Exercise is a great way to stay healthy and relieve stress, but it can be challenging to fit in movement around the holidays. The experts at The Fitness Institute of Texas (FIT) in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Education at UT Austin have designed an exercise circuit perfect for the holiday season.
This circuit can be done almost anywhere and only takes a few minutes. You don’t need to worry about going to a gym. Find space at home or step outside and try this “12 Days of Christmas” Workout Challenge.
The following workout follows the format of the song “12 Days of Christmas”! Start with the first-day exercise and continue until you have done all 12 exercises. Beginners can do one round through the circuit; advanced exercisers can do three or four rounds. Do what works for your fitness level.
Don’t forget to stretch before and after, and take water breaks as you need them.
On the 1st Day of Fitness my FIT trainer gave to me: One Burpee
From the standing position, bend the knees and place the hands on the ground in front of the feet. Keeping shoulders over the wrists, hop or step the feet back into a plank position, making sure the hips stay up and the core stays engaged. To come back up, hop or step the feet toward the hands and explosively jump into the air, raising the arms above the head.
On the 2nd Day of Fitness my FIT trainer gave to me: Two Inchworms
From standing position, hinge at hips, taking hands to the ground and walking hands out to the plank position. Walk hands back toward the feet and come back up to the standing position. Keep core tight throughout entire movement.
On the 3rd Day of Fitness my FIT trainer gave to me: Three Bridges
With knees bent and core tight, press through the heels and lift the hips off the floor, squeezing the glutes and hamstrings. Slowly lower the hips back to the floor.
On the 4th Day of Fitness my FIT trainer gave to me: Four Push Ups
With spine in neutral and shoulders over the wrists, bend the elbows slowly to 90 degrees while also lowering the body toward the floor. Be sure to keep the hips up and core tight during the entire movement. Do not let the lower back drop! Press through the hands to extend the elbows and raise the body back to start.
On the 5th Day of Fitness my FIT trainer gave to me: Five Squats
Put weight in the heels as if sitting hips back into a chair. Keep chest up and knees tracking in line with the toes.
On the 6th Day of Fitness my FIT trainer gave to me: Six Mountain Climbers
Keep hips down, core tight and shoulders over the wrists as knees alternate moving in toward the chest.
On the 7th Day of Fitness my FIT trainer gave to me: Seven Reverse Lunges
Keeping torso upright, core tight and toes facing forward, step back and drop knee toward the floor while simultaneously bending the front knee to 90 degrees. Return to the start position by straightening the legs and stepping the feet together.
On the 8th Day of Fitness my FIT trainer gave to me: Eight Single Leg Hip Hinges
Keeping spine in neutral and standing leg slightly bent, hinge at the hips until your torso is parallel to the ground. Both sides of the hips should stay even and the core tight as you move.
On the 9th Day of Fitness my FIT trainer gave to me: Nine Bird Dogs
From the quadruped position, engage core and slowly lift the opposite arm and leg off of the floor. Imagine having a glass of water on the hips – no water should spill as the arm and leg extend.
On the 10th Day of Fitness my FIT trainer gave to me: Ten Jumping Jacks
Keep the knees soft and core tight while hopping the feet apart and moving the arms together overhead.
On the 11h Day of Fitness my FIT trainer gave to me: Eleven Side Kicks
Keep core tight and engaged as you alternate the legs kicking out to the side of the body. Knee of the standing leg should remain slightly bent.
On the 12h Day of Fitness my FIT trainer gave to me: Twelve Plank Ups
From the hand plank position with shoulders over wrists and core tight, lower the forearms to the floor. To get back to start, place the hands under the shoulders and press up into hand plank.