March is a month of transitions. One day it’s sunny and mild, while the next it’s cold and snowy. It’s enough to make anyone want to hide indoors until summer arrives.
But before you do that, remember that March also brings spring break! That glorious time we all look forward to and start planning for as soon as the holidays are over.
It’s easy to lose ourselves in the holidays and forget our daily fitness routines, which why I’ve rounded up some simple workouts that you can easily sneak in to your day wherever you may be.
The Beach Vacation Workout
There’s nothing like warming your body and spirit under the southern sunshine. And who doesn’t love taking long walks in the warm sand or jumping into the waves whenever the mood strikes you? While you are probably getting a great workout without even trying (take a walk in the sand for about 10 minutes and you’ll know what I mean), there are some moves you should be doing daily that will keep you at your best.
Start by standing on the edge of a stair or a stool with your heels hanging off the side. Or, simply stand on the floor holding some weights. Inhale, engage your abdominal muscles and exhale while slowly rising onto the balls of your feet. Repeat 15 times. Now repeat the same move on your right foot, and then your left foot 10 times on each side. This strengthens your feet (for walking in the sand), your calves and your hamstrings.
Hip bridge with leg lift:
Lying on your back with your knees bent at a 90 degree angle and your feet hip distance apart, take a breath in. Now engage your glutes and lift your hips off the floor as high as you can without arching your back. Without letting your hips drop, take your right leg and lift it up to the ceiling. Lower and lift it three to four inches three times, before placing your right foot back on the floor. Repeat with your left leg. Repeat the entire sequence 10 times with each leg. Not only will this work your hamstrings and glutes, but you should also feel your abdominal muscles contracting to stabilize your body.
You can never go wrong with classic push ups. And your body will thank you especially if you are doing a lot of swimming or participating in water sports. When doing push ups, focus on keeping your shoulders lengthening down your back, and keeping your abdominal muscles engaged. Do as many as you can and finish your set on your knees to maximize the workout.
Skiing Vacation Workout
There’s nothing like hitting the slopes and feeling the wind rush by you as you elegantly swoosh down the mountain side. But a day of skiing can leave you sore and stiff if you aren’t prepared for it. While you shouldn’t abandon your usual fitness routine, try incorporating these moves for some added strength training.
Take your squats to the next level by adding a jump. Start standing with your feet a bit wider than hip distance apart, toes pointing forward. Bend your knees until you are in a deep squat position without letting your heels lift off the floor. Take a breath and, on your exhale, use the power in your legs to shoot your body into the air. Try to land softly on your feet while bending your knees to absorb the impact of the jump. Repeat 20 times. This is a great exercise that works your calves, quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and helps to improve your cardio.
We often forget about our back muscles, but they are an essential part of the muscle group that makes up our core. Lying on your stomach, place your hands under your forehead. Inhale and, on your exhale, lift your head, shoulders and chest off the floor in a long line. Hold the position. Reach your arms out to the sides for four counts, return your hands to your forehead and lower your torso back to the floor. Repeat 15 times. You can also do this exercise on a Swiss ball. This exercise works your abdominals and your back extensors.
Side-lying leg lifts with band:
You will need a medium weight resistance band for this move. Simply tie the band around your ankles so there is some tension. Lying on your side, lift your top leg as high as you can without moving the rest of your body. Do 15 small pulses and return to your starting position. Repeat on the other side. Do each set three times.
Bonus: If you have more room, try standing with your feet hip distance apart, toes pointing forward, with the resistance band around them. Step sideways to your right. Do 15 steps (or as many as you can, room permitting) and then move to your left. Repeat each sequence three times. This move works your hip muscles and they will thank you for all the side to side movements you’ll be doing as you work your way down the slopes.
Sometimes the best kind of vacation is the kind when you just stay at home. But instead of becoming one with your couch during your staycation, why not take this time to explore your city? Become a tourist and get off the beaten path. Who knows what great finds you’ll discover? To keep your stamina up, give these moves a try.
Most cities have some hills or stairs, so keep your legs strong with walking lunges. Start with your feet hip distance apart, toes pointing forward and your hands on your hips. Take a big step forward with your right leg, while simultaneously bending your left knee until it almost touches the floor. Push off the floor with your left foot and return to your starting position. Repeat the move with your left foot. Repeat 15 times on each foot.
While exploring your city, you’ll probably be lugging around a bag and some water, so in order to keep your abdominals strong, do some crunches regularly. But let’s take them up a notch. Starting on your back with your feet in a tabletop position (bent at 90 degrees in the air and crossed if it bothers your hip flexors), hands behind your head for support only, take a breath and curl your torso off the floor, keeping your gaze at your knees. Hold and do eight small pulses before lowering yourself back to the floor. Repeat 20 times. When you are doing crunches, watch that you are not engaging your glutes (they should be relaxed) and that you are not pressing your stomach out, focus on keeping your abdominals lightly engaged the entire time.
Kneeling leg circles:
Start in a kneeling position. Lower your right hand to the floor beside you as you lift your left leg to hip height. Keeping your body stable, do 10 circles in one direction, and then 10 in the other direction. Repeat on the right leg. Do the whole sequence three times on each leg. You’ll feel this exercise pretty quickly in your hips.
Regardless of which March break vacation you choose, there is always a great workout that will help you get the most out of your precious leisure time!