Working toward a better body
As spring break approaches, many of us are starting to realize how much we have hibernated during this overly cold and snowy winter. Trapped inside our homes, we may have been eating more and working out less.
With the prospect of spring break trips and summer weather on the horizon, here are some ways to shed those winter pounds and to shape up your physique.
Work on your core and tone that tush.
Most of us gain weight around the midsection. If you’re trying to slim down before swimsuit season, you can focus on your core with isometric exercises like planks, that strengthen the abs, or wall sits, working your core, legs and glutes. These are easy to progress by increasing the length of time they are done, from 30 seconds to any number of minutes. Another way to improve your rear view is to do squats, but make sure that you follow the proper form in order to keep your knees and ankles safe. And there are always the classic exercises like sit-ups, to work the abs, and push-ups, to add arm and shoulder work, that will help to challenge your core as well.
Lengthen and strengthen.
If you’re looking for a longer or leaner physique, investigate what dance or dance fitness classes are offered in your area — these are a great aerobic and cardiovascular workout. Pilates is another great, low-impact way to shape your figure and strengthen your muscles. In addition, exercise like dance, Pilates and yoga can help to improve your posture, particularly if you spend your days hunched over a computer.
Go for a walk.
If you’ve been hibernating for a few months, one of the easiest ways to increase your activity is to lace up your sneakers and take a walk. As the American Heart Association points out, it’s easy, safe, and absolutely free! Find a way that motivates you, whether it’s in the morning on your own, walking with a friend on your lunch break, or taking the dog on a walk every night. Just be sure to wear appropriate clothing — comfortable shoes and layers of clothing that can be removed if you get hot while out and about — and remain aware of your surroundings, particularly if you’re walking in an urban area.
Eat a healthy diet.
A key part of being fit is eating well. The best way to be strong and healthy is to eat a balanced diet, even if you are cutting calories. As the latest guidelines show, limiting sugar, salt and saturated fats should be a normal part of your diet. If you evaluate your diet and realize that you’ve been eating or drinking more of this than you should, that’s a great place to cut your calories and unhealthy habits.
As always, if you are starting a new regimen, talk to your physical therapist about what you are considering. Your local Physiquality PT is an excellent resource; use our therapist finder to locate the professional nearest you.
For further reading, look through our selection of articles on fitness, in addition to the below links:
- Walk more, be healthier. March 7, 2018.
- Fueling your workout. November 8, 2017.
- New nutrition guidelines: What you need to know. December 1, 2016.
- How to do the perfect squat. January 19, 2016.
- Nutrition for stronger bones and muscles. December 2, 2015.
- How exercise can prevent disease. June 2, 2014.
- The benefits of Pilates. February 1, 2013.
- Dance your way to a better body. March 16, 2012.
- A strong core is a good foundation for any athlete. April 2, 2012.
- Stand up straight! December 2, 2011.
Mateo, Ashley. I did wall sits every day for 2 weeks — Here’s what happened. Women’s Health Magazine, December 6, 2017.
Fulmer, Melinda. Try the ‘Supermodel Workout’ — the exercise routine praised by Karlie Kloss and Chrissy Teigen. Los Angeles Times, April 22, 2017.
Why is walking the most popular form of exercise? American Heart Association, January 10, 2017.
Build a better butt with these 5 moves. Self, March 18, 2014.