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5 festive exercises you can do anywhere

Think you don't have time to exercise this holiday season? With these five moves, you no longer have excuses. Jennifer Hopper, MS, manager of Piedmont Atlanta Fitness Center, demonstrates simple exercises you can do anytime, anywhere - even when baking cookies, as she shows here.

1. Santa Claus Shuffle

The Santa Claus shuffle raises your heart rate and warms up your muscles for the strength moves to come.

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Gently start raising one knee at a time toward your chest.
  • Gradually increase the speed at which you raise your knees until you feel like you're jogging in place. If you can't move this quickly at first, don't worry! Just go as fast as you safely can and you'll get a great, heart-pounding warm-up.
  • Shuffle for at least 30 seconds, then repeat two more times.

2. Sugarplum Squats

Squats strengthen your entire lower body.

  • Start with your feet a little wider than hip-width apart.
  • Bend your knees and keep your back straight as you squat like you're sitting in a chair. Your goal is to get your hips to knee-level. Be sure your knees never bend past your toes or you'll risk injury.
  • Squeeze your glutes as you return to standing.
  • Perform three sets of 15 repetitions.

3. Peppermint Plank-to-Pushup

This move strengthens your entire core, your chest and your arms.

  • Place your hands a little wider than shoulder-width apart on a countertop.
  • Walk your feet back until your body forms a straight line, resting on the balls of your feet and keeping them about shoulder-width apart.
  • Lower your chest and bend your arms until they're at about a 90-degree angle. Keep your abs tight and your back flat.
  • Hold this position for a few seconds, then push up to the top of the plank. Lower down again and then press up to your starting position.
  • Complete three sets of 15 reps.

4. Candy Cane Crunches

These crunches help with your balance and work your abdominal muscles. They are great for people with neck issues who feel pain during traditional floor exercises.

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Extend your arms straight in front of you at shoulder height or straight overhead.
  • Lift one leg straight in front of you as you crunch your abs and bring your arms to the extended leg. Then switch and lift your other leg.
  • Focus on squeezing the muscles between your ribcage and hipbones.
  • Don't worry about counting reps - just aim to do these crunches for about 30 seconds. Then repeat once more.

5. Hot Cocoa Calf Raises

This exercise strengthens your calf muscles and helps with balance.

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Rise up onto the balls of your feet, hold for one to two seconds and then gently lower.
  • To make the move more challenging, hold something in your hands, like a rolling pin, to add some weight.
  • Do three sets of 15 reps, then you're done!

Ready for more exercises? Check out Living Better's fitness video library here.

Need to make an appointment with a Piedmont physician? Save time, book online.

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