Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Baby It's Cold Outside: Winter Exercising for Weight Loss Success

Brrr...it is about 2 degrees (Farenheit) outside...and frankly, I don't want to go out if I don't have to. So there will be no outdoor activity for me today...but that doesn't mean I want to skip my workout--so what are my options?

First, my definition of a "workout" is very different from your high school P.E. teacher's, Jack Lalanne's, and just about anybody else out there deigned a fitness expert. During the course of losing 125 pounds I realized that the best exercise for losing weight (specifically fat) is one that you will actually do! So rather than believing I have to do a specific type of exercise, or I have to exercise for "X" period of time, I figured out what would work for me--what I will do every day...or at least 6 days a week.

My basic philosophy is that ANY increase in movement is better than none. I call it the One Jumping Jack Theory...where if you commit to doing a single jumping jack and do it, you are better off than the person who commits to doing an hour of exercise and can't fit it in.

This is based on personal experience and on scientific research...but I won't go into all that today. Instead, I'll offer some of the creative ways I get in exercise when it is cold enough I don't want to even go get my mail!

Of course you can do traditional jumping jacks, push-ups and the like...but (1) that isn't very creative and (2) it isn't a lot of fun in my book, but it is an option.

You can also drive to a local mall and walk around inside...but if you don't want to drive on the slick roads that won't be the best fit.

If you own an exercise DVD you can turn that on...my personal favorite is Bounce and Shake from Dr. John Gray--I modify it and do my own version most days. There are also great videos/DVDs on all sorts of exercises from yoga to T'ai Chi to kickboxing...(these links will take you to Amazon)

You can also refer back to the Isometrics exercises that I wrote about a while ago...

But if you don't own a DVD or you want to try something new, here are a few suggestions that you can do TODAY...and they are FREE!

  • Turn on your favorite tunes and dance, dance, dance
  • Use your staircase--the original stair master. Go up and down one step, or an entire flight of stairs. (Don't try to do 15 minutes of this!)
  • Cleaning the house can be a great workout--vacuuming, changing bedlinens, mopping floors, all work. Be sure to stretch, reach, and breathe.
  • Do you decorate for the holidays? You can make that a workout by bending, reaching, rearranging
  • Don't have weights? Don't need 'em...use water bottles or canned goods and do some simple curls and arm raises
  • Strengthen your legs with mini squats using a dining room chair--start to sit down, keeping your chin up, stop before you sit and stand back up.
  • Easy pushups using a counter--being sure you won't slip, place both hands on the counter about should width apart, step away from the counter while you hold onto it so your body is at an incline, slowly lower yourself towards the counter and push yourself back up
  • Putting away laundry...focus on things that go up high or low--stretch for the top shelf, bend and reach for the bottom drawer
  • Use the kitchen counter to tone your leg muscles--holding on to the counter for balance, keep your back straight and raise your legs to the side, to the front and to the back. You may have to turn around to be able to lift your leg in all directions. These should be slow lifts not kicks. Switch and do the same thing with the other leg.
Mix it up and do a combination of some of these...you may choose putting away the laundry and staircase master...cool, don't take all the clothes up at one time, instead take one or two items up (or down) the stairs, put them away and then get more.

This isn't about efficiently completely a "chore"...this is about getting in some extra movement, taking a task you would do anyway and getting some additional physical benefit from it.

Try to get to a pace where it is slightly difficult to talk while you do it...if you are easily singing to the tunes you aren't dancing hard enough!

Once you have done 15 minutes worth at this level, shake it out, and you can go back to being "efficient" if your task isn't completely done!

No comments: