Even if you belong to a gym, getting there when the weather isn’t great can feel like a chore. That’s especially true if you struggle with a health condition like COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) or asthma, which can make it hard to breathe normally in cold temperatures.
Still, it’s important to work out regularly for your health, no matter the climate. And having a consistent workout routine can ultimately improve your breathing. “Seasons come and go but your health doesn't,” Erica Lugo, a trainer on The Biggest Loser, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. Fellow Biggest Loser trainer Steve Cook agrees. “It’s important to keep moving and active especially, when the weather isn’t ideal,” he adds.
That’s why Lugo and Cook are sharing three simple exercises you can do at home. “A lot of people find any excuse not to work out this time of year. We’re not going to let you do that,” says Cook.
If you find that it’s a struggle to work out on any given day, Cook recommends trying to make a routine out of your workout — and tackling it first thing. “I always tell people to wake up and go to bed at the same time each day. That goes for working out as well,” he says. “If you can make it a routine and a habit, it’s going to take less motivation to get you there. Work out early if you can.”
Can’t make it out of the house today? Try these exercises to keep your health — and your lungs — in tip-top shape.
“I like this exercise because it’s a little different than your everyday, standard lunge,” Cook says. The exercise specifically targets your glutes (aka butt), legs, hamstrings and quads. To do a curtsy lunge, stand with your feet hip width apart. Move one leg behind the other and to the side at a 45-degree angle, and bend your front and back knee in a curtsy movement. (Your back knee should be almost down to the floor.) Then, alternate legs. Do 12 reps on each side, holding each lunge for two seconds.
Want to kick things up a notch? Have your back foot “pop” up when you move up from your curtsy lunge to “bring a little more glute into this exercise,” explains Cook.
Shoulder Tap Plank
This takes your standard plank and elevates it. “Challenge yourself!” says Lugo. Shoulder tap planks help work your core and upper body strength, according to the trainer. To do them, get into a standard plank position, making sure to keep your butt in line with your back and your shoulders stacked above your elbows and wrists. While holding your plank pose, lightly tap your hand to your opposite shoulder, before going back to the regular pose. “You don’t want to rock crazy from side to side,” says Cook. “We’re really focusing on those core muscles.”
Then, do the same with your opposite hand and shoulder. Keep alternating this for 30 seconds. “Shoulder tap planks are great because they involve your core but also introduce an unstable environment,” Cook explains.
These exercises are “a fun way without weights to get a full body movement,” Lugo says, noting that Supermans work your lower back, glutes and hamstrings. To do them, lay flat on your stomach with your arms extended above your head. Then, lift your arms, head, legs and feet off the ground, and hold them up for three seconds before lowering everything down again. Try 12 reps. “It’s really nice for all those muscles you can’t see in the mirror,” says Cook.