The Holidays: shopping, parties, cleaning, baking, decorating…the list goes on. You may feel run down or left with little time to devote to yourself this time of year. Megan Arnold, Westerville Parks and Recreation’s Fitness and Wellness Program Supervisor, is here with a quick workout and a few other tips to help keep you going strong and healthy the next couple of weeks.

Megan recommends a 30-minute format of High Intensity Interval Training (or HIIT) workout that’s easy to squeeze in before work or before the kids wake up and life takes over. With interval training, you focus on bursts (or periods) of intense work followed by complete rest or active recovery exercise. This kind of routine will give you a metabolism-boosting, energy-expending workout that will help burn off those Christmas cookies.

All exercises should be modified to your ability level, taking into account your fitness level, the time you have to exercise and personal goals. The workout below requires no extra equipment – just you, some space and some effort.

(The exercise provided in this article is for educational purposes only. Exercise is not without risk and if performed incorrectly this or any exercise program many result in injury. To reduce the risk of injury, before beginning this or any exercise program, consult your physician. As with any exercise program, if you feel faint, dizzy, or experience chest pain or chest discomfort STOP immediately and contact your physician. The City of Westerville assumes no responsibility for accidents or injury to persons or property that result in connection with this exercise program.)

If you are new to exercise, Megan recommends lower impact exercises (keeping one foot in contact with the floor at all times to better protect the lower back and joints.) Lower impact and intensity modifications are provided in parenthesis below. If you are more advanced, allow both feet to leave the floor when jumping for an increase in intensity. It is always important to listen to your body when exercising and take breaks accordingly. Perform all exercises with correct form. If you are unable to do so, reduce your workout intensity or take a short rest. When lunging or squatting, protect your knees by pushing your hips back and down and keep your knees behind your toes. And always remember to breathe!

HEALTHY HOLIDAYS HIIT

Warm-up for two to three minutes by walking/marching/or jogging in place.

*Click on the exercise for more information on proper form and demonstration.*

1. 15 Jumping Jacks and 15 Squat Jumps (or Squats)

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Rest 30 Seconds

2. 15 Tuck Jumps (or High Knees) and 15 Push-Ups (or Modified Push-Ups)

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Rest 30 Seconds

3. 15 Mountain Climbers (or Bench/Wall Mountain Climbers) and 15 Tricep Dips using a bench/chair/coffee table

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Rest 30 Seconds

4.  15 Jump and Reaches and 15 Glute Bridges

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Rest 30 seconds

5. 15 Prone (face-down) Supermans and 15 Switch Lunge Jumps (or Alternating Forward Lunges – No Jumping)

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Rest 30 Seconds

Repeat the entire series one to two more times, continuing to the perform the same amount of repetitions and breaks noted.

Holiday Dance Party 2014 for fb 2Make sure to cool-down by walking/marching in place for an additional two to three minutes (similar to the warm-up). Add in some mild stretching following the cool-down to minimize muscle soreness.

It can be helpful to have a workout buddy. If you need a little extra motivation and a good stress reliever, join us for our Holiday Dance Party fundraiser benefiting W.A.R.M. Sunday, December 21 at 2 p.m. in Community Center Aerobic Room. And don’t forget, the new year is right around the corner and you still have a chance to register for upcoming fitness classes.

BONUS TIPS:

Never go shopping without snacks.
Take a small bag of whole nuts, an apple, banana, or shaker with protein powder to keep your blood sugar stable while your body works hard running from store to store. If you go shopping without a plan, it is easier to become exhausted, hungry and make poor (and quick) food choices. Bring plenty of water, as dehydration can also make you feel hot and tired.

Have a holiday party strategy.
When you finally head to those holiday parties, don’t forget to eat beforehand and bring your own healthy option to fall back. Try using smaller plates and wait before heading back for seconds to curb overeating. Remember, it is okay to say no to Aunt Mary’s pumpkin pie too!

And lastly, don’t skimp on sleep.
There’s no doubt you might be up late wrapping presents before the big holiday, but on other nights try your best to get the amount of sleep you need. Research suggests getting enough Zzzs can help keep the pounds off, not to mention give you more energy throughout the day. If you’re having trouble sleeping, try turning off electronics in the bedroom or avoid large meals late at night.