Get Your Move On! 5 Fast & Easy Ways to Stay Fit This Winter
’Tis the season when many of us take a deep breath, square our shoulders, and commit to eating better, stressing less, sleeping more, maybe even finally joining that gym…. And then life (and work, doctor’s appointments, soccer/music/ballet/art class, the flu, laundry) happens. We feel you.
But before you throw in the towel, have a go at our super simple ways to move more.* Only have two minutes to spare? We’ve got you covered! Actually have a whole half hour to yourself?! We have a cold-weather-friendly plan for that, too. No gym membership required—and because exercise tends to help you eat better, stress less, and sleep more, you may even get the rest of your resolutions knocked off the to-do list, too!
Let that pile of laundry wait and get moving—because you’re so worth it!
Got 2 minutes? Stand up. Really.
Research has found that even if you’re a generally active person, sitting for too long (like at your office desk) can have negative consequences for your overall health: increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat, higher cholesterol levels, and more. Just standing up every 20 minutes or so, even for a couple minutes, can make a big, positive difference. Just do it: Don’t think you’ll remember to stand every 20 minutes? Download this nifty work-break-timer app to give you reminders!
Got 5 minutes? Salute the sun.
Here’s a fabulously refreshing way to energize your body and both stretch and strengthen all your major muscle groups: five-minute yoga! We recommend the Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar), a series of yoga poses that are meant to be performed in a continuous, flowing sequence. Just do it: When it comes to instructions for a multi-step yoga move like the Sun Salutation, a picture (or video) can be more useful than a thousand words—check out the Yoga Journal website for multiple versions of both.
Got 10 minutes? Take the stairs.
Walking up stairs is a great way to get your heartbeat pumpin’ fast, no workout gear required. It also burns calories, strengthens glutes and leg muscles, and releases a nice dose of endorphins, which are the natural chemicals your body produces that trigger feelings of positivity, happiness, and well-being—something we could all use in the middle of a busy working-parent day! Just do it: Is your office on the sixth (or twelfth!) floor? Walk down the stairwell and then hoof it right back up! Wear sturdy footwear (no stilettos), start with only a few flights, take it slow, and stop for breathers as needed. If you’re home with only a single flight of stairs, just walk up and down until you feel that good burn.
Got 15 minutes? Dance party!
Drop it like it’s hot and you’ll improve balance and flexibility, strengthen your bones, lose some extra calories, and—no surprise here—put yourself in a great mood. Just do it: It pretty much can’t get easier: Turn on your favorite tunes and let the music move you. Dance solo or boogie down with the kiddos. (We’ve even danced our way through household chores like folding laundry or cleaning up the toys in the basement.)
Got 30 whole minutes? You win! Take a YouTube cruise.
What we really mean is, do a YouTube search for 30 minute workout videos. Experts agree that 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day is the magic amount needed to see significant improvements in health. (Note: you can also break that block of time into smaller increments that total 30 minutes!) Just do it: From peppy Zumba dance routines and invigorating cardio boxing to Jillian Michaels’s hardcore 30 day shred and classic Jane Fonda aerobics, there are exercise routines on YouTube for everyone who wants to sweat. Want something a little more focused on stretching and strengthening? Try yoga or Pilates. The best part? YouTube videos are free—and you can try something new whenever you like!
*Be sure to chat with your doctor before starting any new exercise program.