Double-duty opportunities to lose weight

Julie Raffensperger
Associate Features Editor

Shoveling snow is a great workout for your back and arms and the best part is it’s free.

With the holidays in full swing, many people are feeling (and maybe even seeing) the full effects of the inevitable overeating. The combination of delicious holiday dishes and a schedule jam-packed with finals, packing up to go home for break, and taking care of any and all items on your busy “to do” list can be deadly. All of that eating and stress, not to mention zero time for working out, can leave anyone feeling less than their best.
Whether you are heading home for the holidays or have other plans, working out can be incorporated into your busy day no matter what. With a little creativity, simple chores can be turned into an awesome cardio workout. Doing the dishes, mopping, or yard work can be turned into simple little exercises that leave you feeling less guilty about indulging in one too many Christmas cookies.
Dirty Dish Dips
• Areas worked: chest and arms.
• Starting position: Face the sink, hands on the edge of the countertop, arms straight; position feet slightly farther than arms-length away from the counter so that your body is at a slight angle.
• Action: Without bending at your waist, slowly bend your elbows and lower your chest toward the counter. Dip your chest toward the counter as far as comfortably possible before returning to your starting position. Repeat 5 to 10 times.
• Tip: Make sure the counter and your hands are dry and you’re wearing shoes that won’t slip.
Backyard Twists
• Areas worked: arms, shoulders, stomach, back, and sides.
• Starting position: Grip rake in both hands, right hand lowest on the rake handle; arms extended to make a long rake stroke.
• Action: Reach the rake out as far as you can, and pull debris back toward your left foot by taking long, steady strokes while twisting your hips and upper body to the left. Do half of your raking with this motion, and then move your left hand below your right on the rake handle and do the rest with a left-to-right twisting motion.
• Tip: Start by raking for only a few minutes with this motion and work your way up as you get stronger. This motion works well when sweeping floors, too. Consult your health care provider first if you have back problems.
Squeaky Clean Squats
• Areas worked: arms, thighs, buttocks.
• Starting position: Stand with one bucket handle gripped in each hand, feet shoulder-width apart; back, arms, and legs straight.
• Action: Keep your arms straight down at your sides while you slowly squat by bending at the knee and hip joints. Lower yourself until your thighs are roughly parallel to the ground, then return to starting position. Repeat 10 times.
• Tips: To avoid injury, keep your knees centered over your toes when squatting, do not allow your thighs to dip beyond parallel to the ground, and keep your back straight.

Washing your dirty dishes after all your holiday dinners and parties really works out your arms.

When asked what she thought of these tips and if they would work, senior Madison Steele commented, “Yeah it definitely works. I wasn’t going to buy a gym membership for break but I can get a workout just doing stuff around the house.”
Senior Nick Villalata stated, “It seems like a good temporary substitute if you do not have time to go to the gym.”
Everyone knows how difficult it is to make time or get motivated to go to the gym on any given day. Trying to do it during the holidays is much more difficult. People’s schedules are twice as hectic during this time, so these workout tips are a great way to relieve stress easily.
The trick to making these chores, or really any activity around the house, into an effective workout is to get creative! Play some music to get you motivated and pick up the pace.
Even shoveling, which is bound to happen in the upcoming months, is a great workout during the holidays. Pick up the pace, get moving, and have fun shedding those additional holiday pounds!