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Winter Got You Down? Stay Trim with These Indoor Exercises

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The sky is gray, the weather is gross and all you want to do is get a little exercise. Well, fear not. There are plenty of indoor exercises that you can do to get your heart pumping and your calories burned, whether there's a foot of snow outside or days of nonstop rain. Try out one of these easy and inexpensive workouts. 

Jumping rope 
Forget playground double dutch from elementary school and think about Rocky instead. Jumping rope is popular with many boxers and gym enthusiasts for how quickly it can burn calories and deliver a good cardio workout. It also takes up very little space - perfect for an indoor activity. 

If you find yourself struggling to string together a 20- or 30-minute jump rope session, consider doing several sets with breaks in between to catch your breath. 

Try side planks as an alternative to traditional planks.

Planks, crunches and push-ups 
These three body weight exercises are often done in combination with one another. Try doing crunches and planks, or planks and push-ups, or even all three together. Push-ups will work your arms and chest, while crunches exercise your abdominal muscles. Planks cover the whole core and can be very difficult when you start. 

To do a plank, get in push-up form. Then, instead of lowering yourself and pushing back up, hold yourself on your elbows and toes with your belly as parallel to the floor as possible. You can either start with push-ups or crunches before transitioning into planks.

A musical circuit 
At home, you don't have to worry about dangling ear buds or sweaty headphones. Crank up that stereo and do a circuit workout to the music. The rhythm can help you move more easily and make your routine feel easier. Look online for workouts designed to specific songs or create your own to your favorite tunes. 

Squats and lunges
Like planks, push-ups and crunches, squats and lunges are often connected in indoor workout routines. Start with a set of squats, then shift to lunges and repeat as many times as you can in 10 minutes. You'll work on several muscle groups as well as endurance and flexibility. 

Running stairs
Pretend you're a college athlete running stadium steps in your own home. Running up and down your stairs in quick succession will get your heart and lungs working hard, strengthen your legs and help with agility. 

One of the best parts of an indoor winter workout is that your cool-down smoothie is only minutes away. Keep your performance blender handy for a great post-workout snack, loaded up with nutritious fruit and veggies. 

Consult your doctor before beginning an exercise routine to make sure you're ready for athletic activity. These are suggestions for workouts, not strict directives.