give That Gift
Find a box (probably best without a breakable gift) and fill it with a bit of weight (try a blanket or a few books) — a little goes a long way. Rotate each of the exercises, repeating them for two minutes and then moving on to the next. Stop after eight minutes or go for the double at 16.
Standing with your legs shoulder-width apart, hold the box with two hands on your right side. Raise it directly above your head with straight arms and then down to your left side, moving up and side-to-side using your arms instead of waist or legs. Squeeze your abdominal muscles while you work. You’ll be surprised how hard it can be after two minutes!
Laying on your back with bent knees, hold the box straight out from your chest with two straight, outstretched arms. Keeping your arms straight and the box in front of you, lift your shoulders, head and neck up off the ground, performing a crunch with the box. Keep going — you can do it!
Put the box on the ground and stand directly behind it. Place one foot over the box and stretch into a lunge position, placing your arms directly above your head, pressed tightly against your ears. Hold briefly and step back behind the box. Switch legs and continue lunging for two minutes.
Keeping the box on the floor, put one foot on either side of the box. Begin by bringing your right knee up to your chest and placing it back alongside the box. Repeat with your left leg, alternating and increasing speed as you feel comfortable. High knees, high knees!
– Tara Puckey is a military spouse and freelance writer who lives in Indiana