Faith Monaco, owner of Impact Health and Fitness Centre in Leamington, ON shares with us her favorite five low-impact exercises using only your body weight for resistance and some simple stretches to help keep you and your family moving this fall.
Now that the warm, summer months are behind us and cooler weather is approaching, it is still important to stay active. Taking care of our bodies should happen all year round. Just like when we get up every morning to brush our teeth, getting in daily exercise and movement is essential to staying healthy and increasing life longevity.
Humans thrive off routine. When we have a daily routine, we are setting ourselves up for success. Motivation in the cooler months can often begin to decline, however building yourself a 15- to 30-minute routine that you enjoy and can stick with, will be beneficial to you. The biggest trick to staying on track with your health goals is to find things you enjoy doing. Once you enjoy finding an exercise routine you like, it won’t even feel like work. Always have something set up for you daily that you will look forward to.
Luckily for you, there are so many activities and exercises that you can do indoors during the winter months. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Group Fitness Classes
Take this as an opportunity to step out of your comfort zone and a try a group fitness class. Grab a friend, schedule a few days a week to meet at your local gym and join in. Classes are a fun way to stay connected and socialize with other people within the community, try a new workout, get advice from fitness professionals, and have fun. There are many indoor classes to choose from like Pilates, Spin, Yoga, Zumba, Kickboxing, and classes that use many different equipment pieces like dumbbells, barbells, balls and more.
Now that the temperate outside is tolerable and more comfortable, getting in your daily steps is a free workout. Turn off your phone or place it on “do not disturb”, grab a tea, a walking friend, and get some fresh air. This is also a great way for the whole family to stay active and spend more time together. Make it an after-dinner ritual to take a walk on a local trail or around the neighborhood.
Did you know that there are millions of free workouts all online right at your fingertips? You can search on YouTube “Workouts” or if you want to get more specific, you can search up things like “Yoga”, “Full Body Workout”, “Lower Body Workout” and watch how many results pop up! You can even save some exercises for later.
Join A Gym
We saved the best for last. Joining a local gym can be affordable, fully accessible, with lots of space and so much to offer. This can be intimidating for someone that has never been to a gym or are not familiar with what to do at the gym. Personal training is a great way to invest in your health if you need that little extra support on top of getting a gym membership. Finding a gym that you like and makes you feel at home, we highly recommend giving it a try. Gyms will have all the equipment you could possibly need, and more.
When you take care of yourself, look, and feel your best, you will perform your best. There are many exercises and stretches you can do from anywhere that requires no equipment. I’ve shared with you my Fave 5 Body Weight Exercises and Stretches to help you get started. Just give yourself some space, push back your coffee table, and try a routine. This will allow you to provide your family, friends, and co-workers with your best self. You can’t expect to take care of everyone else without making sure to take care of yourself first. Get back to making your health your top priority – rain, shine, hot or cold!
Faith’s Fave Five Body Weight Exercises:
This is a challenging movement for many people so take a peek at this modified version. Place your knees on the ground, tuck your elbows tight to your sides. Drop your body including your hips and glutes down to the ground, close enough to the ground so your chest almost touches. Then slowly press yourself back up to extended arms staying on your knees to complete a few repetitions.
Lunges can be done stationary, or you can do walking lunges anywhere. Starting with your feet together, take a step forward, place your hands on your hips, and drop your body down towards the floor by trying to get your back extended knee close to touching the floor. Continue to stand up tall and keep your core tight.
Another great lower body specific exercise that also targets the core. Start by laying on the ground, place your feet flat to the ground with your knees up. Rest your arms to your sides. Make sure the low back is flat to the floor before beginning. Once the low back is flat to the floor, one vertebra at a time, you will slowly lift your hips off the floor and extend the hips towards the ceiling. Slowly return the hips back to the floor.
Spread your feet shoulder width apart and slightly turn your toes outward. Standing up tall, you will slowly drop your body towards the ground by bending your knees. Imagine you are about to sit down in a chair behind you. Get as low as you can in the squat and slowly press yourself back up to a standing position. This lower body movement targets your glutes and thighs.
To get yourself into a plank, you can begin on your knees, on a comfortable base. Extend your arms in front of you, press your palms into the ground. Once you feel secure, press your legs back and stay on your toes. Keep your hands stacked under your shoulders and hold your body still.
Faith’s Fave Five Stretches:
A great stretch to open up the hips, stretch the inner thighs and groin. Simply place the bottoms of your feet together, sit up tall, and drop your knees towards the ground.
To perform this stretch, interlock your fingers behind your back, push your chest out and raise your arms slightly away from your back. You will feel the amazing wonders of this stretch through your chest and shoulders. Sit up tall and slightly gaze up.
Single Leg Stretch
Take a seat on the ground and bring on foot in to meet your inner thigh. Extend your opposite leg long. Take your hands and place one on to your foot or modify by placing it on your shin, while your opposite arm reaches over your body to come in towards your extended leg. This is a great stretch for the back and hamstrings.
On a soft base (carpet or yoga mat), get down to your knees and take a step forward. Make sure that your knee does not go over your toes on the front leg. Lean forward into the elevated knee. You should feel this stretch all along your back extend leg that is rested on the ground. For a modification you can place an elbow on your knee.
Cross Body Stretch
Sit up tall by crossings your legs (you can also do this standing), and gently pull your arm across your body and hold for up to 30 seconds. You should feel a nice stretch all along your shoulder blades in your back.