Quick fitness fix for the holidays

December 12, 2016 | by Dan Johnson
Categories: Healthy Driven Life

As we all know, the holiday season is a busy one. It’s difficult to get those workouts in consistently when there are a million other things that you could or should be doing.

But it’s not an impossible task! And with the right plan, sticking to your exercise commitment during the holidays can be surprisingly simple.

Many of us stress more during the holiday season, and exercise is a great way to alleviate that stress. Most people also tend to gain a bit of weight as the drinks start flowing and those big holiday meals become more commonplace. These are two important reasons to stay fit during the holiday season.

There is a simple solution: interval training.

Interval training has many variations, but interval workouts or HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workouts are a quick and effective way to fit in exercise when you’re pressed for time.

There are many definitions to HIIT, but there are two constants. HIIT training is a difficult yet effective workout that requires far less time than a typical workout.

Essentially, HIIT training is defined as an exercise performed at a high intensity immediately followed by another low-to-moderate exercise to recover. Sets can be timed or counted by reps.

The high-intensity exercise should be done at near maximum intensity. The medium exercise should be at about 50 percent intensity. For example, the high intensity exercise may only last 30 seconds and the medium intensity may last closer to a minute to recover enough to start the next high intensity exercise.

The great thing about HIIT training is that it can be done anywhere with little to no equipment. Below is an example of a HIIT workout that provides both a cardiovascular benefit as well as a stretch benefit in only 25 minutes. As always, warm up five minutes before any workout by doing something simple, like walking.

  • Walking warm-up: 5 minutes
  • Jumping jacks: 30 seconds fast
  • Squats: 1 minute slow
  • Mountain climbers: 30 seconds fast
  • Push-ups: 1 minute slow
  • High knees: 30 seconds fast
  • Planks: 1 minute
  • Walking cool-down: 2 minutes 30 seconds

Jumping jacks, mountain climbers and high knees are the high intensity cardiovascular intervals and squats, push-ups and planks are the medium intensity strength intervals. This circuit of exercises should be performed three times all the way through with two minutes of rest in between each circuit.

This modified HIIT workout takes only 25 minutes and requires no equipment and little space. You can choose many combinations to mix up a HIIT workout. The workout above is a simple yet effective example.

With the craziness of the holidays in full swing, it is more important than ever to take care of yourself. You may think you have no time to get in consistent workouts, but HIIT training is your solution to a lower stress holiday season.

Drive your health forward at Edward-Elmhurst Health & Fitness.

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