Put exercise on list of things to do
I’m a mother, small-business owner, girlfriend, college instructor, dog owner and frequent traveler. Add holiday parties, shopping, gift wrapping, cooking and sending Christmas cards. And I’m supposed to get plenty of rest, eat proper nutrition and exercise? In the words of my 6-year-old daughter – whatever.
This is exactly the time of year when you need to take care of yourself. The added stress this time of year is your body’s welcome mat for the flu and cold bugs lurking nearby. If you become ill, who in the heck is going to bake the ham?
When you have additional stress and less time in your daily schedule than normal, it’s even more important to stay focused and get energized by moving your body. Even five minutes a day will promote a sense of well-being.
No matter how busy-crazy life gets, it’s imperative to fit in some type of physical activity. You always feel invigorated and clear-headed after a good cardio workout.
Here are some fitness ideas you can accomplish in a limited amount of time:
Wear proper shoes and modify this exercise as needed; alternate legs, use just your arms or do a full jack without the jumping. Perform two sets of 20 to 60 seconds each.
Walk, jog or run a few flights of stairs whenever you have the opportunity. Shoot for five minutes without stopping.
Use a short, stable bench and step up with right foot, then left, right foot down, then left down. Do these for 30 seconds, then switch so your left foot is leading.
Hold onto a sturdy chair or countertop with your feet 6 to 12 inches from the chair-counter. Keeping your back straight, bend your knees no more than 90 degrees (thighs parallel to floor). Keep knees behind toes. Hold for 3 seconds. Slowly come up to a standing position. Relax. Repeat two sets of 8-15 reps.
Lie on your back with knees bent, feet a few inches off the floor. Slowly contract the abdominals, focusing on rotating the pelvis up and bringing your knees toward your rib cage. Concentrate on letting your abs do the work. Hold at the top, then slowly lower your knees to the starting position. Perform three sets of 8-20 repetitions.
(What I feel like around the third week of December.) Begin on hands and knees, hands directly under shoulders, knees under hips and back straight, abs tight. Slowly raise right arm and left leg up until level with the body, holding your balance and keeping torso tight. Lower back down and repeat with the left arm and right leg. Take your time, as this exercise is intended to challenge your balance. Repeat 10 times on each side.
Continue to make your physical and mental health priorities by getting adequate rest, proper nutrition and exercise.
I’ll be untangling Christmas lights as I rest between sets of bench step-ups.
– Rhonda Beckham is a nationally certified personal trainer, with teaching certificates in Pilates and kickboxing.