Workouts are where you find them, or create them. Here are five ways to build your body, making it stronger, more toned and thinner – just in time for the upcoming holidays, where gluttony is glorified.
1. Think exercise often: Grab a set or two of various exercises as part of your daily routine. When you’re out for a walk or shopping, use a bench to do one-legged squats or standing push-ups.
The squats will work your entire lower body. Even though you’re not holding weights, this exercise will build and firm your thighs. It will also build your calf muscles, which will help you ski or snowboard much better this winter.
Standing push-ups work the arms, shoulders, chest and upper back. They’re simple to do and fairly unobtrusive. Place your hands against a wall, and your toes three or four feet back from the wall. Lean your body weight forward until your face is close to the wall, then push yourself back upright. You’ll feel this exercise strongly in your triceps, which helps firm up the back of your arms so they don’t jiggle.
2. Take the stairs: Take them as often as you can. Stair climbing burns 9 calories a minute, more if you push the pace to climb even a little more quickly. If you climb several flights of stairs, or climb the same set of stairs several times, you’ll build muscle while burning calories.
There’s also a calorie “after burn” that continues even when you stop climbing the stairs. That makes it more efficient to break up the minutes, especially if you’re looking to lose body fat. Do three minutes of stairs, three times a day. You’ll burn over a hundred calories, and lose one pound of fat every month.
3. Get a real core workout: Have you ever worked your core muscles hard enough to make them sore the next day? If you’re like most people, the answer will be “no.” However, an extreme workout of these sheetlike muscles can be accomplished by using a large and rowdy dog.
One that weighs about 70 to 100 pounds is perfect – one that will tug and pull on the leash, forcing your core muscles to their limit to control the animal. If your dog is too small or well behaved, ask a friend or neighbor with a more rambunctious canine if you can walk their dog.
Good core workouts are functional. The rotary twist at the gym won’t really do the job. Instead, try this version: lay on your back, lift your legs in the air straight up and twist them to the floor; first on one side, then the other.
4. Walk around the block – while dribbling a basketball: This is a great workout for balance and precision. It’s easy to stand in one place and bounce a basketball. But walking while dribbling the ball is much harder. Keep a rhythm, bouncing the ball in time to music or a beat. Vary your pace.
Dribble while switching hands for each bounce. Be aware of your shoulders; they should match for each hand. The position of your shoulders when one hand is dribbling should be the same on the other side when the other hand dribbles.
5. Walk with Parkour: This form of movement consists of walking along without dodging obstacles. Instead, the practice of Parkour involves going over, along or through barriers without breaking one’s stride. It’s fascinating to watch experts do it.
“Street Parkour” is a modified form of the discipline. Walk on low walls or fences of brick or concrete, stride over piles of stones, walk along concrete parking lot bumpers. With practice, you can leap from one bumper to the next without losing your balance. Using Street Parkour will force you to use muscles that ordinarily don’t get worked during a walk or run. It will also make you more sure-footed and precise.
Wina Sturgeon is the editor of the online magazine adventuresportsweekly.com.