Now that winter is only a few months away our exercise routines may change depending upon the weather outside and the busy holiday seasons. Plus, the delicious sauces, creams and candies with the holidays’ festivities can add that ‘belly bulge’.
Eating and doing abdominal exercise can help burn calories to a certain degree but bottom line you need cardiovascular exercise to burn those calories, decrease fat and increase your metabolism. The following provides suggestions for working out inside as well as effective exercise you can do outside. Include the following exercises and adaptations in your workouts and keep that belly fat away.
Inside workout options
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For those of us who were able to run or exercise outside during the warmer month we may now be sent inside with the snow and other inclement weather making exercising outside less appealing. These adaptations are great alternatives and gives you variety in your workouts.
If you like, join a Spin Class. Definitely a great workout but you do not have to join a spin class to get a great workout with a stationary bike. Use an upright stationary bike not a recumbent bike with the different exercises below. (The recumbent bike puts you in a less than optimal position for proper activation of the hips and can increase strain of the hips and low back.)
Add hand weights
While cycling, sitting tall, perform Bicep Curls, Arms Raises, Shoulder Press, or Chest Press. Perform 2-3 sets of 10 – 15 reps of each. Not only are you getting an arm workout but will increase your heart rate and calories burned as you are working both the upper and lower body. Always use proper lifting techniques for the arms and always maintain proper trunk posture so as not to bend forward.
While cycling alternate between sitting and standing positions. For example, cycle for 1 minute sitting then 1 minute standing, alternate for set number of repetitions or alternate for amount of time such as 4-6 minutes. Only perform standing if you can maintain balance, and be sure that shoes are appropriate and are able to stay on the foot pedals. While standing do not move side to side. Stay neutral and under control.
Burpees and mountain climbers
Both of these exercises are great for cardiovascular exercise while working the core and legs. Moving from the floor to standing in the Burpees and essentially running on the floor with the Mountain Climbers both these exercises require the entire body to work which increases heart rate and circulation.
These can be performed in sets and reps such as 3 sets of 10 or can be timed for 30 – 60 seconds and can be alternated with other exercises.
Great exercise that can be done just about anywhere and take little space and equipment. As with the other exercises jump roping can be done as an interval by alternating with weight exercises or can be done as a cardiovascular workout on its own such as jumping for 15-20 minutes.
Be sure you gradually progress that amount of time that you jump rope and gradually increase the number of foot contacts based on your exercise level. 10 minutes of jump roping at a steady pace is the equivalent of 1 mile of jogging.
Outside workout options
For those of you who are not deterred by the winter weather here are some great options to add to your workout or add some variety. For those of you that do not like to exercise outside I do recommend at least once a week to get outside for fresh air and try some of these.
Exercising in colder temperatures can actually burn more calories because the body has to burn calories to keep itself warm plus burning calories from exercise. Keep your hat on, literally, to keep the heat inside the body. The extra layers of clothing add more resistance and weight like a weight vest.
Use this as a workout. Keep the snow blower in the garage. Grab a shovel, use proper lifting mechanics by bending knees and keeping back neutral, lift appropriate amount of snow, not the whole pile, using your trunk and toss like a trunk rotation but do not over rotate spine.
Lighter snow is perfect for a workout because you get more repetitions with less weight so you can move quicker without straining. Always use proper lifting mechanics and be sure you do not have any underlying medical conditions that shoveling in not appropriate. Safety first.
Walking/lunging in the snow
Bundle up and take a walk through the snow. Walking through the snow is a great workout for the core hips, legs and balance. The deeper snow requires a high-knee lifts, as in marching, and while providing resistance in lifting and lowering the legs.
Be sure snow is no higher than just below your knee to maintain proper pelvis and low back position. Be sure you you do not have any underlying orthopedic or coronary medical conditions where this may not be appropriate. Safety first.
Snowshoeing or cross country skiing
Of course you can always use the traditional winter sports for a great workout. They are great ways to get fresh air, enjoy the winter views and get a great workout and something you can do with family and friends.
Another great way to be outside in colder temperature but still sheltered is to workout in your garage. Take an exercise mat or small rug outside so you are not on the concrete floor. You can jump rope, run in-place, jumping jacks and even your weight exercises. It is an easy and inexpensive way to burn more calories and add variety to your workouts.
Continuing your workouts and maintaining their effectiveness can be a challenge during the winter months especially if your region has snow and inclement weather. Embrace the winter and incorporate into your workouts for variety. Incorporate the workouts above to work those muscles, burn that belly fat and challenge yourself.