by Jessica Costello
Question: What's the best form of exercise?
Answer: The one you'll actually do!
As long as your fitness program:
A. Raises your heart rate
B. Has a strength training component
C. And is done at least thirty minutes a day five days a week – you'll experience significant health benefits.
Variety is the spice of life; it keeps you motivated and works better for your body by working different muscle groups. You don't need to go to a gym and use fitness equipment. In fact, here are ten simple, yet effective exercises you can do in the comfort of your own home that can help prevent putting on holiday weight:
1. Take a Hike/Stroll
It's also simple, low-impact and easy on the joints – just put on a comfortable pair of shoes, step outside and walk at a fairly brisk pace around your neighborhood. It's a great way to clear the head and improve your mood – it may be cold, but will give you an opportunity to enjoy all the lights and decorations for the holiday season.
Act like your kids on Christmas morning! Jump up and down, or do some jumping jacks. They're a great way to get the heart pumping and the limbs loosened up. 15-20 repetitions with a minute or two of rest between sets for thirty minutes should be sufficient. This will increase endurance and work on toning your thighs.
3. "Drop and Give Me 20, Soldier!"
Push-ups confer all the same strength-training benefits of bench presses with barbells – without the risk of handling heavy weights and need for a "spotter." You can adjust the intensity by elevating your feet. Push-ups do more than work your arms, they are a total body workout.
4. Lift That Leg
This provides a strength training workout for the thighs and adductors (muscles that attach the upper leg to the hip). If you can't manage leg lifts with a straight leg, bend the knee.
5. Washboard Abs?
You may not get "ripped" by doing crunches, but you'll definitely work your ab muscles – and this will award real benefits to your back as well, and you will see an improvement in toning your abs.
6. You Can Keep Running In Place...
...and you should. This is an exercise you can do while watching TV, making the "boob tube" actually good for something. You can also do it while stringing popcorn on the string for the tree.
7. The Squatters...
No, we don't mean settling land that isn't yours – it's what you do every time you sit in and get up from a chair. Just do it several times until you "feel the burn...", and
8. Household Weight Equipment
Cans of food, milk and water jugs, sacks of flour – you'd be amazed at how much weight training equipment is just sitting in your pantry or refrigerator. (Who knew your could actually lose weight with using your holiday baking ingredients?)
9. Roll Up The Carpet
The latest craze is dancing off the weight, but not all of us can get to the classes when they are offered and the videos cost more than Christmas. Instead roll up the carpet, and crack up the tunes, whether it's Mariah Carey's "All I want for Christmas" or whatever is on the radio, dancing will increase your aerobic hear rate, and help with endurance training.
10. Steppin' Up
Finally, you don't have to buy a bench step and sign up for a step class to do step. Chances are you've got a step or two around your home. So while those cookies are in the oven, run the stairs a few times. The timers will make great intervals and keep you fit while baking!
The fact of the matter is, that all of these are not difficult, and do not require patience, or a long drawn out explanation. They are simple and they WORK. So maybe you aren't getting fit on treadmills, or ellipticals, but the end result is the same and you will have a lot of extra cash to go and spend it on holiday gifts, or a treat for yourself!