Working out in winter

Monday, 24 June 2013

Indoor exerciseWarm up before you work out
It is so easy to blame winter for decreased energy levels. Feeling cold is one of the biggest reasons for putting off training. If you’re feeling chilly and tempted to forego your workout, have a quick indoor warm up in front of the heater – you are more likely to change your mind and pound the pavement!

Stretch it out
Stretch in the shower on chilly days and nights. This gives your core temperature a chance to rise, allowing for an easier stretch. Muscles tighten and stiffen in the cold, so they need to be stretched more frequently. Make regular stretching a priority during winter months, not just during your workouts.

Do the house-wife workout
Don’t underestimate daily chores like scrubbing, sweeping, mopping and vacuuming! This is a great way to burn calories indoors.
Mopping the floor: +- 112 calories
Scrubbing the floor: +- 200 calories
Active gardening: +-125 calories
Vacuuming: +- 90 calories
Hand-washing dishes: +- 160 calories

A bed or sofa can be used for squats and push-ups
Stairs are great for your cardio whether you are running up them or stepping. A carpeted floor makes a great base for practically any exercise. Canned foods and filled water bottles serve as excellent dumbbells.

What is an effective home workout to squeeze into a 35 – 40 minute session before or after work?

Start off with some cardio. Choose between running up and down the stairs, practising stepping up and down on one step, or skipping solidly. 10 minutes of one of these exercises is a good warm-up for the rest of your session.

Next, practice the following for a well-rounded workout of around 40 minutes.

Push-ups: 15 reps, 3 sets
These need no equipment. Keep your body straight and elbows tucked in as you dip.

Tricep dips: 20 reps, 3 sets
Find a bed, coffee table or chair. Sit on it, hold onto the edge, lift your buttocks off the chair and lower down. Bend your elbows to 90 degrees then straighten your arms without locking and repeat. Intensify the move by crossing one ankle over the knee, lowering down on one leg instead of two.


Plie squats: 20 reps, 3 sets
Stand with your toes pointing out and feet just wider than the width of your shoulders. Keeping your torso straight, bend your knees and lower yourself down then slowly rise. Choose your intensity by holding one weight with both hands as you squat.

Travelling Lunges: 20 reps, 3 sets
You will need to hold weights to keep this exercise challenging and use the largest floor space available to you. Keeping your feet parallel to each other and bending only to 90 degrees, lunge forward in a step. Join your feet together then lunge forward again with the opposite leg.

Crunch with exercise ball: 15 reps, 3 sets
To get into position, lie down on your back and lift your legs straight in the air. Roll the ball under your butt and lower your feet to rest on top of the ball. Your lower legs should be at about 90 degrees to your thighs, then you are ready to begin. Inhale and, using your abdominal muscles only, pull your chest toward your knees. This is not a sit-up – your lower back should remain on the floor. Hold for 2 seconds then lower your head towards the floor without actually touching it.

Side Abs: 20 reps, 3 sets
In a sit up position, put your right leg over the left and curl up to touch your right knee with your left elbow. Roll down and repeat, then swap legs and repeat.

How can you ensure your home workout is as effective as training at the gym?

Commit to a time of day: Resolve to exercise before the kids get up or during your child´s naptime. Resist the temptation to pause your workout for other household activities – consistency and routine are crucial.

Train efficiently: Put together several workout play-lists for your iPod, following a play-list helps workouts go by faster. Also train in front of a mirror. People who watch their image whilst exercising report that their workout passes quicker.

Train to TV: Record your favourite TV shows or train during your daily soap. Watching while you train will help your session fly by, and you will be unlikely to take a break in training.

Train hard: Whilst incidental exercise is beneficial, push yourself in your scheduled home training session. If you were at the gym you would have that time only to train, so treat your self-assigned session with the same vigour.

Consider using fitness DVD’s: I am a fan of the P90X, but there are plenty of great ones on offer. If your computer is in a convenient spot, you can even Youtube exercise videos on everything from aerobics to strength training to yoga. Make your own modifications if you don’t have enough room to perform all of the moves. Repeat an earlier move while the instructor performs one that requires extra space or make up your own move until the routine allows you to join in again.

Lisa Raleigh
TV personality, Author, Lifestyle and Wellness Expert
@LisaRaleighSA – twitter
LisaRaleighTV – youtube

Other articles you may be interested in:
The latest exercise trends
Top tips for getting into shape
Trending fitness drills
Exercises for energy and vitality
Which yoga is right for you

Written by

Fitness and lifestyle expert, Lisa Raleigh, has been an exercise specialist for more than a decade. Known for her television roles as the winning team trainer on SA's The Biggest Loser, fitness guru on Michael Mol's Hello Doctor as well as the health and wellness consultant on SABC 3's daily morning show, Expresso, Lisa is fast becoming South Africa's unofficial face of wellness and healthy living.

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  1. Sue1N

    Thank you for the awesome exercise tips! Going to try them today!

    5 years ago •

  1. Candice

    Thanks for tips, I will start tomorrow to get myself bikini ready.

    5 years ago •

  1. Khalisi

    definitely going to be cleaning more around the house… all that calories and getting the house clean… sounds like a good plan…

    6 years ago •

  1. Madikoto

    awesome tips i need to start but im so lazy, today im going to do stretches

    6 years ago •

  1. liedeman

    Thanks so much really appreciate the tips really helpful.

    6 years ago •

  1. Khensani

    The hardest thing is starting but once you get into a rhythm, it’s fantastic.

    6 years ago •

  1. Pseudo_kate

    Love the tip on stretching in the shower. I also like to do a bit of yoga after taking a shower and I’ve massaged my muscles nicely with some Bio Oil. You sleep so much better and have that added advantage of keeping yourself supple in the process.

    6 years ago •

  1. Sam

    Wonderful article…I’m always struggling with this.

    6 years ago •

  1. Sammy

    Its freezing then to get out of bed, well I’ll give it a try

    6 years ago •

  1. steenkamp

    I have to literally drag myself to gym as it is very cold and I never seem to want to exercise, but when I first get going then all is fine again.

    6 years ago •

  1. Shades Of Mink

    Nothing warms you up like a crazy workout in my opinion

    6 years ago •

  1. TJK

    It’s so cold, I think getting dressed at the moment burns calories!

    6 years ago •

  1. Noma

    Can I stretch while in bed!! It’s very cold in CPT…

    6 years ago •

  1. DIVA

    I just cant believe that you can burn some calories by just washing the dishes.

    6 years ago •

  1. Miss Tee

    its so cold and difficult to get out of bed in the morning but worth giving it a shot

    6 years ago •

  1. Lorelle

    Soooo true! The cold keeps me from exercising! Just what I needed to motivate me!

    6 years ago •

  1. Ladyconfused

    haha @me. I use fitness DVDs at home they are way more convenient for me.

    6 years ago •

  1. me

    Now I’ll be the one running to do the dishes.

    6 years ago •

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