The cold weather season makes it difficult for you to maintain your favorite exercise activities. Outdoor running, walking and hiking may be nearly impossible in the winter months.
Thankfully, there are a few ways you can stay fit and avoid having to give up your regular exercise routine. Shorter days and low temperatures no longer have to keep you from staying fit.
The following are 3 exercises you’ll actually want to do this winter to stay in shape so you can jump right back into spring without missing a beat.
- Bodyweight squats
Squats are one of the best exercises for strengthening the legs, glutes, core and back. They can be done with or without weights, and you can change your repetitions and tempos to vary the intensity of the exercise.
Best of all, you can do squats anytime and anywhere. Simply place your feet about shoulder width apart. Looking straight ahead, lower your hips as if you’re sitting down into a chair. Keep your knees aligned with your toes, tighten the abdominals to support the spine, and move down until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Pause for a second and slowly return to the starting position.
- Push ups
Like squats, push ups are a great way to work different muscles at the same time. When done correctly, push ups strengthen the muscles of the chest, shoulders, arms, core and thighs.
To perform a push up, move into a plank position with your hands on the ground. Keep your body straight and supported by your toes. Your hands should be slightly wider than your shoulders.
Using your arms, lower yourself slowly toward the ground until your upper arms are parallel to the floor. Avoid going too low in order to prevent unwanted stress on the shoulder joints. Pause before pushing yourself up to the starting position. If the exercise is too difficult, support yourself on your knees while still keeping your hips straight.
- Supine hip bridges
Although this exercise may look simple, it can be quite challenging if you don’t know how to do it. It can be performed on the floor – or on a Swiss Ball if you have one available.
To do the exercise on the floor, lie down on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Your feet should be positioned at about the width of your hips.
Slowly raise your hips off of the ground until you form a straight line through the knees, hips, and shoulders. Squeeze the gluteal (butt) muscles to activate them before slowly returning to the starting position.
To perform the exercise on a Swiss Ball, position your head and shoulders on the top of the ball with your feet flat on the ground. Perform the movement the same way you did on the floor. This is slightly less stable, which activates more muscle groups.
These 3 exercises make it easy to stay in shape during winter. They’re easy to do while still allowing you to challenge the muscles.
You can perform more repetitions or slow the movements down to increase their intensity. Performing them correctly ensures that you get the results you want and minimizes the risk of injury.
Your physiotherapist can teach you how to perform these and other exercises at home. You’ll maintain your exercise program and continue to move forward towards your health and fitness goals throughout the winter season.