In our family, Christmas is the favorite holiday, especially Christmas dinner! We have an extremely large family, therefore, we cook for what feels like an army. In the US, it is said that the average person spends 4-6 hours in the kitchen on Christmas day preparing the usual feast! Kitchens are usually a place where we prepare calories, not burn them. Although a brief kitchen workout may not result in chiseled abs or a ripped back, 4-6 hours of working out in the kitchen by doing some simple exercises could help you make up for that feast you are about to eat!
Everyday household tasks like setting the table, washing dishes, and putting away groceries, burn around two calories per minute, but this won’t lead to any significant weight loss. But, by incorporating simple, easy-to-do kitchen exercises into your daily meal preparation, it’s possible to burn a few hundred calories before even sitting down to dinner. But besides burning calories, strength training protects bone health and muscle mass, and also improves balance and coordination, boosts energy, and, of course, makes you stronger, which are all good things for those who are either going through breast cancer treatment or have been recently diagnosed.
So, here are four ways to keep you fit & healthy while you cook your favorite Christmas meal (make sure you chug your water while doing these exercises!):
- Wall push-ups
Due to the mysterious stains that exist on many kitchen floors, doing push-ups on them isn’t very appealing. A more convenient and cleaner workout option is the wall push up, which hits a variety of muscle groups including the triceps, chest, and upper back. To do the exercise properly, face the wall and place your hands on the edge, keep your hands about shoulder-width apart. Next, step your feet backward and lift your heels up so your body is in a plank position. Slowly lower your chest toward the wall, keeping your forearms parallel to each other. Press your body back to the starting position and repeat!
- Stove Squats
There are few greater joys than watching a pale, lifeless pile of dough evolve into a golden-brown loaf of bread, but burn some calories and work those quads while you wait for that bread to cook. To do a proper “stove” squat, stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart, hold your hands out in front of you. Lower into the squat position, bending your knees to as close to a 90-degree angle as possible. Rise back up and repeat.
- Kitchen Lunges
Even without weights, these kitchen lunges give your quads and glutes a serious burn. This exercise takes up very little space and doesn’t require you to get down and dirty on the floor. To do a proper lunge, keep your upper body straight, shoulders back and relaxed, and tighten your core. Step forward with one leg, lowering hips until both knees are bent at an approximate 90-degree angle. Make sure your front knee is directly above your ankle and is not extended too far out. Keep the weight on your heels as you push back to starting position and alternate legs after each repetition.\
- Calf Raises
When waiting for that package of chicken to defrost in the microwave try working out those calf muscles with some simple calf lifts. Ideally, this exercise is done on the edge of a step or on an elevated platform, but it is still effective on a flat surface. Simply stand tall with abdominal muscles pulled in and raise your heels a few inches above the ground so that you’re on your tiptoes. Return to the starting position and repeat.
And if you want to make these a little more challenging grab some weights, and if you don’t have weights improvise with some canned goods you have in the pantry! Trust me they make a big difference! The holidays are no excuse to not have time to exercise, you can do these simple exercises anywhere!