Gemma Ferguson offers some quick and easy exercises to help you warm up this winter!
As an August baby, I know the struggles of winter. I could never have a pool party, getting up for school in the mornings was a fight with the frost, and the roaring fire was my best friend. As I’ve grown up, I haven’t gotten any better at winter, and staying at home for work and uni over the last few months means that some days I barely even get out of bed.
As a result, I found myself feeling below average. My immune system took a hit, which is less than ideal in flu season (not to mention the global pandemic), I wasn’t getting any sunlight, and the only physical movement I’d done was walking back and fourth from the fridge. However, I soon realised the answer to my problems: exercise!
It might sound beyond obvious, but exercise in winter is so important. I hadn’t totally understood this because this winter is the first time I haven’t been out and about almost every day of the week. This time last year, I was walking from my job (in Carrington) to class (in the city) every few days. On the weekends, I’d go out rollerblading with friends or hit up a local café. I was soaking up more than enough Vitamin D, getting my blood pumping with a brisk walk, and taking in lots of fresh air. COVID-19 has changed the way we do a lot of things, and physical activity is one of them. Rather than getting our steps in through our daily activities, we now need to make time and actively pursue exercise. But where do we start? What do we do?
I’ve put together this list of quick “winter warmers” to help you battle those cold winter mornings (and evenings!). These short exercises will get your heart rate up quickly, meaning you’ll be warm in no time. Combine them for a full workout, or just pick and choose whichever ones you like to best warm up before your walk/jog. These will get your blood flowing, and can be done in just a few minutes. Most don’t even require equipment!
I picked up a great skipping rope from Kmart just recently. It tracks your kilograms and kilojoules burned, and even has different modes and settings! Lots of stores also sell weighted skipping ropes, or speed skipping ropes, which can help with muscle and cardio training. But you don’t have to get high-tech equipment for this exercise, any kind of skipping will get your heart rate up, and it’s easier on your joints than running (not to mention more fun)!
Star jumps are one of the best exercises to get your blood pumping, and they don’t require much room or any equipment! Routines that include cardio vascular exercises such as this are also great for improving stamina. Star jumps are quick and safe to do, and they work. Depending on your weight, a minute of star jumps can burn anywhere from 8 to 16 calories – hello fitness!
If you’re a little more confident in your ability to balance, and you know the correct form for a squat, squat jumps are a great way to warm your body up. Not only will you burn fat, but you’ll work your lower abs, quads, calves, and glutes! These are also quick and can be added into your routine regardless of space and equipment. Plus, a quick YouTube search can show the massive difference this exercise can make – just 100 a day for a month has some impressive results! The same videos can also help you with your form, if you’re not quite sure but want to give it a go.
I’ve left the best (and, in my personal opinion, worst) to last: burpees. These bad boys will work just about every part of your body you can think of – hips, legs, arms, abs, back, chest, everything. They require a little more space, as you need to be able to lay flat on the ground and jump up with your hands in the air, but they’re still quick and effective. Getting the form right on these can be tricky and will probably leave you feeling pretty sore if you do a lot of them (the main reason I dislike them) – but there’s no denying it: they work! Burpees will have your heart racing in no time.
Obviously I’m not a health professional, but I’ve been trying some of these and personally have found them to be very effective. You might not like all of them (I’m looking at you, burpees) but I recommend giving them a go if you’re comfortable. These will warm you up in just minutes, and even this short burst of exercise can help you feel energised and ready to tackle the day (no matter how cold that day is). What are some winter warmers you’ve come to love this season? Let me know, and I’ll try them!