Dubai, United Arab Emirates (CNN) – Whether it’s due to the pressure of social demands or other physical reasons like lack of sleep, it’s normal to feel stressed and tired due to extra work during the holidays. However, there are ways to incorporate exercise into our daily lives without adding stress or anxiety.
If you tend to skip workouts during the holidays, you’re not alone. Research indicates that Americans tend to eat and drink during the holidays. A December 2014 CNN survey found that 62% say they “indulge and eat whatever they want” during the holiday season, and a December 2017 CBS News survey found 20% of adults say they drink more alcohol during the season. Even the thought of exercising can seem exhausting when we are so busy.
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Instead of stressing out about exercise, try these moves while doing Christmas activities. That way, when you’re done with everything you’re doing — shopping, hanging out with friends, doing laundry — you can sit back, relax, and feel good.
Every movement can be done at home, and some can be done in public without being noticed. Try one or all of these five ways to turn your homework into a quick and effective exercise.
Raising the calf in the kitchen
Calf raise exercises are super easy, which makes them the perfect step for working out in the kitchen when you can’t even think about exercising. All you have to do is stand with your feet hip-width apart and lift your heels off the floor by pressing on your toes.
Shift your weight up and down, and squeeze your legs as you go. Repeat 10 times.
This movement can be done between any household tasks in the kitchen, so try to do two sets. Did you just put something in the microwave and have to wait for it to be ready? Do 10 calf raises.
Push-ups while baking cookies
Over-the-counter push-ups are a great way to incorporate an upper-body workout while baking Christmas cookies. Place your hands on the edge of the kitchen table and bend so that your feet are firmly behind you.
Bend your elbows, bring your upper body closer to the bar, and squeeze and straighten your arms. Repeat 10 times.
When you have a couple of minutes of idle in the kitchen, take advantage of that time. Put the cookie sheet in the oven, lean over the kitchen table, and move around before the oven alarm goes off.
If you only have time for one workout each day, try this 2:30
Squatting while doing the laundry
Laundry can become a regular part of everyday life. However, you can revive this chore by exercising at the same time. Whether you’re loading the washing machine, folding the laundry, or carrying the laundry basket up the stairs, take a moment to do some squats.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms out in front of you.
Bend at the hips and knees, making sure your feet are on the ground.
Try to make your thighs parallel to the floor and flex your buttock muscles. Press with your heels to straighten your legs and return to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.
Persistent belly pulsation
Standing abs exercises are easy and no one around you will notice. Being in public should not prevent you from exercising. If you’re at a party with friends or you’re shopping or running some errands, pause for a minute and do 10 abdominal exercises. If you do this several times a day, you will be working out without having to allocate extra time.
Simply squeeze your abdominal muscles in a pulsating motion, making sure to engage your abdominal muscles in each movement. Imagine someone punches you in the stomach as you walk away from the punch. Repeat 10 times.
Stretching the buttocks while sitting at the table
Next time you sit down at the table for a festive meal or dinner, stretch your buttocks muscles under the table without anyone noticing.
Sit on a chair with your feet on the floor. Cross your right ankle over your left thigh, bending your knee so that your right ankle rests on your left thigh.
Gently bend forward and hold for 30 seconds before repeating the process with the other leg.
Alertness and awareness of your body increases as you incorporate stretching and exercise into your daily life. Enjoy the holidays while helping your body feel good.
Stephanie Mansour, host of PBS’ Step It Up With Steph, is a health and wellness journalist, coach and women’s weight loss coach.
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