Meet Your Holiday Fitness Secret Weapon: Micro-Workouts

‘Tis the season for… not enough time to go to the gym?

If that’s you, don’t feel too bad. Many people who prioritize their gym time all the rest of the year run into way too many obligations in December to be able to get out and work up a sweat.

Though there isn’t really a way to change this reality, I’ve come upon one way to make it better: micro-workouts. They’re no solution to the potential for holiday paunch, but micro-workouts can be one way to get some of the accomplishment, movement, and rejuvenation that workouts bring—without breaking your busy pace or getting your Santa costume sweaty.

Try these short bursts of activity whenever you can, and see how they add up to some not-so-micro results!

  • Stand on one leg while waiting in line, waiting for something to cook, or folding laundry. Try tree pose from yoga, even, to add some stability – you’ll passively work some leg muscles and engage your core by making your activity more of a balancing act.
  • Need to wake up fast? Take 30 seconds to run with high knees in place by your bed, or do jumping jacks; even 30 or 40 of them will get you warmed up and make the day seem more exciting.  
  • Have a plank challenge with your friends or family; whoever can stay in the up position of a push-up longest gets bragging rights! ¥ Make a game where whenever someone says “Christmas,” they have to do 20 crunches; it’s funny and makes you stop what you are doing and work those abs. Also, it’ll make you laugh quite a bit, another good ab exercise!
  • Got small nieces, nephews, or kids? Play “airplane” with them and work your arms out a little – kids love this stuff and tiring them out with fun play means less work to get them all to bed!  
  • Dance parties are one of the best ways to keep your spirit high and they are great for bringing all family members together. Make a playlist that will get people dancing around the mantle where the stockings are hung. Even if it’s a one song jam session you get a little more activity, and often the one song will turn into a whole evening of shimmying and shaking.
  • Raising up on your tiptoes is a really small movement that works a lot of leg muscles; try doing that 30 times in a row to stretch sore muscles and make them stronger, especially if you know you’re going to have to be the one to put the star on the tree!
  • While you are putting presents out, try to add in a 60-second downward-facing dog pose; it stretches out those sore muscles in your back that tend to store a lot of stress. I feel so much calmer after this micro-workout.
  • Got a competitive family member? Instead of walking to the car or the store while out shopping, race them! A quick burst of running can warm you up and get your heart racing in almost no time.

There’s no magic substitute for a bigger workout, but subbing in a few of these in a row can be better than letting the day go by without pushing your body at all. 

Make it WayBetter

How do you inject micro-workouts into your life routine? Is there a time in your day when some fast push-ups or lunges can add a little heat without taking up tons of time? Make the micro-workout work for you.