Physical Activity Boost: 12 Days of Fitness

December 14, 2012

By Lizzy Parker, HSC communications intern

Lizzy Parker is a junior at Colorado College and a Certified Personal Trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. As an intern at HSC, she enjoys sharing her enthusiasm for and knowledge about physical activity—and, that it can be fun!

During this busy time of year, your schedule is likely packed with holiday shopping, parties, and family get-togethers.  As a result, it can be hard to remember to sneak some exercise in.  On the days leading up to Christmas, try to fit at least 10 minutes of movement into your day.  A simple walk around the neighborhood is great — but if you are forced indoors by cold temperatures, it is good to have some alternatives.  Any of the following exercises can be done with your kids and don’t require a ton of space. Perform the movements on the days leading up to Christmas.  Who knows, this could become a new tradition!

  • Day one: Tree pose.  Hold for one minute. Really focus on one spot on the floor to help with balance.  Make this a silent activity.  There is no better way to reduce holiday stress than taking time, even as little as one minute, for some deep breathing. 
  • Day two: Jumping jacks. Aim for two minutes, non-stop.  For a more intense cardio blast, alternate two minutes on with two minutes of rest for 5-6 rounds.  This is a great activity for when you are waiting for those gingerbread men to bake in the oven!
  • Day three: Push-ups.  A simple, yet extremely effective movement for the upper body and core.  A great exercise for all ages as it utilizes body weight. If you cannot perform the full movement from your toes, modify by working from your knees.  Be sure to keep that belly tight and do not arch your back.  Complete a set of three during a break from your favorite holiday movie. 
  • Day four: Fire log pose.  Sitting in a car or in front of the computer can do a number on your hips.  And tight hips can lead to a host of injuries, primarily lower back pain.  Cozy up in front of the fire place and spend two minutes on each leg.  To make this activity more meditative, close your eyes and focus on your breath.
  • Day five: Wall sits.  With your back flush up against a wall, bend your legs until your thighs are parallel to the floor.  Hold for five thirty-second sets and feel the burn. (Seriously — if you’re the least bit chilled, do a wall sit and you’ll warm right up!)
  • Day six: Clockwork lunges.  Start by lunging forward with your right foot to the 12:00 position, and return to center. Then work your way around the clock to the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6:00 (so you will be eventually lunging backwards with your right foot).  Repeat with your left foot, lunging to the 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, and 6:00 positions. 
  • Day seven: Legs-up-the-wall pose.  Your legs may be sore from yesterday, so take some time to do a restorative yoga pose.  Grab your favorite holiday book (I’m partial to The Polar Express) and allow yourself to relax into the posture.
  • Day eight: Leap! A la The Nutcracker.  Bound back and forth eight times in the hallway, or a nearby park or sidewalk.  Just be careful to wear safe footwear !(Socks are not recommended for indoors.) 
  • Day nine: Tricep dips.  Face away from a chair and place your hands behind you with your fingers towards the edge of the seat.  Either bend your legs at a 90 degree angle or straighten your legs for more of a challenge.  Slowly lower yourself, bending at the elbow, then push back to the starting position. Do two sets of nine.  
  • Day ten: Squats.  With your feet a little more than hip-width apart, sit back as if there is a chair behind you, keeping your weight in your heels.  Be sure that your knees do not go past your toes, and that you keep your knees from falling in. Aim for your thighs parallel to the floor, but don’t get too hung up on it.  Too easy? Add a jump between each squat.  Do three sets of ten repetitions.  
  • Day eleven: Toe touches.  With your right arm raised, balance on your left leg and reach down to touch your left toes. Repeat eleven times then do the same balancing on your right foot.  
  • Day twelve: Dance to your favorite holiday tune! 

*Bonus: on the twelfth day, cycle through all the exercises. Repeat as many times as desired!

Happy, healthy holidays!