When it comes to holiday meals and sweets, we don’t want to skip out on all the goodies! We just need to eat it in moderation and keep our workout going. The way we eat also highly affects our mood and how we feel mentally. Instead of settling into a winter rut, follow these steps to keep active throughout the week. Start with a warm up to gain the best results. Try changing up your weekly routine so you’ll become excited about going to the gym, work different muscle groups to produce new results. And, cool down at the end so you can prevent injury and are ready for your next workout!
Remember to give your body a good warm-up before you start. This will allow your muscles to be prepared to train harder and burn more calories. It’s easy to skip this step and jump right in, but your workout will be much more effective if you warm up your body, especially in the cold winter weather. Warm-up options may include: jogging in place for 3 minutes, 25 squats, lunges to each side, and chaturanga dandasana.
Chaturanga Dandasana – This may sound like a foreign language to those who have not tried yoga, but this is a great stretch for your whole body.
- Start in a down-dog position: place hands and feet on the ground with straight arms and legs, bottom raised toward the ceiling. Let your head fall between your arms and press through your shoulders toward the ground.
- Shift your weight forward to high plank with your shoulders right over your wrists. Reach your heels behind you and focus on lengthening your body from head to toe.
- Keeping your elbows close to your sides, lower down into chaturanga: a low push up position.
- Allow your torso to roll up and come to upward facing dog. Then return to down-dog and repeat.
Change it up!
When we continue the same workout routine each week, our body often becomes so used to it, that it fails to produce new results. Surprising our muscles with new workouts allows them to work harder.
Add a new cardio: Try out using the stairclimber, rowing machine or go for a bike ride!
Add new equipment: Try using the kettle bell for upright rows or the stability ball for an abdominal workout.
Add body weight: If you’re always using weights or machines, try doing more push-ups, planks and lunge variations.
Wrap it Up!
Many people quit a workout routine because they’re too sore from the previous one. Don’t let that be you! Stretch the muscles you have worked and allow your body to rest. A little soreness is not a bad thing after an intense workout, but giving your body a cool-down will help prevent injuries and leave you less sore the following day.
In addition to the stretches for the specific muscles you worked that day, here are some essential stretches for the end of each session. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds.
- Chest: Standing upright, interlace fingers behind your back and lift your arms up while looking toward the sky. Now lace the fingers in front of you and round your back, looking down toward your feet.
- Arms: Take one arm straight across the chest, relaxing both shoulders, and allow the other arm to gently pull it across. Switch arms.
- Hamstrings: Lay on your back with both legs straight. Lift and press one leg toward your chest, holding onto the calf or thigh. Switch legs.
- Quadriceps: Standing, lift one foot back and toward the glut so the knee is bent. Switch legs.