Your Indoor Workout Guide For A Healthy Holiday Season

During the cold seasons, I have a particularly hard time motivating myself to exercise. I’m sure I’m not alone in this, especially this year.

With the pandemic still going on, it’s much more enticing to lounge around in your Outspoken sweatshirt while watching a movie or reading a good book. Your favorite gym is probably closed anyway, and the risk of spreading COVID-19 is too high to justify attending that in-person yoga class. Plus it’s too snowy, rainy, windy, and dreary for those brisk morning walks you enjoyed over the summer.

Nevertheless, you and I know it’s a worthwhile endeavor to get into a regular workout routine amid the holiday (and pandemic) season. And right now, the best place to do this is your own home.

Get Motivated

Many of us concentrate on watching our weight around the holidays (not to mention the rest of the year). Exercise can be a means of shedding pounds, but that’s not the only (or even the main) reason I’d encourage you to work out. Instead of getting caught up in the slippery slope of diet culture this season, let’s educate ourselves on the many other health benefits of exercise.

First, it’s important to keep your immune system strong. Between flu season, COVID-19, and holiday crowds, it’s easy to catch what’s going around. Exercise can boost your immune system and reduce your risk of illness. Don’t you want to prevent yourself and others from getting sick for the holidays?

Second, your body needs daily movement. We’re probably not getting the same amount of blood flow as we endure endless Zoom meetings and spend our days hunched over computer screens. Finding time for some much-needed physical activity can help strengthen your muscles and bones.

Third, your brain will thank you. ‘Tis the season for seasonal depression during a time when we can’t safely visit family and friends. Exercise won’t solve all your problems, but it is a natural way to combat the sadness and anxiety you may be feeling (and it has amazing neurological benefits).

Finally, exercise improves your quality of sleep. People who work out in the morning tend to sleep better at night. And in general, exercise can help you fall asleep quicker and promote deeper sleep.

Read more on the benefits of exercise, according to the CDC.

Setting Up Your Home Gym

The great thing about working out is it gives you an excuse to change out of those sweats you’ve been wearing for the last five days. If you don’t already own exercise clothing, you can locate some light, breathable clothing in your wardrobe or shop online for athletic gear. Exercise shoes are recommended for indoor workouts, especially when doing cardio.

Indoor workouts also require adequate space for movement, which can be hard to find depending on your living situation. Do your best to clear a space dedicated to working out, even if that means moving around some chairs or other furniture. This could even be your warmup!

Lastly, invest in some exercise equipment. No, I don’t mean a huge treadmill or an uber-expensive Peloton bike. I’m talking about getting a yoga mat, some hand weights, and resistance bands. I have a few pairs of light weights at home, and they really do come in handy.

Add these items to your Christmas wish list or invest in them yourself. Because even after the holidays, even after winter passes, even after the pandemic eventually ends, it will still be important to get your body moving. Trust me, you’re worth the money.

Check out this list of eco-friendly workout equipment.

Online Workouts

Gone are the days of buying Denise Austin home workout tapes, thanks to the millions of free YouTube exercise videos. The endless collection can be a bit intimidating, and I don’t blame you if you’ve sifted through dozens of videos but struggled to actually get moving. That’s why I’m sharing a few channels to help you get started:

Walk at Home by Leslie Sansone

This is a great workout channel for beginners or those of us who’ve been out of practice for a while. Leslie Sansone’s effervescent personality will shine through your laptop screen as she encourages a healthier lifestyle fueled by walking. Her videos feature people of many ages, shapes, and colors, rather than the typical array of young fitspo models. Get started with a 20-minute walk, 30-minute walk, or 1-mile walk.

Keaira LaShae

As a dancer and fitness trainer, Keaira LaShae will guide you through some fun and rewarding workout routines. If you like dancing, try LaShae’s 3-mile dance workout. If you’re looking for something quick and intense, try this fast-paced 12-minute cardio workout or this 25-minute ab workout. And if you have an hour to spare, grab some small weights and follow along with LaShae’s 5-mile walk.

Jessica Smith

This one is for all the dog-lovers out there. Jessica Smith is a fitness instructor whose adorable french bulldog Peanut is sure to make you smile. For a short routine that will get you sweating, try Smith’s 10-minute express walk or 18-minute strength training. Don’t let the brevity fool you; these exercises are intense. Her indoor walking exercise will also give you a great workout (and have you wishing you were her napping dog).

Yoga With Adriene

Take a break from cardio and strength training to check out Yoga With Adriene. This channel has a yoga video for basically every scenario, from yoga for writers to office break yoga and bedtime yoga. If your mental health has been suffering lately, try some videos on Adriene’s yoga for mental health playlist. And if you’re new to yoga, try her beginners’ video.

The Villij

If you’re willing to pay for a more immersive yoga program, TrapSoul Yoga At Home is for you. Outspoken’s Amanda Davis recently did a spotlight feature on The Villij, a wellness organization that offers online yoga classes for “womxn of color.” Sign up if this type of communal experience is what you’ve been missing since lockdown.

For more great YouTube workouts, click here.

Things To Keep In Mind

  • Before you get moving, examine your personal exercise goals.
  • Try to schedule time for regular workouts, such as a 20-minute walk every day.
  • Remember to warm up, cool down, and stretch after exercising.
  • Listen to your body — take rest days as needed and stay hydrated.

–Maya Santos, Content Creator

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