By LMQC Battle of the Bulge blogger, Alan Sivell, St. Ambrose communications professor, RAGBRAI-er, pizza lover and longtime weight watcher.
This time of year, it’s hard to leave a cozy, warm bed. It’s hard to throw off all the layers needed to achieve that cozy, warm bed. And quite often, at this time of year, it’s hard to get out of the house to get a workout in.
I do have an exercise bike in the basement (a 27-year-old Schwynn Airdyne that still works great). But I’ve been stuck in my stuck-in-the-house exercise routine for 27 years.
For a refresh on that routine, I turned to Dr. Christopher Schwartz, an assistant professor of kinesiology at St. Ambrose University.
Dr. Schwartz is an exercise physiologist and he teaches courses on exercise testing and prescription.
Whether it’s an exercise routine for improving performance, or for health or weight management, Chris he loves to talk about it and get people to work out.
He’s realistic in his approach. For some people, Chris acknowledges that that may just be getting off the sofa and going for a walk on a regular basis.
He’s had people approach him and say they want a 6-pack for beach season, Chris chuckles. “Let’s just get healthy,” he says is what he tells them.
Chris suggestions for at home winter workouts:
*Stairs. Chris says you can step up and step down on one step multiple times. Or take a whole flight over and over for five minutes.
*Sit-stand. Sit in a chair and stand up. If you get comfortable enough and feel confident, try the exercise without a chair.
*Leg extensions. While sitting in a chair, extend your leg out fully.
*Resistance bands. Chris says they are a versatile and inexpensive piece of equipment which you can use to perform a wide range of exercises with a wide range of difficulty. And to get you started, there are a lot of instructional videos on the Internet, including this one for beginners.
*Push ups. They’re great for your upper body and your core. Chris suggests doing you hands and knees or wall push ups for those who are uncomfortable with traditional toe-hand pushups.
*Planks. Since sit ups are not recommended because of the strain they can put on your back, Chris says planks are the core exercise of the day. You can assume the traditional push up position or balance on your toes and forearms and activate your abs, holding your body straight as if it were a table top. At first, these are hard. I could only hold the proper position for 15-20 seconds. Now I do three one-minute planks at the end of each of my workouts.
*Walking in place. Walking is still the #1 way to get moving, according to Chris.
*Yoga. Chris says this is great for strength, endurance and flexibility. You’d probably need a few classes ahead of time so you understand how to do it properly.
*Mall walking. If you can get out of the house, walking is a great, low impact exercise.
The key to an in-home routine is to make it a routine. Plan ahead what exercises you are going to do, in what order and for how long. Don’t make it up as you go along. Otherwise, it’s too easy to stop an exercise or throw out the entire plan.
Warning: Trying any of these home exercises without music may cause you the harm of quitting.
I’d much rather be in a gym, surrounded by like-minded people. But now I have some alternatives to my Airdyne … and a decent travel workout for away-from-home days.
|Meet Battle of the Bulge blogger, Alan Sivell. Alan is a communications professor at St. Ambrose University and a former reporter for WQAD-TV who has exercised – and dieted – his entire life. Read Alan’s other blog posts.|