14 Effective Indoor Workouts to Help You Beat the Cold
A big blanket, cup of tea and roaring fire — ‘tis the season to stay cozy and warm.
But when it comes to your workout routine, the weather outside can be less than welcoming. And when snow and ice hits, hopping on your bike or going for a run isn’t always realistic.
But you don’t have to let cold weather stop you from meeting your health goals this season. With a little wiggle-room and floor space to move, you can get an effective full-body workout from the warmth and comfort of your own home.
We’ve rounded up the 14 best winter exercises you can do from home to beat the cold and stay fit this winter. These exercises incorporate the 4 types of exercise that are vital to your health year-round: cardio, strengthening, balance and flexibility.
Ready to get moving without ever leaving the house? Read on to stay fit and flexible (while staying cozy) this season.
Cardio exercises refer to any activity that raises your heart rate.
While many people run, swim and bike to lose weight, the benefits of cardio reach far beyond weight loss.
Establishing a regular cardio routine can strengthen your heart and lungs and help you sleep better. It can even provide temporary relief from depression and anxiety, which can be helpful during the long, dark days of winter.
If you like a bit more guidance, there are routines like the No Running Cardio Workout You Can Do at Home to keep you moving indoors.
This workout covers warm up, main sets, cool down and some bonus elements like pilates and yoga.
Below are 3 cardio moves sure to get your heart rate up while the snow falls outside:
- Lie on the ground, arms at your side and both feet planted on the ground.
- Push your feet into the floor as you lift your hips into the air until your knees, hip and shoulder form a straight line.
- Hold for the count of 3 before slowly releasing back to a lying down position, and go again for 10 reps.
- Be sure to be lifting from your core to avoid neck and back strain.
2. Squat Jumps
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Move into a squat by raising your arms in front of you, head and neck straight, and pretending to sit in a chair by engaging your core and lowering your buttocks.
- From the squat position, keep your core engaged and jump up, extending your arms up and your body straight.
- Repeat 10 times for 2 sets.
- If you love music, this is the cardio for you — crank up your favorite playlist and get moving!
- The more you want to work out, the more you’ll have to move around, so you’ll have to get creative.
- Try out moves like the bongo beat, where you engage your core while leaning forward and playing imaginary bongos, or some hip hop moves with the kick, step touch.
Weight lifting isn’t just for gym rats. Research shows women who add strength training to their weekly workout routine are more likely to maintain weight loss.
Strengthening also helps your posture, which not only helps your look but aids in organ function.
If you don’t have weights nearby, try out a few reps of these full-body strengthening exercises that use your bodyweight at home:
- When doing a proper plank, you’ll have no doubts that it’s a great strengthening exercise — you’ll feel this one through your whole body.
- Lie on the floor face down in a push up position, then bend your elbows and rest your forearms on the floor, clasping your hands together.
- Only your toes and forearms should be touching the ground.
- Tighten your core and buttocks and hold for as long as you can — aim for anywhere between 15 and 60 seconds.
- Repeat 3 times
2. Mountain Climber
- Much like the plank position, this move starts in a pushup position.
- Instead of moving to your forearms, however, you’ll squeeze your abs as you lift one of your knees toward your chest.
- Make sure not to bend your elbows, and do your best to keep your body in a straight line.
- Repeat 10 times on each side.
3. Wall Sit
- Lean your back against a wall, feet shoulder-width apart and about 2 feet from the wall.
- Slide your back down the wall, bending your knees and moving your feet forward until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
- Tighten your abs and hold as long as possible — shoot for between 30 and 60 seconds.
- Repeat 3 times.
Good balance is one of the main components of an effective work out. Not only that, but balancing exercises can increase coordination and lower your risk of injury as you age.
Because of this, balancing workouts are especially good for aging adults, stroke patients, and others prone to falling.
Here are 4 ways to start improving your balance at home today:
1. Tai Chi Withdraw and Push
Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese practice used for mental and physical health, and is said to be the best type of exercise for balance by Harvard Medical School.
It’s comprised of slow, purposeful movements that help you stay mentally present and mindful of how your body works.
If you haven’t tried Tai Chi before, try starting with a withdraw and push:
- Stand straight with one foot in front of the other, about 1-3 feet apart depending on your height and what’s comfortable.
- Shift your weight to your back foot, allowing the toes on your front foot to rise.
- As you do this, move your arms up and through your body, as if bringing a cleansing wave up and through your torso.
- Move forward onto your front foot, heel lifted off the back foot, as you gently push your arms forward, as if releasing the wave.
- Continue for as long as you would like.
2. One Legged Clock
- Stand on one leg with your back straight. Imagine your arms as clock hands and raise one arm to the 12:00 position.
- Then, move to 3:00 and end with your arm at 6:00, by your side. Try it on each side.
- If you have trouble doing this to begin, try out basic one legged standing with arms out or down.
3. Single Leg Deadlifts
- This move doesn’t just help balance, but it’s great for strengthening your legs.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and lift your right leg a few inches off the ground.
- Slightly bend your left knee and lean forward, raising your right leg behind you as your arms reach for the floor.
- Try 3 sets with 5 repetitions on each leg.
4. Body Circles
- This is a fun one that you can adjust according to your skill.
- Simply stand feet shoulder width apart, arms to your side.
- With feet firmly planted, keep your body in a straight line and sway in a circle.
- Continue for 1-2 minutes.
As you age, your muscles lose mass and flexibility, causing your joints to tighten.
To help avoid muscle aches and injury, it’s vital to remain flexible by stretching regularly.
The ACSM recommends stretching each major muscle group at least 2 times a week for 60 seconds each.
Here are our 3 favorite at-home stretches to keep your muscles and joints flexible.
1. Child’s Pose
- Child’s pose is a move used in yoga to stretch out the back.
- Sit on the floor and bring yourself up on all fours.
- Lower yourself onto your feet by pushing your arms forward on the floor and your rear back and down to a sitting position.
- Keep your forehead on the floor and round your spine, your arms remaining outstretched on the floor in front of you.
- Breathe normally and hold for 30 seconds.
2. Butterfly Groin Stretch
- Sit on the floor and push the bottoms of your feet together with your heels close to your body.
- If you want to take it further, place your elbows on your knees, grab your shins, and press your knees closer to the ground with your elbows.
3. Standing Wall Calf Stretch
- Stand facing a wall, about 2 feet away.
- Place your hands on the wall, and step forward with your right foot.
- Place the ball of your foot against the wall, keeping your heel on the ground.
- Lean forward gently while keeping your knee straight.
- Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.
All warmed up and ready for a new workout routine to master this winter? Dive in to HIIT training >