Every year magazines and online article libraries publish the best ways to “beat the holiday bulge,” but we are proposing you use this time of the year to build your exercise arsenal to set yourself up for success for the coming year.
Most of us are planning to take some time off during the holidays to spend time with loved ones or get some much-needed rest and recuperation in. Extra time off is no reason to lose momentum or let yourself fall out of your routine. In fact, extra time off can be one of the best ways to reinforce eating and exercise routines so that you go back to “everyday life” rested and even healthier than you were before.
Like always, we want to give you some tools to help you succeed. Here are some exercises you can easily add to your normal regimen that are effective and will help you build muscle in typical “problem areas.”
Legs and glutes
Your legs are home to the biggest muscle groups in your body, which means effectively strengthening and developing them will give you a healthy boost in overall body strength and athleticism and it will give your metabolism a boost too. Here are some of our favorite legs and glutes exercises, which research has found effective to strengthen and develop your glutes.
Quadruped bent-knee hip extension
You can do this easy exercise just about anywhere and it can be an effective solution for people who have trouble performing other standing glute exercises or those with knee issues.
Easy to execute at the gym or at home, this exercise will both help you shape your backside as well as help you better perform your day-to-day activities.
Dumbbell step ups
Leg glute bridge
You core is your body’s trunk of stability. Here are some great strength-building exercises for your core that that will help you strengthen the muscles of your mid-section and help focus on improving low-back stability.
Plank with arm reach
The front plank will help you build muscular endurance while targeting your abdominal muscles. Beginners can start by doing this exercise for 5-10 seconds, then progress to holding the plank for 30 seconds and upwards of 1 minute.
Lateral bridge with abduction hold
This exercise will activate a combination of muscles, which ensure spine stability.
The quadruped opposite, a.k.a. “bird-dog” helps to train muscles that are the key to stabilizing the lower back. Avoid holding this movement pattern for long periods. Instead, try to increase the number of repetitions you do.
Upper arms get a lot of attention when you are wearing a sleeveless shirt or a cute holiday dress. Minimize the upper-arm jiggle by strengthening and toning your triceps with these exercises.
If you are new to pushups, consider doing this exercise with your knees bent and then progressing to the full plank position as you become more advanced.
Tricep bench dips
Be sure to focus on proper form when doing this exercise as, if done improperly, it can put stress on your shoulder joint.
You can use dumbbells to do this exercise, but a jug of water or large canned good will also do the trick. This is another exercise where proper form is crucial.
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