Ok, so I am a couple days late for this title, but I just couldn’t help myself. In this hectic time of year, where we are wrapping things up, one way or another, we cannot forget about our physical activity.  I hear time and time again “I just don’t have time to work out.”  So, I am putting together a list of exercises that are a must if you want a quick, effective workout, that can be done in no time.  Remember, 150 minutes total a week of aerobic activity plus two days of strength training are recommended for overall health.

12  Runners Running

Running is great  because you can do it anytime, anywhere.  If its cold outside, run inside, run on a treadmill.  Or if you physically can’t run, walk, walk, walk.  Use Christmas shopping as your time to get these 150 minutes in each week during the holiday season.  Make sure to keep your heart rate around 70% VO2Max (speed of chat) for weight loss

11  Squatters Squatting

One of the easiest exercises, but also highly effective.  Squats are great for building up hamstrings, gluteals, and quadriceps.  Rule of thumb for the squat, try and get tops of your legs parallel to the ground.  This may be difficult if squats are not already in your repertoire of exercises, but it will get easier.  Try to complete 3-4 sets of 10-15 each.  My favorite exercise to do while cooking dinner

10  Bouncing Balls

If you have access to a medicine ball, ball slams, either against a wall or against the ground, are great for overall strength and fitness.  If you do it against a wall, you can add a squat to it to make it even more effective.  If doing them against the ground, make sure to bring the ball all the way over the head and then slam it down, giving your arms extra work.  If you do not have access to a medicine ball, perform this with a basketball.  Three sets of 20 is a killer workout

9  Jumpers Jumping

Either jumping jacks or jumping rope, jumping is a great way to get the heart rate up.  This is a great “filler” exercise, meaning it is great to perform jumping jacks or jump rope in between sets of other exercises that require weights, such as bench press, dumbbell flies, or pull ups.  Start out with 30-50 reps to start out with and work your way up to 100 reps in between each set of 4-5 exercises

8  Crunchers Crunching

Crunches, sit ups, and planks (core exercises) are a must.  We usually remember to work our arms and our legs and to work on our cardio, but it is the abs that might be harder to remember to focus on.  And it is important to remember to focus on each part of the core/abs (top, bottom, internal, external, sides, and transverse/twisting).  Start off laying on the floor with knees bent and heels on the floor.  Put your hands gently behind your head and use your abs to lift your shoulders off the ground.  Complete two sets of 25.  Next, lay with your arms to the side and try and touch each heel.  Again, two sets of 25 on each side.  Third, straighten your knees, laying flat on the ground.  Tuck your hands under your butt and raise and lower your feet with your legs straight.  You got it, two sets of 25.  Lastly, roll over and get into a push up position.  Make sure your shoulders are over your wrists and hold it here for 30 seconds.

7  Boxers Boxing

Boxing is an amazing cardio workout.  You can burn a ton of calories in a short amount of time, depending on how hard you go at it.  Punching bags are great to beat on and get out some frustration.  but if you don’t have access to a punching bag, pick up some three pound dumbbells and shadow box for 5 60-second rounds.

6  Push Ups

Push ups are another exercise you can do anytime and in the privacy of your own home.  They are great for strengthening your chest and arms.  If you aren’t used to push ups, you can start out on your knees, but you want to work your way up to knees off the ground.  Try 3-4 sets of 6.  Work your way up to 3 sets of 10

5  In-Ter-Vals

Intervals are bursts of high-intensity aerobic activity interspersed with low-intensity recovery time.  Intervals can help increase your aerobic capacity, cardiovascular health, and improves fat loss.  Run or jog for 3-5 minutes, walk for 1 minute.  Complete 5-6 rounds of intervals

4 lunge jacks

Lunge jacks are like jumping jacks, with the exception that you are performing a lunge instead of a squat position.  Perform 4 rounds of 15 each leg.  Your thighs will be on fire!

3  Swiss Balls

Swiss balls are great for a multiple of different exercises.  They can be used for performing crunches, push ups, and gluteal work.  For a quick workout complete 3 sets of 25-50 crunches, 3 sets of 10 push ups (carefully place your feet on the center of the ball and hands on the ground and lift your knees up), and 3 sets of 25 gluteal lifts (lay on your back and place your heels on the center of the ball, with legs at a 90 degree angle, and carefully lift your butt off the ground and lower it again)

2  Days of Training

Remember, two nonconsecutive days of strength training a week is a decent amount for general fitness and weight loss.  This can be accomplished with the use of dumbbells, bar bells, medicine balls, swiss balls, and body weight.

And A Healthy Individual…

These are just a few ideas to keep your activity up now and through the new year.  If these exercises are too easy, increase intensity, weight, sets, or time.  Remember, you can be a fit mama all year long, let us be there to help.

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