The end of term is the worst time for those fitness goals. Not only are all of your deadlines looming menacingly in the all-too-near future, making it seem that there is not enough time for all the revision and research, but the weather just turns grim. Most days it seems much more enticing to stay in the warm comforts of your room instead of battling your way through the rain, wind, and frigid temperatures to the gym, much less on an outdoor run! And this is the time of year when those yummy Christmas treats abound…
It’s not impossible, however, to fit in a bit of exercise to break up the monotony of study, battle the mince pies and mulled wine, and stay away from the cold. Here’s a quick 20-minute workout routine that you can do in the comforts of your room. It’s short enough to fit between study sessions, targets all major muscle groups for maximum toning, and can be repeated as much or as little as you like – 3 sessions spread through a winter’s day of study and Christmas cake is an hour of fitness, battling boredom, holiday bulge, and bitter weather!
You don’t need any special equipment for this routine, only a stable surface (a bed serves admirably). If you don’t own dumbbells, some tins of beans or tuna work a treat.
Jogging in place – 2 minutes
Cardio Round 1:
Star jumps (‘jumping jacks’) – 1 minute (jump legs in and out, taking arms up and down at the same time)
High knees – 1 minute (run in place as fast as you can, trying to lift your legs up to your chest each time)
Arms Round 1:
Bicep Curls – 1 minute (use tins of beans as weights, one in each hand; if this is too light, try a multipack or fill a shopping back with several).
Tricep Dips – 1 minute (position arms behind you on a stable surface, put your legs out in front of you, bend your elbows to 90 degrees, and push back up).
Press-ups – 1 minute (everyone’s favourite; start in a plank either with feet or knees on the floor, lower your chest towards the floor, and push back up).
Abs Round 1:
Crunches – 1 minute (bend your knees, put your feet flat on the floor, hands behind your head and lift your chest up towards your knees, to the point just before your lower back leaves the floor; repeat rapidly).
Bicycles – 1 minute (start on your back and pedal your legs as if riding a bicycle; you can twist your elbows across your body to touch your alternate knee as it comes up to your chest to make it a bicycle crunch).
Seated Cross Punches – 1 minute (sit on a stable surface – NOT a swivel chair – and twist your torso side to side, punching your arms across your body).
Legs Round 1:
Chair Squats – 1 minute (keeping your knees in line with your ankles, sit back as if going into a chair, stand up, and repeat)
Lunges – 1 minute (standing with feet together, take a large step forward, bend your knees, and return to starting position; alternate legs each time). Use dumbbells to increase resistance.
Cardio Round 2:
Burpees – 1 minute (jump straight in the air, bend down and jump into a plank with optional press-up, stand, and repeat).
Bum Kicks – 1 minute (run in place as fast as you can, trying to kick your bum with your heels each time).
Tuck jumps – 30 seconds (intense – jump up and down non-stop, bringing your knees up to your chest each time).
March in Place – 30 seconds (a bit of recovery after the last interval).
Legs Round 2:
Squats – 1 minute (spread feet apart, toes turned slightly out, and sit straight down until your knees are bent at 90 degrees; straighten legs and repeat).
Arms Round 2:
Bicep Curls – 30 seconds (as above).
Tricep Dips – 30 seconds (as above).
Press-ups – 1 minute (it’s not the most pleasant exercise but it’s a good one for chest, arms, shoulders, and even abs with the plank position!)
Abs Round 2:
Roman Chairs – 1 minute (lie on your stomach and raise your shoulders and upper back off the floor – picture reverse crunches)
Bicycles – 1 minute (as above)
Cool down with some gentle stretching.