By Dec 10, 2022

12 Days of Christmas Fitness Countdown

A man dresses as santa clause walks on a treadmill

It's the busiest time of the year, so here's some quick ways to keep moving.

The holiday season can be one of the most stressful times of the year. With shopping, decorating, baking, and more—the to-do list can feel longer than Santa’s naughty and nice list some days.

Don’t let the holiday hustle and bustle keep you from healthy movement, though. Here are some fast exercises you can do while you’re handling everything else you need to do in order to celebrate the season your way.

ON THE FIRST DAY OF CHRISTMAS, MY TRAINER GAVE TO ME: 1 MINUTE OF JUMPING ROPE.

Jumping rope is a great total body workout because it increases speed and agility. It’s the perfect way to get excited about staying fit this holiday season. Even just 1 minute of jumping rope (without stopping) will leave most people sweating all over. Jumping rope is a great activity because you can adjust the intensity to almost any fitness level.

Those who are very fit can jump fast with both feet. Those who find that too challenging can do an alternate jump (where you jump with one foot at a time) for a more beginner-friendly experience.

ON THE SECOND DAY OF CHRISTMAS, MY TRAINER GAVE TO ME: 20 REPS OF BODYWEIGHT SQUATS.

Bodyweight squats are a simple exercise you can do almost anywhere and without any equipment (though it’s easy to add some weight if you want). They are great for building up your lower body strength, especially your quads and your hips.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your feet turned out slightly, then put your hands at the back of your head. Lower your body and pause when you get your thighs parallel to the floor. Rise back to a starting position, and repeat! Do 20 reps of these.

ON THE THIRD DAY OF CHRISTMAS, MY TRAINER GAVE TO ME: 30 (X10) SECONDS OF PUSH UPS.

Most of us are familiar with the classic push-up from gym class. This workout staple helps with your core and upper body strength, and doesn’t require any equipment beyond space to stretch out and get to work!

See how many push-ups you can do in 90 seconds. If you want to challenge yourself, do it twice and see if you can complete more than your first attempt!

ON THE FOURTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, MY TRAINER GAVE TO ME: 4 SETS OF SIDE LUNGES.

Lunges are another longtime workout favorite, but adding in some side lunges can help mix things up. A side, or lateral, lunge can help push your body in more places and fix potential muscle imbalances. That’s in addition to the lower body strength and flexibility benefits you’d expect. Side lunges are also good for balance and flexibility.

To do a side lunge, stand with your feet together with your hands in front of your chest. Take a big step with your left leg to your left side, keeping your feet pointed in the same direction and flat on the floor.

As you make the step, bend your left knee out and sink your hips back. Keep your right leg straight but don’t lock it, and push through with your left foot to extend and straighten your left leg. Then release the position and return to start. Repeat the process with your right leg. Do 4 sets of these for day four!

ON THE FIFTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, MY TRAINER GAVE TO ME: 5 SETS OF LEG LIFTS.

Leg lifts don’t require any special equipment beyond enough space to lie down, but they are a great way to build muscles in your lower abs and hips! Leg lifts can also help reduce your risk of lower back injury and back pain! So let’s put in 5 sets of lifts for the fifth day of Christmas!

To do a leg lift, simply lie flat on your back and then lift your legs—keeping them straight and with both feet close together. You want to lift slowly and deliberately, as building up momentum is not the goal. Instead, you want to build up muscle and control in the targeted areas. Don’t arch your back and keep your hands at your sides, and also try to avoid flexing your neck or tightening your shoulders as you lift your legs. You can also modify leg lifts to suit your body and needs.

ON THE SIXTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, MY TRAINER GAVE TO ME: 6 BOX JUMPS.

Our bodies were made to run and jump. But the older we get, the less we tend to  practice those skills. To do a box jump, find a step size that you are comfortable with. Some people can jump up onto a chair from the floor, some can jump onto a step, and some can jump over a door jam.

Even if you are just jumping onto level ground, this is a great exercise—do 6 sets. Be sure that you are wearing supportive shoes, because jumps can be hard on the ankles and knees. Especially if you aren’t used to doing them.

ON THE SEVENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, MY TRAINER GAVE TO ME: 7 REPS OF CHAIR DIPS.

Chair dips, also called tricep dips, are a great exercise for building up strength in the back of your upper arms. All you need for a chair dip is…you guessed it! A chair (or a sturdy bench). Chair dips work out your triceps, which are the muscles responsible for things like carrying grocery bags or reaching for stuff above you.

To do a chair dip, simply sit with your arms at your side and with your feet flat on the floor and about hip-width apart. Place your palms flat beside your hips and grip the edge of the seat. Move forward off the chair and extend your arms, so your butt is hanging over the floor and your heels are touching a short distance in front of your knees. Lower your body until your elbows make a 90-degree angle, breathing in as you go, and then breathe out as you push yourself back to your starting position and full arm extension. Repeat 7 times.

ON THE EIGHTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, MY TRAINER GAVE TO ME: 8 (X3) BICEP CURLS.

Bicep curls are also known as arm curls or dumbbell curls, and as you may have guessed from the name: they target your biceps. One of the most recognizable exercises, you can do bicep curls with a variety of weights, cable machines, or resistance bands to suit your needs. 

To do a bicep curl, first choose a weight or resistance that is light enough for you to perform 10 times with good form but heavy enough to challenge you. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold one dumbbell in each of your hands. Bend at the elbow and lift the weights up, keeping your shoulders and upper arms relaxed to engage your bicep. Keep your elbows tucked into your body and raise the dumbbell up to your shoulders, then return to starting position and repeat. Complete these 8 reps 3 times!

ON THE NINTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, MY TRAINER GAVE TO ME: 9 FOREARM PLANK JACKS.

If you want to combine the benefits of cardio and strengthening your core, plank jacks are a great choice! This motion is similar to a jumping jack, but in the plank position—which helps strengthen your core while building muscle in both your upper and lower body.

To do a plank jack, simply start in the plank position with your hands beneath your shoulders and with your feet together. Try to make a straight line from your head to your heels. Next, “jump” both feet out wide to either side like you’re doing a jumping jack horizontally. Stay in plank position and return your feet to the start position. Keep your back flat and your hips up as you repeat the exercise, and go for 9 reps!

ON THE TENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, MY TRAINER GAVE TO ME: 10 MINUTES OF CARDIO DANCE.

You can either look for a YouTube video to help you plan your moves, or you can just turn your speakers up loud and dance your heart out. Dance works all kinds of muscles and will really get your heart pumping, so strap on your running shoes and dance away! You may also find that dancing clears the mind and relieves stress. Shoot for 10 minutes of dancing, and enjoy!

ON THE ELEVENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, MY TRAINER GAVE TO ME: 11 SETS OF STAIRS.

If you do not have stairs in your house, find a building close by that has some (indoor or outdoor). Going up and down a set of stairs 11 times is sure to leave you hot and sweaty. In addition to the cardio, stair exercises can help you build strength in your legs for more flexibility and better balance.

ON THE TWELFTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, MY TRAINER GAVE TO ME: 12 BURPEES.

The burpee might just be the most dreaded, yet beloved, home workout tool. It uses all kinds of muscles and gets your heart pumping. If you are not up for jumping into the plank position, just step back and step forward instead. Burpees are a little higher impact than they look, so be sure you are wearing your athletic shoes for this one.

Whatever your fitness or movement goals this holiday season, KURU is here for you with completely comfortable shoes designed to support you and your body’s natural movement.

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