Fit Tip of the Month: Holiday Workout Plan

My Small Steps plans for November and December offer strategies for avoiding over-indulging on holiday treats while still being able to enjoy the season.  But staying within the boundaries of a balanced, healthy diet is only part of the equation of fitness.  Regular exercise is just as important and just as difficult to accomplish as healthy eating is this time of year.  So, this month’s tip is a specific weekly planner to get in twenty minutes of exercise (30 minutes if you include the bonus segments) six days a week, all in time-crunched friendly ten-minute increments.

standing-hamstring-stretch
Hamstring Stretch

You choose which day of the week will be your rest day.  It doesn’t have to be the same day every week.  Have it float around according to what works best for your schedule that week.

You choose when in the day to perform the segments.  At a minimum, find two timeframes of ten minutes each to complete the A and B workout segments.  Perhaps one in the morning and one in the evening.  Add the bonus segment, say at midday, and you can complete a full 30 minute workout each day.  If you prefer and can swing a full twenty or thirty minutes at once, do both or all three segments back-to-back.

Push Ups
Push Ups

For the cardio segments, you don’t need to have access to a gym or cardio equipment.  A brisk walk outside is probably the easiest and most convenient way to accomplish these segments.  However, any type of heart-rate raising movement can count.  Do the type of cardio you enjoy and is most accessible to you.  You can do different types of cardio for each segment or all the same.  If your preferred workout is done outdoors, come up with some alternatives if the weather keeps you indoors, such as laps inside a mall or office building or going up and down a few flights of stairs for the allotted time.

Plank
Plank

The strength training segments are no-excuses workouts.  These require no equipment and could easily be accomplished while watching TV or streaming video.  Click on the exercises to link to step-by-step visual and written instructions from ACE Fitness.

Holiday Workout Plan

Day 1: Cardio Workout

  • Segment A: 10 minutes of cardio, followed by leg stretches
  • Segment B: 10 minutes of cardio, followed by leg stretches
  • Bonus Segment: 10 minutes of cardio, followed by leg stretches
Squats
Squats

Day 2: Strength Workout

  • Segment A: Perform 20 squats & 10 push-ups, rest for 30-60 seconds, repeat 20 squats & 10 push-ups, followed by leg, hip, arm & chest stretches
  • Segment B: Perform plank for 30-60 seconds & 20 (each side) side-lying leg raises, rest for 30-60 seconds, repeat plank for 30-60 seconds & 20 (each side) side-lying leg raises, followed by hip, abdominal & back stretches
  • Bonus Segment: Perform 20 ab crunches & 20 supermans, rest for 30-60 seconds, repeat 20 ab crunches & 20 supermans, followed by abdominal & back stretches
Ab Crunch
Ab Crunch

Day 3: Cardio Workout

  • Segment A: 10 minutes of cardio, followed by leg stretches
  • Segment B: 10 minutes of cardio, followed by leg stretches
  • Bonus Segment: 10 minutes of cardio, followed by leg stretches
Abdominal Stretch
Abdominal Stretch

Day 4: Strength Workout

  • Segment A: Perform 10 (each side) lunges & 10 (each side) bird-dogs, rest for 30-60 seconds, repeat 10 (each side) lunges & 10 (each side) bird-dogs, followed by leg, hip & shoulder stretches
  • Segment B: Perform 20 glute bridges & 20 (each side) side planks, rest for 30-60 seconds, repeat 20 glute bridges & 20 (each side) side planks, followed by hip, arm, back & abdominal stretches
  • Bonus Segment: Perform 20 (each side) bicycle crunches & 20 (each side) side-lying inner thigh raises, rest for 30-60 seconds, repeat 20 (each side) bicycle crunches & 20 (each side) side-lying inner thigh raises, followed by thigh & twisting abdominal stretches
Triceps Stretch
Triceps Stretch

Days 5 & 6: Cardio Workouts

  • Segment A: 10 minutes of cardio, followed by leg stretches
  • Segment B: 10 minutes of cardio, followed by leg stretches
  • Bonus Segment: 10 minutes of cardio, followed by leg stretches
Posterior Leg Stretch
Posterior Leg Stretch

Day 7: Rest Day

The beauty of this plan is, because the strength exercises are done in circuit format (high repetitions of more than one exercise done consecutively with minimal rest), the heart rate stays slightly elevated throughout the segment.  This means the strength training segments can also count as moderate cardio exercise.  The bottom line is, even without performing any bonus segments, you will rack up 120 minutes of moderate cardiovascular exercise plus two full-body strength and flexibility training workouts each week you follow this plan.  Adding only three bonus segments in a seven-day period gets you to the 150 minutes of moderate cardio exercise per week recommended by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

SantaI know we’re all time strapped, particularly this time of year.  But, very few of us can honestly claim we can’t find two ten-minute spans of time in each day to devote to our health and well-being.  Given adherence to this plan will also reduce stress, boost energy and immunity and contribute to better sleep quality, it serves as a wonderful holiday gift to yourself.

Give the Holiday Workout Plan a try and get a head start on a fitter you in 2017.

 

 

 

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