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Laurie Gardner     Laurie Gardner
Senior Mortgage Loan Originator
Alaska USA Mortgage Company NMLS Unique ID #204060
Phone: (907)796-1202 / fax 907-929-6711
Fax: WA Consumer Loan Co. License #CL-157293
License: Mortgage License #AK157293
Alaska USA Mortgage Company NMLS Unique ID #204060
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Winter Workouts
Bringing Your Exercise Indoors

Winter Workouts - Bringing Your Exercise Indoors

It's a vicious cycle. You get into shape for summer only to fall out of shape by the following spring. The holiday season has something to do with this ebb and flow, but there's more to the story than a short-lived increase in gatherings and gastronomy. Truth be told, wintertime weight gain is due in large part to a seasonal decrease in our daily exercise.

A reduction in exercise during the late fall and winter months is completely understandable. Aside from the increase of demands on our schedule, as well as a lesser amount of daylight, in climate weather serves as the perfect excuse to forgo our morning walk or weekend sports activities. That being said, it's time to lose the excuses and bring our exercise inside.

Joining a gym is never a bad idea, but for many reasons it's not for everybody. Setting up a home gym, complete with expensive equipment, is also a possibility. But once again, it's not for everyone. With you in mind, the troops at YOU Magazine have put together a variety of indoor workout ideas, sure to fit the stringiest of budgets and the busiest of schedules.

Everyday Activities
There are several everyday activities that qualify as mini indoor workouts. Performing them on a regular basis, and with a bit more intensity, they serve as great way to burn extra calories.

Climbing stairs is a great mini workout, burning about 40 calories every 5 minutes. Carrying items in your hands while performing this activity will burn even more calories. So, when there's a choice between taking the elevator or the stairs, opt for the latter. And whenever possible, make several trips up and down, as opposed to consolidating your errands into a single venture. This is one instance when inefficiency is rewarded.

Playing with your kids is another type of mini workout. Not only does it offer an opportunity to connect with family, but it also has the ability to maintain overall fitness. Anything from crawling on the ground, to playing a game of "hide and go seek” will burn calories. During the daytime, and if the weather permits, head outside for a game of "tag”, a truly awesome calorie burner.

Housework is also great for chewing up the calories. Chores such as scrubbing floors, vacuuming, and washing windows burn roughly 100 calories every 30 minutes. Imagine what a little more elbow grease could do for your home, and your physique.

It's Not a Stretch…
Stretching is normally thought of as a precursor to exercise. But considering its many benefits, you should really think of it as its own form of exercise.

The purpose of our muscles is to protect our bones and move our bodies, so it is highly important that we keep them strong yet supple. Stretching is a way of accomplishing both objectives. Available to nearly everyone, stretching is also a method of burning calories. Believe it or not, you can burn between 150 and 200 calories for every hour of stretching you do. In addition, stretching helps to relieve many of the symptoms associated with stress.

The best part about stretching is that it can be done almost anywhere. From the floor of your living room while watching TV, to a hotel room, or even your office at work, there are no excuses for neglecting to stretch on a daily basis.

For most of us, ideas for different stretching exercises can be found in any number of books and websites that promote physical fitness. If you are under the regular care of a physician, we recommend that you ask him or her for suggestions about a stretching routing. You'd be surprised at the amount of literature made available by many general practitioners, chiropractors, and physical therapists.

A Workout that Costs Nothing
When the decision was made to publish an article on indoor workouts, one of the goals of the editorial staff was to stay away from suggesting that you buy an expensive piece of equipment. Maintaining a daily workout routine is hard enough. None of us need the added pressure of trying to figure out how to pay for a StairMaster®, or where to put it when it goes unused.

The following is a list of some great exercises that can be done individually, or strung together to form a great full-body workout. They cost nothing and can be performed in nearly every room of the house:

Tried and true, push-ups are perfect for toning the chest, triceps and shoulders. If you're not ready for the standard military push-up, try doing them from your knees, making sure to keep your ankles crossed.

By using the term "sit-ups” we are referring to the ones from high school P.E. class, but with one little change. Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet placed flat on the floor. Feel free to wedge your toes underneath a couch or bed frame in order to keep your feet planted. With your hands behind your head, begin your sit-up. But, instead of going all the way up to your knees, stop halfway and pause before returning to the ground. Doing so alleviates tension in the lower back, while isolating the middle and upper abdominals.

Leg Lifts
Lie flat on your back with your feet together and the palms of your hands on the ground next to you. Keeping your legs straight, raise them until they are perpendicular to the ground and your toes are pointing straight in the air. This is a great exercise for strengthening and toning the lower abdominals.

Stand with your feet spread shoulder width apart. With your hands on your hips, step forward with your right leg and take your left knee to the ground. Return to the initial standing position and step forward with your left foot, taking your right knee to the ground. Return to standing and repeat this series of moves. This exercise is awesome for toning all parts of the legs and the buttocks. Increase the difficulty by holding dumbbells during the exercise. If you don't have dumbbells, try using jugs of water.

This is a great exercise for both your triceps and shoulders. Utilizing a sturdy chair or bench, sit at the edge of the seat with your legs straightforward, heals to the ground and toes pointing up. Your hands should firmly grasp the edge of the seat, shoulder width apart. Supporting yourself with your arms, slide your butt off the edge of the seat. Use your arms to lower yourself until your triceps are parallel to the ground. Then push yourself back up. Keep repeating this motion.

Calve Raises
On your toes, balance yourself on the edge of a bottom step. The soles of your feet, as well as your heels, should be hanging off the edge. Grab on to a banister or door jam for support and lower your heals toward the ground, as far as they'll go. Now, raise yourself up so that you are standing on your toes. Repeat this motion. This exercise works wonders for toning calve muscles.

For all of these exercises, start with one or two sets of 10 to 20 repetitions. As you get stronger, increase the number of sets and repetitions, as well as decrease the amount of time spent resting between sets.

Workouts that Cost Just a Little
Now that we've shown you exercises that cost nothing, it's time to look at a few that cost a minimal amount of money.

Jumping Rope
For $15 to $20, anyone can procure a leather jump rope from their local sporting goods store. And as long as the ceilings in your home aren't too low, you can jump rope in many different rooms. This is a great exercise for toning the calves and legs. If performed for enough of a duration, it an also be a tremendous cardio-vascular exercise.

DVD Workouts
For a relatively small amount of money, anyone can purchase a variety of different workouts on DVD. Yoga, Pilates, aerobics, martial arts and dance are just some of the available options. Two of the biggest upsides to these types of workouts are the ability they provide to choose a different workout every day, as well as the ease in which they can be brought to any location that has a DVD player and a TV.

With the ability to be stored away in a closet, dumbbells provide hundreds of options in terms of individual exercises without requiring a "home gym”. For the purposes of saving money and not taking up too much space, we recommend purchasing dumbbells that can be adjusted, as opposed to the type that are dedicated to one weight.

Exercise Ball
You've probably seen an exercise ball, but the question is have you ever used one? With the appearance of an oversized beach ball, these “burst-resistant” inflatable balls can be purchased at any sporting goods store for anywhere from $15 to $40. As far as what you can do with an exercise ball, the options are many. From abdominal and core strengthening to all sorts of leg toning exercises, these balls have a myriad of applications. The best part is that most are sold with instructions regarding their potential uses.

Chin-up Bar
By attaching brackets to the inside of a doorway, a chin up bar can be put up and taken down in the matter of seconds. If possible, we suggest leaving it up. Set a goal that for every time you pass through the doorway, you perform several chin-ups. It's an incredible exercise for strengthening and toning the entire upper body.

We'd like to leave you with two final thoughts. First, despite the indoor workout ideas set forth, whenever the weather permits you should head outdoors for your workout. Nothing beats the combination of moving your body and breathing fresh air.

Lastly, if you are unsure of your physical health or suffer from any pre-existing conditions, please consult your physician before embarking on any exercise routine. That being said, we'd like to wish you good luck in maintaining your fitness level during the winter months. Remember, summer is just around the corner.

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