Studies show people tend to gain an average of 1-2 pounds during the winter, according to an article about holiday health on CNN.com. But, those few pounds can add up quickly.
The 1-2 pounds mentioned by CNN is the average only for people with a normal body weight index; if you're overweight or obese, the weight can increase by up to five pounds.
Regardless of how much weight is gained during the holidays, it's important to remain active, so you can enjoy those holiday cookies without feeling guilty.
WebMD offers seven exercises that are quick and effective and can be performed by people of any fitness level. The site also recommends staying active for at least 30 minutes a day, which can be challenging with busy holiday schedules. But remember, any activity level is better than none, so try and work at least one of these exercises into your daily routine.
1) Walking- This is something you can do anywhere, anytime. Start by walking just five to 10 minutes at a time, around your neighborhood or in the park. Try to increase your distance over time, and increase your speed too to get a more effective workout.
2) Interval training- Vary the intensity of your workout to challenge your body instead of staying in your comfort zone. While doing any cardio exercises, push yourself as hard as you can for a minute or two, then back off for two to ten minutes to recover.
3) Squats- This exercise works several different muscles at the same time. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and your back straight. Bend your knees and lower your rear as if you were sitting down, keeping your knees over your ankles and your heels on the ground.
4) Lunges- This exercise also work several different muscles at the same time, and it improves balance. Take a big step forward, keeping your spine straight. Bend your front knee to approximately 90 degrees. Keep your weight on your back toes and drop the back knee toward the floor.
5) Push-ups- This will strengthen the chest, shoulders, triceps and core muscles. Face-down, place hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Place toes on the floor creating a smooth line with your body. Lower and lift your body by bending and straightening your elbows, keeping your torso stable throughout the move.
6) Abdominal crunches- Begin by lying on your back with your feet flat on the floor and palms supporting your head. Press your lower back down. Contract abdominals and raise first your head, then your neck, shoulders and upper back off the floor.
7) Bent-over row- This is the only exercise on the list that requires any equipment. To do this move: stand with feet shoulder width apart, bend knees and flex forward at the hips, then engage the abdominals and extend spine to add support. Hold weights beneath the shoulders with hands shoulder-width apart. Flex elbows and lift both hands toward the sides of body. Pause, then slowly lower hands to the standing position.
Page 2 of 2 - Performing any of these exercises will keep you in shape for the holidays and allow you to enjoy all the delicious food that comes with this time of year.