Want to stay fit while the nights draw in?
Winter often hampers your ability to exercise. The fear of slipping on the wet pavement full of leaves or getting wet through in the rain can be enough to deter the biggest exercise-enthusiast from keeping in shape in the winter months.
To help you keep active, we spoke to Jenny Cromack, Personal Training Director at Motive8 in Leeds to give you some exercises to keep you in shape and moving over the coming months.
If you are worried about whether you are able to do the exercises due to your mobility and balance then don’t worry! Chair based options have been provided as an alternative.
Please remember if you are new to exercise or are recovering from injury or illness you should always consult with your GP before commencing an exercise programme.
STRENGTH EXERCISES (10-15 reps each)
- Sit To Stand Squats – Stand in front of a chair, feet shoulder width apart. Push your hips behind and sit down into the chair. As soon as you ‘sit down’ aim to stand up again. Do not spend too long in a seated position!
Advanced – Hold a dumbbell or bottle filled with water in front of the body as you squat down.
This exercise is good for strengthening the legs
- Squats/Supported Squats – Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, place your hands on your hips. Push your hips behind and squat as low as you can (ideally thighs parallel to the floor), ensuring your back remains flat. Return to the start and repeat.
Chair Based Supported Squats – If you need to you can hold on to the back of a chair as you perform this exercise and only squat as low as you feel comfortable.
This exercise is good for strengthening the legs
- Lying Side Leg Raise – Lie on the side on the floor, your head should be supported on your arm. Support the body by placing your top arm in front of the body and bend the bottom leg. Keep the top leg as straight as possible as you lift the leg as high as possible – lift in a controlled manner. Lower slowly and repeat.
Chair Based Leg Raises – If you have trouble getting up and down from the floor perform this exercise standing. Stand with feet together and a chair in front of you for support. Raise one leg out to the side, keeping the leg as straight as possible. Return back to the start and perform repeatedly on one side.
This exercise is good for strengthening the hips and adding mobility to the hip region
- Press Ups – Kneel on the floor on all fours (place a cushion under your knees if needed). Place your hands shoulder width apart, knees should be under your hips. Bend your elbows out to the side as you lower your chest towards the floor. Push through your arms to fully extend the arms and repeat.
Wall Press Ups – If you struggle getting up and down, you can perform your press ups against a wall. Stand facing the wall, hands on the wall shoulder width apart. Bend your elbows out to the side and lower yourself towards the wall. Push back against the wall as you extend the arms. The further you are away from the wall the harder this exercise becomes.
This exercise is good for improving upper body strength.
- Shoulder Circles – Sit in a chair or stand tall. Lift your shoulders up towards your ears and rotate backwards to make a circle (work in the biggest range of movement possible). Repeat this eight times backwards and eight times forwards.
This exercise is good for shoulder mobility.
- Ankle Circles – Sit in a chair with both feet flat on the floor. Lift one knee to hip level and hold in place. Rotate the ankle in a clockwise direction eight times, then in an anti-clockwise direction eight times. Make as large a circle as possible.
This exercise is good for ankle mobility.
IMPROVING YOUR FITNESS
If you are lucky enough to have an exercise bike or treadmill at home then aim to spend at least 30 minutes every other day exercising at a moderate intensity – you should be a little out of breath as you workout and definitely feeling a bit warmer!
If you don’t have any equipment, or fancy a change then try performing the following exercises in a circuit.
Beginners – Rest 30 seconds between exercises, repeat the circuit twice.
Intermediate – Rest 30 seconds between exercises, repeat the circuit three times.
Advanced – Minimum rest between exercises, repeat the circuit three times.
- Step Ups for 30 seconds (Step up and down on your bottom step).
Or Seated Marching – sit tall in a chair and ‘march’ on the spot lifting your knees high.
- Sit to Stand Squats (10-15 reps)
- Press Ups or Wall Press Ups (10-15 reps)
- Heel Digs for 30 seconds
You can perform this exercise either seated or standing.
Seated – Sit in a chair, feet flat against the floor. Push one leg out to fully extend the leg so the heel ‘digs’ into the floor. Bring back and repeat on the opposite side. Keep alternating.
Standing – Perform as above but in a standing position.
5. Leg Raises – either standing up or lying down (10-15 reps each side)
6. Shoulder Circles (8-10 reps each side)
Hopefully that should keep you active, no matter the weather!
Jenny Cromack is the Personal Training Director at Motive8 North. She has been a health and fitness industry professional for over fourteen years, after graduating from Leeds Metropolitan University with a first class degree in Physical Education in 2001.