Skip to main content
You are the owner of this article.
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
You can get and stay fit during the holidays, even if you do it at home

You can get and stay fit during the holidays, even if you do it at home

Support this work for $1 a month
Refresh holiday fitness

The holidays are no reason to stop or put off exercise, say those at the BAC for Women, including from left, Jill Seguin, group fitness director; Jen Maduri, sales director and personal trainer; Debbie Hastings, fitness director; and personal trainer Lacey Woite. 

It doesn’t take a pandemic – or the holidays – for Debbie Hastings to hear the most familiar excuse about why exercise went by the wayside.

“People will say, ‘I don't have time,’ ” said Hastings, fitness director at the BAC for Women. “You can make time, even if it's 5 minutes, to move your body and improve not just your physical health, but also your mental health.”

She and her staff have soldiered through almost two years of on-again, off-again group fitness classes and personal training sessions at the 31,000-square-foot fitness center in the Town of Tonawanda.

They resorted to online trainings when Covid-19 closed the BAC from March 16 through August last year, and again during more than half of the 2020 holiday season. Virtual group classes have continued, and small group and personal training classes will do so again soon. 

The adjustment has been worth it for those who participated in any form – just as it is for anyone who chooses to exercise safely in a studio or at home during coming weeks as the Delta variant fuels the latest regional pandemic peak.

“If you're moving and eating right, it snowballs,” said Jill Seguin, BAC group fitness director. “You sleep better. You wake up and you're more energized. You want to keep eating better, and then your workouts get better.”

Exercise is a not-so-secret ingredient for better health and wellness any time of year.

“Don't wait for a New Year's resolution,” Hastings said. “Start now.”

If fitness has become a lost art in your life, check with a primary care provider before launching an exercise routine.

Start with a 15-minute workout three times a week and build from there.

Warm up beforehand with a short walk or by climbing the stairs a few times. Stretch for five minutes afterward.

As you build momentum, a personal trainer can set up a personalized training regimen and guide you through related exercises. This assures proper form and reduces injury risk. If you have a chronic illness or limitations, a physical therapist can help.

WNY Refresh asked BAC trainers to demonstrate four resistance exercises you can do at home. Try up to three sets of 12 reps each, splitting up the sets if time is limited and reducing the number of reps if a dozen are too strenuous.

This will go a long way toward the 150 minutes of moderate cardiovascular and strength training Americans should tackle each week.

Control your motion to create the greatest challenge and get the most benefit. Exercises can be done with modifications, in their basic form or, for those who want a more challenging workout, with advanced movements.

All will help build muscle mass, which is metabolically more active than fat mass, so you will burn more calories – even at rest.

Lacy Woite of BAC for Women demonstrates burpees.

BURPEES

Modified

From a standing position, place both hands shoulder length apart on the bench, chair or couch. Step back into a pushup position, first with the right leg, then the left. Step back in, stand up tall and raise your arms and hands as high as they can go. Repeat.

Basic

From a standing position, place both hands shoulder length apart on the bench, chair or couch. Jump back with both legs into a pushup position. Jump back in, stand up tall and raise your arms and hands as high as they can go. Repeat.

Advanced

Move forward onto the floor hands first and spring both legs back until you are in a pushup position. Do a pushup. Spring back up to a standing position and into a jump. Land in a squat position. Repeat.

All three versions provide a full-body boost; the advanced version provides the most cardiovascular and core muscle benefits.

Jill Seguin of BAC for Women demonstrates push-ups.

PUSHUPS

Modified

Lay on your stomach. Place the knees firmly on the ground and slightly bend up both lower legs. Align the hips and knees, and the hands with shoulders. Breathe out as you push up the body, leaving only the hands and knees on the ground. Hold for two seconds. Breathe out as you slowly lower your body, brushing only your chest on the ground. Repeat.

Basic

Lay on your stomach. Place the tips of your toes firmly on the ground. Align the hips and toes, and the hands with shoulders. Breathe out as you push up the body, leaving only the hands and toes on the ground. Hold for two or more seconds. Breathe in as you slowly lower your body, brushing only your chest on the ground. Repeat.

Advanced

Move hands closer together so that the thumbs almost touch and the index fingers almost touch, creating a diamond shape. Do a basic push-up. While in the upward position, touch the right elbow to the left knee, then the left elbow to the right knee. You also can move the elbow to the knee on the same side for greater rigor.

All three exercises strengthen the upper body and core while improving balance. The advanced push-up hits the triceps harder. Widen the hands in that exercise to focus more on the quads and chest.

Debbie Hastings of BAC for Women demonstrates mountains climbers.

MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS

Modified

When you can't get down to the floor, do a standing high-knee pull. Put your arms over the head and cup your hands. Bring them down in front of you toward your waist as you raise one leg at a time and touch the knee to the cupped hands. Repeat.

Basic

Get into a plank position with your toes and hands on the floor. Slowly drive the right knee forward toward the right elbow. Hold for a second, then return to the plank. Do the same with the left knee to the left elbow. You should feel your abdomen tighten. Repeat.

Advanced

Do the modified movement but add speed as you move. You also can move the opposite knee toward the opposite elbow to more directly hit the oblique muscles. Add more reps to burn more calories and build more muscle.

“People have to remember their own body weight is resistance,” Seguin said. “Everything weighs something, so if you’re doing arm circles, your arms weigh something. If you’re doing knee pulls, like Debbie is doing with the mountain climbers, you’re knee weighs something."

Jen Maduri of BAC for Women demonstrates squats.

SQUATS

Modified

The key to a correct squat is making sure the knees stay behind the toes. This lowers the chance of injury. Squatting above a chair or bench can help with form. With your weight on your heels, begin to push your butt back as you tighten the abs. Lift and tighten the chest while lengthening the back as you lean back slightly, bend your knees and lower yourself toward a seated position. Move slowly and deliberately. Return to a standing position. Repeat.

Basic

Do a modified squat. When you return to the standing position, do a slow calf raise before the next squat.

Advanced

Do a modified squat but as you come up, explode into a jump before coming down into the next squat. Add reps for a greater cardiovascular benefit.

Squats strengthen the core and lower body, Seguin said. “You want to make sure it feels good on your knees, on your back, on your hips, landing nice and soft, (with) the weight going into those muscles and not the joints.”

The Buffalo News: Good Morning, Buffalo

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

News Alerts

Breaking News