Thursday 22 February 2018

Turn your home into a festive gym

Last week, we revealed the foods that will keep your metabolism ticking over at Christmas. Now personal trainer Stephen Ward shares his exercise tips for staying active over the lazy festive period

HOME EXERCISE: You can stay in shape from the comfort of your home

It's that time of year again where we all want to go into hibernation. The mornings are dark and the evenings are darker, and if you add in the freezing temperatures, it's no wonder we all want to just eat, drink and sleep.

However some of the drawbacks of this seasonal retreat indoors are the inevitable "blues" that this period of over-indulgence brings.

Luckily for you, you do not need to brave the cold weather to go to the gym. There are some sure fire ways to ensure your metabolism is firing on all cylinders, you feel great and that the Christmas pudding look is reserved to the dessert.

This is where the "Train Smart" method comes into play. Research has shown that continuous bouts of cardiovascular activity can actually be counter-productive to achieving weight or fat loss results. Therefore we like to advocate the short intense approach that interval training provides.

You can use it in the gym, park and pool or even at home. This type of training also requires little or no equipment. Add some of these little movements into your daily routine over the festive period and you will be fighting fit for January 2013.

Step Intervals

Use the bottom stair in your house.

Step up and down as many times as you can in 60 seconds. 40-60 steps is a good result.

Rest for 2-3 minutes and repeat starting on the opposite leg for an additional 3 sets. That's a total of 4 minutes of exercise. You will certainly work up a sweat and feel energised afterwards.

If you feel it is too easy, try and beat your previous step total and reduce your rest period by 1 minute.

Walking Lunges

This is a great option if you fancy getting outdoors for some fresh air.

Take your dog, children or grandchildren to the local park and give this one a go.

You can do it as a group which is a lot of fun.

As you walk around the park give yourself the challenge of completing 20 walking lunges every 2 minutes (that's 10 on each leg). We call this one the "ninja" exercise as it's easy to do but gets you out of breath when the 20 repetitions are over.

Tabata Squats

This routine is not for the faint hearted.

In this modified version I would advise that you get your phone book out and place it on the floor.

Stand your heels onto the book and squat as deep as you can (preferably until your backside touches your ankles). Complete as many repetitions as you can in 20 seconds and then rest for 10 seconds.

Repeat this 8 times consecutively.

The total time exercising will only be 2 minutes and 40 seconds but will feel like an hour.

A good aim is to get between 12 and 15 squats per 20 second interval. Repeat again if you are feeling particularly tough!

Christmas day swim

If you fancy something different, why don't you join in with all the people around the country that partake in the Christmas Day swim?

A few minutes will be more than enough if you do decide to do so.

The body will burn a lot of calories trying to heat itself back up again after been subjected to the freezing waters.

upper body work

Upper body work: Last but not least we cannot forget the upper body.

Following the same intervals as the tabata squats (20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest x 8).

Alternate between push-ups (on knees if you can't stay up on your toes) and abdominal crunches.

Be sure that your back is flat on the floor for all the crunches and also try and get your chest to the floor for the push ups.

So interval 1, 3, 5 & 7 will be push ups and interval 2, 4, 6 & 8 will be crunches.

You can also add any of the above exercises together to push yourself a little harder.

You can also follow me over the festive period on twitter (@donwardo) where I will be posting daily routines.

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