Healthy Living YMCA Health and Fitness

The 30-minute workout you can do at home over the holidays

A grey thera-band lays on top of a purple yoga mat on the floor.

Year after year, my gym routine crumbles in the last few weeks of December. It always comes down to a choice between braving the mall to do my last-minute gift shopping, or walking in the opposite direction to the Y, and I doubt my friends would understand if I told them I chose cardio over finding their Christmas cards.

So, for a few weeks, I do variations on this mini-workout in my living room instead. All I use is my yoga mat and a thera-band (both of which make great gifts, by the way).

1. Core

I get warmed up with this set of Pilates moves designed to strengthen your core. The Criss-Cross (move #5), is one of my all-time favourites. I top it off by planking for a minute, taking a 30-second break, and planking for another minute.

2. Arms

Next, I pick and choose a few thera-band arm exercises. I usually skip the ones that focus on the wrist and go for the bicep- and tricep-targeting moves (elbow flexion, elbow extension, and elbow extension kick back). Then I’ll do 3 sets of 8 wall push-ups.

3. Legs

Lastly, I do 3 sets of 8 hamstring bridges, and 3 sets of 8 lunges on each leg (minus the barbell).

I love this workout because I don’t have to trek through the cold and slush to do it, and the whole thing only takes about half an hour. But to be completely honest, working out at home usually makes me miss and appreciate the gym. As I was mid-plank a few nights ago, my dishwasher started beeping at me to unload it, and when I still had 2 sets of lunges to get through, my pile of unfolded laundry kept catching my eye. I’m already looking forward to getting back to the gym in the New Year, where there are no distractions and I can have some time to myself.

If the holidays have sidetracked your workout routine too, get back on the fitness bandwagon with a pass to Try the Y. Sign up now and get two weeks of unlimited access to all of our amenities and classes for free.