Cold and flu season is fast approaching. When the weather gets cold, I know it's easy to blow off your workout routine and stay in bed. But if you want to ward off those bugs, the best thing to do is to keep moving!
Working out is amazing for your health, but be conscious of how intensely you are working your body. If you go hard, you will need to give yourself enough recovery time and rest. Here are my five favorite exercises that keep me feeling strong and balanced all year round, especially during the colder months. Let's work top to bottom.
1. Upward-Facing Dog
From plank position, gently lower your elbows alongside your body. Inhale as you straighten your arms; arch upward, continuing to keep your arms and legs straight while pressing the tops of your feet into your mat. Lift that heart of yours open and enjoy as you stretch your abs and spine. There is something powerful and uplifting about expanding your heart.
2. Boat Pose
It’s better than your standard crunch and that’s why I love it. Abdominals are the centerpiece of the body, so the stronger they are, the stronger the entire body can become. Begin seated on your glutes with your knees bent and your feet planted on the floor. From this position, lean your torso slightly back, lift your chest, and engage your core as you begin to lift your feet up and bring your shins parallel to the floor. If you feel strong, start to extend your legs all the way out, bringing your body into a V shape. Whoa! Do you feel your abs burning?
3. Prayer-Position Squat
I love a good old-fashioned squat. You are working multiple muscle groups at one time, including the hips, glutes, and thighs. Open those feet hip-width apart, keeping the feet parallel. Slowly bend your knees as though you are sitting back into a chair (aim to have your glutes in line with your bent knees). With your weight in your heels, lift your body all the way back up.
4. Crescent-Lunge Lunges
This exercise is going to work your entire leg. Let's begin in a downward-facing dog position. Step one foot forward between your hands and bend that knee to a 90-degree angle over your front foot. Get onto the ball of the back foot and extend your back leg. Inhale as you raise and extend your arms. Once you feel balanced and stable, bend your back knee directly under your hip and then extend back to a full crescent lunge. Try this 10 times on the first side and then repeat on the second side.
5. Flex-and-Point Toe Combo
Begin by lying down on your back; extend your legs straight up in line with your hips. Begin to flex the toes back so the bottom of the foot faces the sky and then immediately use the ankle, arch, and toes to fully point. Do this 30 times total. You should feel quite the burn!
Photos courtesy of BeFit Network
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