With Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner, that time of year when health goals go out the window is fast approaching. This also tends to be the busiest time of year, making finding balance in your life even more difficult than it already is.
Although it may feel like you don’t have the time, making an effort to schedule in even just fifteen minutes of exercise each day will positively impact not just your energy levels and physical health, but also your cognitive functioning. Building muscle tissue also raises your metabolism, helping you burn off that turkey dinner.
But where should you start? Here are 8 simple exercises that you can do at home to start building your strength. Each move should be repeated for 60 seconds, making this routine less than ten minutes from start to finish.
Equivalent to six crunches, roll-ups target your upper abs. Start by lying on your back with your legs straight. Slowly peel your spine off the mat and come into an upright seated position, raising your arms above your head as you do so. Roll back down to starting position with control.
Single Leg Drop
Starting in the same position as you did for roll-ups, lift your legs so your toes are pointing towards the ceiling. Place your palms on the mat below your tailbone to support your lower back, then slowly lower your right leg until it is just hovering above the floor. Slowly bring it back up. Repeat on the left leg. Too easy? Try moving both legs at the same time.
Start by sitting upright with your legs bent in front of you (similar to sit-up position). Clasp your hands together and point your elbows towards the walls on either side of you. Keeping your hands clasped, twist to tap one elbow to the floor beside you. Come back up to starting position and repeat on the other side.
Bulgarian Split Squat
To do this Kim Kardashian favourite, place the top of your left foot on a chair or table behind you. Bend the supporting leg to come down into a squat. Straighten your leg and repeat on the other side.
Stand with your heels together and your toes turned out at a 90-degree angle. Lift your heels off the mat and focus your weight onto your big toes. Drop the heels and repeat.
From standing, lean forward and place your hands on the mat. Keeping your legs straight and your head between your shoulders, bend your arms so that your forehead taps the floor. Straighten your arms and repeat. Be careful with this move if you tend to get back pain and modify as needed.
Half Cobra Pushup
Lie on your stomach with your palms next to your armpits and your elbows tracking backward. Push your upper body up off the mat to decrease the bend in your elbow, but don’t straighten your arm completely. Lower yourself back down and repeat.
Press your palms and elbows together, then raise your elbows so that they’re level with your chin. Keeping everything pressed together, raise your elbow so that it’s level with your nose. Repeat.
And there you have it! These eight moves are all you need to target the main muscles in your body. For best results, follow up these exercises with a homemade protein shake to encourage muscle repair and growth. It’s also a good idea to take a few minutes (or more!) to stretch before and after your workout to improve your flexibility, which will make the moves easier each time you do them.
Finally, think about exercise as an opportunity to take some time to focus on you each day rather than a chore. You deserve to put your health and wellbeing first.