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If you want to burn extra calories and lightly stoke metabolism as you sleep, a quick workout before bed is the best way to do it. It also makes the transition into dreamland a whole lot easier; especially if you’re physically inactive–or sitting at a desk for hours–throughout the day. And although we’re currently in the middle of a very hot summer, a full-body workout that can be mastered inside the house will be a lifesaver come winter.
“It’s best to keep exercise on the light vigorous side at night rather than heavy like lifting big weights or an intense spin class,” says Jeff Bell, Co-Founder and Master Trainer of Belleon Body NYC. “Light exercise can increase the right amount of feel-good hormones like serotonin and endorphins to promote restful sleep while too vigorous can overstimulate and activate the fight or flight response and disrupt restful sleep.” As with any type of exercise, consistency is what will keep you motivated to maintain a pre-sleep workout with few backslides.
So whether you want to feel the burn in your air-conditioned oasis or tuck this away until the snow falls, here are five moves–all crafted and explained by Bell–that you can do in the living room while watching an episode of Queer Eye (my personal favorite).
Start with feet together and arms by your side. Step your right leg out to the side, bending the right knee and lunging into the right leg. Step back to center, then step the right leg to the front, lunging into the same leg. Return to center and repeat with the left leg. Repeat the sequence until you have completed five total lunges on each leg. This is both a great warm-up for the hips and groin, and gets your heart rate up quickly.
Start with feet together. Jump slightly into the air lunging your right leg forward landing in a lunge, immediately take another slight jump in the air. Switch legs, lunging the left leg forward into a lunge. That’s all one lunge. Repeat ten lunges on each leg. This is great for developing explosive leg power and toning the quad muscles.
Begin in a push-up stance with hands close together. Next, step the right hand out to the side and land into a bent arm position, lowering your chest toward the floor. Remember to control the descent and land softly. Return the right arm to the beginning of the movement. Next, repeat the same movement with the left arm. Repeat for 8-16 total reps. This can’t be beaten for challenging the shoulders, pectorals and triceps.
Lie face down with legs straight, toes together, and heels apart. Place both hands behind your back with elbows bent. Relax resting on the floor for a second. Next, lift your chest, elbows, and legs off the floor. Straighten your elbows, reaching your arms down and out to your sides with palms facing down. Next, swing your arms along the floor and straight out in front of your head like a breaststroke. Return your arms down by your sides and back behind your back and relax on the floor. That’s one repetition. Repeat for five to ten reps. This exercise is awesome for getting to those difficult scapula and erector muscles.
Lying on the floor with hands on your hips with knees bent, press your heels into the floor and lift both hips up while squeezing your glutes. Next, lift one leg off the floor with a bent knee. Focus on squeezing the glute of the leg still on the floor. Keeping the hips up, switch legs transferring the load onto the other leg while keeping the hips elevated the whole time. Alternate this supine leg march for twenty to thirty total reps. This is great for glute activation.