Sarah Wassner Flynn is a New York City-based writer. She's contributed to magazines such as CosmoGIRL!, National Geographic Kids, Runner's World, Women's Health, Prevention and MetroSports New York. She is also the author of The Book of ...
With all of that turkey, ham, stuffing and pies, holiday cooking and healthiness don't necessarily go hand-in-hand. Add the pressure of preparing a perfect meal, and the holidays can be an all together stressful experience on your body and mind. But there are ways to stay slim - and happy - as you slave away in the kitchen this season, says dance and fitness guru Helene Phillips season. She's offering fun and easy fitness tips to try in the kitchen. Read on for her ways to cut calories and stay sane while you're cooking!
Whistle (and dance) while you work
One way to keep your holiday cooking experience happy? Turn on some tunes (your favorite seasonal songs or dance music will do) and let the quick tempo guide you around the kitchen. You'll get into the holiday spirit while tapping your toes and swaying your hips to the beat. Plus, if the cooking stays enjoyable, then it'll be a fun experience overall, notes Phillips.
When you've got four pots bubbling over on the stove and a turkey cooking in the oven, it's easy to get a bit tense. So stop the stress by breaking for a quick breathing exercise. Just a few deep breaths will increase the supply of oxygen to your entire body and help you relax. Phillips recommends lifting your hands and arms high into the air to fill your lungs with a deep inhale. Then, lower your arms and place them on the kitchen counter as you exhale. To add a relaxing stretch, look down at the floor with your hands on the counter, bringing your chest forward, making your upper body parallel to the floor. You should feel a stretch down the backs of your legs and in your shoulders and upper back. Stay in this position and take a few more deep breaths, inhaling through your nose and out through your mouth.
All of your prep work cutting into your gym time? Then do a workout right in your kitchen. When you go to pull out the pots and pans under the kitchen counter, try squatting down next to the pot instead of bending over. Then, grab the pot with two hands and hold it close to your body. Inhale, then stand and exhale, pulling in your abs as you straighten your legs. This mini exercise strengthens your arms and legs and saves your back from strain. Best yet, it can be done repeatedly while waiting for something to heat up.
Countertop push ups
Another quick way to get fit in the kitchen is to do some push ups right on the counter. Phillips advises that you place your hands on the counter, keeping your arms in line with your shoulders, with your feet about two feet back. Make sure your body is in one diagonal line from your toes to your head, keep your chin down, head back, and pull your belly button in while relaxing your neck and shoulders. To begin the push up, bend your arms, keeping your elbows close to your sides and touch your chest to the counter. The only movement should be coming from your arms, with your elbows going straight back and close to your body. Do 10 reps, rest, and then do 10 more for an awesome tricep, shoulder and chest boost.