Raise your hand if you love the holiday season as much as me! Now, raise the other hand and jump up and then down to the ground in a burpee – yay, now we’re exercising! Between parties, shopping, baking and volunteering, I sometimes find my self fa-la-la-ing too much and forgetting about my normally-scheduled sweat sessions. Well, I never really “forget” to run or workout, rather I just just can’t figure out how to fit a fitness session into the whirlwind of winter celebrations. Even sneaking in a quick run can be unpredictable when the weather won’t cooperate, traveling is on the agenda, or you’re hosting overnight holiday company.
But, I’ve found that just doing ANYTHING is SOMETHING – fit in a holiday fitness hack wherever you can! As a firm believer that “all the little things” add up, I’ve made a list (and checked it twice) of exercises you can sneak in when life gets busy. Don’t worry about getting side-glances doing some of the crazy-sounding moves in public — soon you’ll be get getting ALL the attention with your super fit New Year’s body. By the way, I originally came up with these 40 Holiday Fitness Hacks for Core Power High Protein Shakes — an excellent way to power up with 20 – 26g of protein and keep your belly from shaking like jelly!
- Wrapping Paper Roll High Knee: Lay out a series wrapping paper rolls on the ground about 2 feet apart. Quickly move laterally, pulling knees up to waist while moving between rolls with each step.
- Rake Yard: Work up a sweat rounding up all those fallen fall leaves – offer to do the neighbor’s yard, too!
- Shovel Snow: No leaves left, but have snow? Clear a path for company with this heart-pumping chore!
- Front Box Carry: Take that heavy box of holiday decorations and hold it at your chest. Walk down the longest hall in your house and back.
- Ladder Side Plank Dips: After putting up holiday lights, use lower rungs of ladder for a challenging side plank. Rest feet on a rung that is even with your hips and dip down and back up to a side plank.
- Kitchen Squat Jumps: Take a break from slicing and dicing with a few sets of squat jumps. Put your knife down, lower into a squat and jump upward explosively; repeat.
- Bar Stool Pistols: Stand side-by-side to bar stool and lower down into a pistol using bar stool for balance; repeat on opposite leg.
- Yoga Tree Pose: Stop and admire your holiday tree with a classic yoga pose that will challenge and improve your balance. Stand with feet together; bend one leg up at the knee, resting foot anywhere between knee and crotch. Extend arms upward or to sides for balance. Hold until failure and repeat on opposite side.
- Ab Rolling Pin Roll Outs: While on knees, use rolling pin to extend forward while keeping core engaged; roll back up and repeat. This is proof abs ARE made in the kitchen!
- Commercial Break Cardio: When watching holiday classics with the kids, get everyone moving with jumping jacks, burpees, mountain climbers or other heart-pumping exercises until the show comes back on. No fast-forwarding with the DVR!
In a hotel:
- Ice Bucket Goblet Squats: Fill ice bucket up to give more weight and hold at chest while dropping down into squats; repeat.
- Towel Hop: Lay out a series of hand towels 5 or 6 feet apart in a line and use them as your target for standing long jumps.
- Bed Decline Push-ups: Put feet up on bed and lower down into push-ups; repeat.’
- Wall Sit: Find an uncluttered wall and slide back down wall until thighs parallel with ground and knees bent at 90 degree angle. Hold as long as you can.
- Burpees: Knock out as many traditional burpees as you can before hotel room guests below start complaining.
- Water Bottle Tricep Extension: Grab that one-liter water bottle by the mini bar and get after one-arm tricep extensions. Hold bottle overhead and bending backward at the elbow. A liter only weighs about 2.25 lbs. so ramp up your reps.
- Bed Bridge: In a room with two beds, see how long you can hold a plank with feet on one bed, arms on the other.
- Hallway Handstands: Practice handstands in the small hallway inside the hotel room. Kick up to a handstand and balance against the door, or place a folded towel on the ground for headstand modification.
- Luggage Sumo High Pull: Grab a duffel or small carry-on at the handle with both hands and pull to chin moving elbows upward; lower and repeat.
- Polar Bear Swim: Head to the hotel pool and knock out a few laps! If not heated, you’ll be motivated to swim fast!
At the mall:
- Mall Walk: Not just for seniors, you can rack up extra daily steps by taking a couple bonus laps around the stores.
- Stair Climb: Always choose the stairs over the escalator or elevator – it’s less crowded too!
- Fitting Room Stretch: Loosen up before sliding into those new skinny jeans with toe touches, windmills and arms-behind-back stretching.
- Food Court Booty Squeezes: No one will be the wiser if you are flexing and relaxing your glutes repeatedly with this isometric exercise.
- Park in the Boonies: Leave your car in the furthest away spot from the mall entrance.
- Shopping Sherpa: Volunteer to carry the entire family’s load of purchases. Distribute weight in bags evenly between both arms for a farmer’s carry type workout.
- Bench Hops: Find and empty, backless bench and grab sides firmly with both hands. Starting with feet together on one side, jump legs and torso to clear bench and land on the opposing side, with hands staying in place; repeat to other side.
- Santa Line Lunges: While waiting in the long line to see St. Nick, take every step forward with a lunge. Repeat as the line permits.
- Ice Skate: Most malls put up rinks during the holiday season, take advantage of the fun and burn around 362 calories per hour.
- Grand Total Jumping Jacks: When back in the parking lot, tally up your receipts and bust out the same number of jumping jacks. For example, $250 spent means 250 jumping jacks – you’ll warm up as a bonus!
At the market:
- Top Shelf Calf Raises: Extend up onto your tip-toes for 10 to 20 reps as if reaching to grab a can from the top shelf.
- Lower Shelf Squats: Rather than bending over to get an item squat and hold for 15 seconds; repeat.
- Cart Rows: Hold handle bar of shopping cart with both arms extended and legs shoulder. Pull cart toward you and then push away, without letting go of handle. Fill cart with big bags of dog food for an extra challenge!
- Milk Jug Side Bends: With legs shoulder-width apart, hold milk jug by handle, hanging arm downward at side. Bend torso at side; return upright and repeat on opposing side.
- Freezer Aisle Agility: Park cart at one end and run high knees to last freezer door. Stop, do a tuck jump, get anything you need from the freezer and side skip back to cart.
- Shopper Wood Choppers: Grab heavier items for your holiday recipes (like 5lb. bag of sugar) and set on ground near feet. Pick up with both hands and rotate upward with arms overhead; repeat 10 to 20 times before putting in your cart.
- Line-Wait Leg Circles: While waiting in line to check out, lift one leg about 8-inches off ground. Keep leg straight, point toe and rotate around in small, imaginary circles.
- Chest Opener Stretch: Also good while waiting in line, stand with back straight and shoulders pulled back. Reach behind and clasp both hands together while bringing hands up towards head as far as possible. Hold for 15 seconds.
- Bag It Bicep Curls: Bag your groceries and then hold by handles and knock out a few bicep curls on each side.
- Homeward-Bound Quad Pulses: While driving home in car, pulse your quads alternating left and right for the duration of each stop light.
I woke up early this weekend to run in the Jingle Bell Dash 5k with a friend. Done by 9 am and still out and about, I was able to tackle last minute holiday shopping!
How are you sneaking in fitness this holiday season? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer