Ho Ho Hold It! (for the Holidays)

by Kimberly Kimmig, photography courtesy Kimberly Kimmig

Isometric moves to help you maintain your weight during the holidays

OK, we all know it’s coming.  It begins with Halloween candy and spirals down as Thanksgiving rolls in with all the comfort foods.  Then December is a whirlwind of party after party through the New Year.  And what do you have left at the end of it all?  An extra 3 to 5 pounds!

The weather is beginning to cool off, so take advantage of that.  Get outside for a walk, run or bike ride.  Aiming to exercise at least 4 days a week for 20-30 minutes each day will help keep that extra weight off.

Remember, though, that it’s not all about cardio.  To rev up your metabolism, you need to do some strength training as well.  This will help you burn calories for several hours post-workout!  Since the goal is to “hold our weight” where it is now, try these isometric exercises.

Wall Sits Wall Sits (left) – Stand with your back against a wall.  Walk your feet out so that your body forms a diagonal.  Lower your body down, bending at the knees until your thighs are parallel with the ground.  Hold this position for 30 seconds to one minute (depending on your fitness level) and slowly rise back up to standing.

The Plank The Plank (above) – Begin on hands and knees.  Place elbows on the ground directly under each shoulder.  For beginners, stay on the knees as you lower hips down to make a straight line from head to knees.  Hold this position while contracting the abdominal wall and breathing.  For the more advanced, place toes on the ground making sure to keep a straight line from your head to your toes.  Hold for 30 seconds to one minute.

The Bird-Dog The Bird-Dog (right) – Begin on hands and knees with head in a neutral position, eyes looking straight down at the ground.  Slowly extend your left arm forward with the thumb facing up (palm facing to the right) and your right foot back behind you.  You want to pretend someone is pulling your hand and foot simultaneously to straighten them and hold them as still as possible.  You may feel a little off balance and that is normal as you are working your entire core to stabilize your body.  Hold for 3 breaths and switch to right arm and left leg extended.  Repeat 5 times.

Go through these exercises 3 times before or after your cardio workout, but always after a good warm up.

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