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While a blizzard is certain to ruin your commute, and maybe your workday, it doesn’t need to ruin your fitness. “I always like when there is something else going on outside. It gives you a chance to do something indoors — and there are so many things you can do without machinery to get a good workout in,” says Scott Weiss, CSCS., a New York-based exercise physiologist who has worked with Winter Olympics athletes.
Here, eight tips:
Start the Day with Meditation
“A storm is a good time to be sensitive to all the external things going on outside and all of the internal things going on inside your body,” says Weiss. Plus it’s a way to calm yourself, he says. Start the day with 10 slow breaths and incorporate these four easy ways to build meditation into your day.
Keep Up Your Cardio.
You don’t need an hour on the treadmill to reap the benefits of exercise. In fact, all you need is about four minutes. Recent research from the American Council on Exercise (ACE) found that a workout of that duration can burn between 240 and 360 calories. It isn’t easy—Tabata, which involves 20 seconds of moves such as mountain climbers followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated eight times, is pretty darned difficult — but the results are worth it (and you’ve got all day to watch movies!). If Tabata’s not your thing, cardio doesn’t need to go out the window. “Try jumping jacks, squat thrusts, or burpees,” says Weiss.
Heat Things Up
“It’s always great to do flexibility work when your body is warm,” says Weiss. Picture this: You’re cozied up by the fire, sipping on tea or soup, under a blanket. Your body is warm—and thus, more pliable, says Weiss. That means you’ll reduce your chances of injury and your body will function and perform better.
Not flexible? Try these yoga poses for people who aren’t flexible.
Take High Knees to the Snow
“If you’re bundled up right, have the right layers on, and are walking with the right boots, take a trek through the snow. Lifting your legs up higher through the snow burns more calories than just walking outside,” says Weiss.
Change Things Up
If you’ve been doing the same moves the same way for, well, ever, now’s your chance to change. Being stuck indoors all day means the perfect opportunity to try these six new squat variations or these three crunch variations you’ve never tried for sculpted abs. Variety isn’t just the key to seeing results from workouts: research suggests that it’s also key to motivation: People who vary their exercise enjoy their workouts more and are more likely to stick with a fitness program than those who do the same routines over and over again.
Act Like a Kid
With two—and maybe even three—feet of snow on the ground across the East Coast tomorrow, the white stuff would go to waste if there weren’t at least one snowball fight throughout. In fact, that’s just one of nine ways to stay in shape this winter.
Upgrade Your Bodyweight Moves
“Being at home gives you the perfect opportunity to master your own body weight,” says Weiss. Most plank exercises, core-based work, and strength and conditioning moves can be done right in the comfort of your home. Try these six toughest do-anywhere workout moves.
That snow-covered walkway doesn’t just present a cold-weather chore, it’s a gym of its own — and Harvard Medical School estimates that you could burn anywhere from 180 to 266 calories clearing it. Keep your back safe by pushing the snow—not lifting it, and don’t hold your breath. Most importantly: Be careful. If you’re habitually sedentary, shoveling plus freezing weather plus a boosted heart rate can equal an increased risk of heart attack, Barry Franklin, director of preventative cardiology and cardiac rehabilitation at William Beaumont Hospital in Michigan, told BBC News.
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