• October 1, 2014

Winter workout: At-home exercises to keep you in shape as temperatures drop

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Posted: Monday, November 25, 2013 4:30 am | Updated: 3:22 pm, Thu Jan 23, 2014.

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — When temperatures drop below freezing, it may be easy to skip the gym and let your workout routine slide. But with simple at-home exercises, you can keep your routine intact without setting foot in the cold.

Jennifer Oakland, a personal trainer at Choice Health and Fitness in Grand Forks, N.D., said you can get an excellent workout with just your body weight. You don’t even need to leave your house, or invest a lot of time.

“If you really focus on what you’re doing, you can have your workout short and sweet,” Oakland said.

Jorid Dagfinrud, another trainer at Choice, added that the minimum recommended amount of exercise is just 30 minutes three to five days a week. Together, Oakland and Dagfinrud shared several simple exercises people can do at home without any equipment.

Combine these exercises with jumping jacks, mountain climbers, jumping rope or other cardio exercises for an interval workout.

But Dagfinrud said make sure you keep a balanced workout.

If you work your core, work your back; and if you work your quadriceps, work your hamstrings.

Here are their recommended at-home exercises:

  • Squats. Muscle targets: quadriceps and gluts.

Begin standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. With your chest up and back straight, squat down, so your legs create a 90-degree angle. Your knees should not go past your feet. Return to standing position and complete 10 to 20 reps, depending on your fitness level.

To get your heart rate up even more, jump up from the squat position, slowly lowering yourself back into a squat.

  • Ham bridges. Muscle targets: hamstrings and glutes.

Lying on your back with your legs bent and feet flat on the floor, tighten your core to support your lower back and lift your hips up so your body creates a straight line from your chest to your knees. Lower your hips, but don’t let them touch the floor. Complete about 15 reps.

  • Push-ups. Muscle targets: arms and chest.

Lying on your stomach, place your hands flat on the floor by your shoulders. Push up, extending your arms. Slowly bend your arms, lowering your body back down without touching the floor. Be sure to keep your core tight and back flat. If you can’t complete the standard push-up, try a modified push-up with your knees bent. Again, be sure your back is straight.

  • Bent-over row. Muscle targets: Biceps and shoulders.

Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent.

Keeping your back flat, bend over so your back is parallel with the floor. Using slow, controlled motions, reach down with your arms as if you were grabbing a barbell. Squeezing your shoulder blades, pull your arms back up.

To create more resistance, lift small weights or milk jugs.

  • Dips. Muscle targets: triceps and shoulders.

Sitting on the edge of a tub, coffee table or step, place your hands by your butt with your fingers forward. Lift your butt off the surface and bend your arms, slowly lowering your body. Extending your arms, raise your body and repeat. The farther your legs are out, the more difficult the exercise.

  • Deadbug. Muscle targets: deep core, hips, hamstrings, shoulders.

Lying on your back, lift your legs and arms reaching to the ceiling and push your lower back to the floor. Slowly lower your left and right arm without letting them touch the floor. Then bring them up and lower your opposite arm and leg. Rotate every other rep.

  • Superman. Muscle targets: lower back, core.

Lying on your stomach, arms flat by your ears. Lift your arms and legs up. Count to five and release; complete 10 to 20 reps. Make sure your stomach remains flat on the floor. Increase hold time if necessary.

Wall sits. Muscle targets: inner thighs.

With your back against the wall, lower yourself into a sitting position with your legs at a 90-degree angle. Squeeze a small ball or pillow between your legs, hold and release. Be sure to keep lower back against the wall.

  • Planks. Muscle targets: core.

Lying on your stomach with your hands by your shoulders, slowly raise your body off the floor, supporting your weight with your forearms and toes.

Rotate your elbows to a 45-degree angle and clasp palms together in the center for more comfort.

Hold for 30 to 60 seconds, depending on strength and fitness level. Be sure to keep your core tight by bringing your belly button to your spine.

KEEP IN MIND

  • Some is better than none. A short workout is better than nothing.
  • Warm-ups are necessary. Run up and down the stairs a few times or do a couple of jumping jacks to get your blood flowing before a workout.
  • Work big muscles first. Concentrate on big muscle groups first to get the most out of your workout.
  • Form is key. Learn the proper form for each exercise to prevent injury.
  • Switch it up. Your body adapts to a workout after a couple of weeks, so be sure to change your workouts or add reps and resistance.
  • Balance is important. If you work your hamstrings, be sure to work your quadriceps.

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