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Ester Marsh column: Emergency workout

As I mentioned last week, it’s important to exercise throughout the holidays but sometimes they make it hard to stick to your workout schedule. So I wanted to give you an “emergency” workout which you can do anywhere. Your house, hotel, family or friend’s house — all you need is yourself.

The following workout is for anyone. You can do these exercises seated or standing and all you need is your body. If you like to work out to music, put your headphones on or turn on your radio/MP3 player. When I do this work out, I use music and a timer:

• Five minute warm up: Walk in place or dance, in chair tap your feet and move your arms

• One minute alternating knees up: any of these exercises can be done high impact (run on place and knees up) low impact (march and knees up) or seated in chair.

• One minute alternating kicks.

• One minute knees side to side

• One minute kicks side to side (on chair kick towards outside)

• One minute jump side to side or step touch sideways or on chair feet go side to side (step left, right foot closes and touch and step right, left foot touches)

• Three minute jog, march, or seated alternating tapping feet and move the arms

• One minute shuffle: feet go forward and backwards, low impact bring one foot back then the other, seated feet alternate forward and backwards (a bit like cross country skiing except you don’t go forward)

• One minute ice skating: jump side to side using your arms too or step side to side. On chair the same as step touch but this time you lean forward and swing your arms side to side.

• One minute jog or march or sit in place and arms go up and down

• One minute jumping jacks: low impact step touch (with jumping jack arms) seated jumping jacks.

• One minute shadow jump rope: (pretend you have a jump rope in your hands) same for low impact and seated.

• One minute twist high or low impact on chair: carefully twist upper body (if you have a bad back, don’t twist just move the arms as you would twisting)

One minute “can can:” one leg knee up down then kick go to other leg.

• One minute march: bring arms up and breathe deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth.

• On floor, if you don’t have a mat, use a towel

• One minute crunches: (on back hands behind head elbows wide) bring belly button towards inner spine and lift shoulder blades off ground. Seated: hold on to side of chair and lift knees up together. (Pull belly button in.)

• One minute obliques: same start as crunches, now bring right elbow towards left knee (does not have to touch) and left elbow towards right knee. Seated: same as knee lifts, hold hands on shoulder and go towards opposite knees.

• On stomach, arms next to your ears, lift right arm and left leg, alternate (does not have to be high — engage the muscles and go to where it feels comfortable) head stays in extension of your spine (looking towards floor). On chair: one arm goes all the way up and the other is pointing down, when top arm comes down lower arm goes up, alternate. Do these also for one minute.

• Plank: on stomach, I will give you numerous options, shoot for one minute.

• Option one: on elbows and feet, lift body off ground, strong in shoulders and in core and hold

• Option two: same but leave your knees on the ground

• Option three: on hands and feet, lift body off ground

• Option four: same with knees on the ground

For the seated exercise: suck your belly in while continuing to breathe and tighten up your abdominals hold for 5 to 10 sec release repeat 5 to 10 times.

• On your side, lift top leg straight up and down holding foot parallel with the floor, one minute each side

• Top leg bends and crosses over bottom leg: lift bottom leg up and down, one minute each side.

• Option from chair: lift knee move to outside and back, one minute each side

• Option from chair, extend one leg to front turn foot out lift up and down, one minute each side.

• On back, knees are bending and off the floor, arms sideways and palms are down, move knees side to side one minute.

• Chair option: arms in towards chest — turn to right open arms wide, come back to middle with arms in and turn towards left opening arms wide, one minute.

This will take you about 30 minutes; if you want to go an hour do this workout twice. You can also cut the one minute to 30 seconds or even 15 seconds. Or, if it’s easier to count, you can do 10 repetitions, 15, 20 or 25 reps.

Stretch! Lengthen each muscle you just worked, hold for about 30 seconds or 3 sets of 10 seconds. Don’t bounce and don’t stretch too far. A little discomfort is OK, but pain is not.

You can also download our free app FTC Rowan County YMCA. Many workouts are on there you can do with just your body weight. It also has great video explanations of the moves with a timer to start and finish your exercises including challenges that keeps you going throughout the holidays! In many of the videos, it’s our own YMCA team doing the exercises, including yours truly. Enjoy and keep moving!

Ester H Marsh, Health & Fitness Director JF Hurley Family YMCA



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