A fitness guru spills the beans on the TOP FIVE easy-peasy home workouts you must embrace this winter.
As temperatures drop, the allure of the couch often trumps the treadmill during the chilly months.
Plus, with shorter days, dragging yourself out into the cold and darkness for a morning jog or a gym session becomes less appealing.
However, according to Holly Braithwaite, keeping snug while staying fit is totally doable if you incorporate calorie-burning routines that will also give your daily step tally a significant boost.
Make exercise achievable
Holly, PT and co-founder of lifestyle and fitness app POW8R, said: “The key thing to developing healthy habits is to make them achievable.
“Many people either can’t or don’t want to head outside during the colder months, when freezing temperatures and rain can make it a very unpleasant experience.
“Getting as much fresh air and sunlight as possible during the winter is important for keeping you in shape and boosting your mood.
“But there are some simple routines you can do at home that will keep you ticking over nicely on the days when peeking out from behind the curtains feels like watching a horror film.”
Holly’s famous five exercises can be done without any additional equipment aside from comfortable clothes and suitable footwear.
But she says adding in a kettlebell or similar weight can supercharge your progress.
“This workout should add 5,000 steps and burn around 480 calories,” she said. “If you are eating sensibly, getting enough sleep and staying hydrated, it will go a long way to helping you achieve your fitness goals.”
Holly recommends carrying out her famous five as often as you can, repeating around 10 times at first until you feel more comfortable and can add in more reps.
Start and end each session with some jogging on the spot to warm up and loosen your muscles.
Holly said: “These amazing exercises work almost every lower-body muscle, including the calves, glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps.
“That means strengthening these, plus your core, and getting your bum seriously in shape.”
Start with your feet shoulder-width part and step forward, bending the front knee and following with the trailing leg.
If you can, hold a weight like a kettlebell or heavy water bottle to increase intensity.
“The benefits of these are similar, but they have the added advantage of putting less stress on the front leg and your joints,” explained Holly.
“That makes them ideal for anyone with knee or hip issues, but they are also great for everyone else.”
Instead of stepping forwards, go backwards and sink down as your knees bend. Adding in a weight will boost the burn.
Holly said: “This is one you really do need a piece of equipment for, but the good news is kettlebells are fairly cheap to buy – you can pick them up for as little as £5 online – and they are so versatile.
“The snatch is another core-crusher as it strengthens glutes, hamstrings and quads, which means you’ll have better balance and your spine will be protected.”
Start with your feet fairly wide apart and knees bent, with both hands on the kettlebell. Then straighten your legs and stand up, pulling the weight towards your face as you rise.
Holly added: “This is a fantastic exercise that will also help shape your arms and can be done one-handed once you get the hang of it.”
It’s hard to envisage any bang-for-your-buck workout that doesn’t include a burpee – and for good reason.
Holly said: “This two-part exercise will raise your heart rate and get your sweating as it boosts endurance and improves balance.
“Burpees also increase metabolism and muscle power, so they are simply great if you are short on time or are exercising in your dining room.”
From the standing position, squat down and do a push-up before returning to standing and finish with a jump before starting all over again.
“Squats are another staple bodyweight exercise, putting your glutes, quads, hamstrings and hip flexors to the test,” said Holly.
“But doing them with this twist means you work your inner thigh muscles, or abductors, much more.
“That’s great because strong abductors means more stability in the hips and far lower risk of injuries when running or playing other sports.”
With your feet just outside your shoulders, and toes pointing outwards at a 45 degree angle, lower yourself down until your knees form a right angle, keeping your core and bum nice and tight.
Then raise yourself back up to your full height.