HealthBest Living Room Workouts to Stay Healthy this Winter

Best Living Room Workouts to Stay Healthy this Winter

Best Living Room Workouts to Stay Healthy this Winter

There’s no denying that Ottawa winters can be utterly unbearable.

The first few months of the year always feel twice as long as the others, and by March we’re ecstatic to see the thermostat raise to “warmer” temperatures – like -15 degrees Celsius as opposed to the -25 degrees we’re used to. And while the Ottawa area offers plenty of exciting outdoor activities throughout the winter months, it can be easy to opt out of your regular gym workout and choose to curl up on the couch with a cup of hot cocoa instead.

Luckily, staying healthy and fit this winter doesn’t require trudging out into the snow and commuting to your local gym. In fact, it can be done right from the comfort of your own living room, with little to no gym equipment! We caught up with local personal trainers and fitness instructors in Ottawa to ask their advice on the most effective indoor exercises for the cold winter months. Here’s what they suggested.

CARDIO: Mountain Climbers

Mountain climbers are a fantastic way of raising your heart rate while also working your shoulders and core. Starting in a plank position with your shoulders directly above your wrists, engage your core and repeatedly pull each knee into your chest as fast as possible. To make this exercise harder and give your abdominal muscles a more intense workout, try placing two old face clothes under your feet. This will eliminate the grip you otherwise would get from your running shoes and force you to engage all the muscles in your core. If you need to relieve some of the pressure on your shoulders, try this exercise on an angle by holding onto the arm of a couch or chair.

To get the most out of this exercise, do it for 30 seconds, then break for 20 seconds while holding plank. Repeat this three times.


Lunges are a great lower-body exercise because they target and strengthen your glutes, quads, calves and hip flexors, and can be done virtually anywhere. To make a regular lunge even harder, try a Bulgarian split lunge by elevating your back leg and placing it on a firm couch or kitchen chair. The most important thing to remember when doing any variation of a lunge is that your front knee should never extend past your front foot, and it should never bend inward.

Do this exercise 10-15 times on each leg and repeat three times.


Most people are familiar with the standard pushup and have probably developed their own reasons for why they love or hate it; but there’s a reason pushups are so popular and are so often recommended by trainers: they’re incredibly effective. Pushups train your entire upper body – including your chest, shoulders, biceps, triceps, back and abdominal muscles – and there are so many great variations to pinpoint certain muscles and keep your workouts interesting. A wide-grip pushup, for example, will engage your shoulders more, while a narrow-grip pushup – where your hands are touching (or are almost touching!) – will engage your triceps. If you’re doing these in your living room, you can also place your feet on a couch or chair to target your upper chest.

Regardless of which variation you chose, try to do three sets of 10-15 pushups. Remember that you can always make this exercise easier by dropping to your knees.


Like pushups, planks exercises are great because they work multiple different muscle groups at a time and are very versatile. The standard plank can be done with your arms fully extended to work both your abs and your shoulders, or you can lower onto your elbows to target your upper and lower abdominals.

To take this exercise up a notch, try plank jacks, where you repeatedly hop your feet out wide, then back together; or plank hip dips, which involve rotating your core so that your hips fall to the left, then to the right. Another effective variation is the Spiderman plank, where you bring your left knee up to touch your left elbow and return to plank, then bring your right knee up to touch your right elbow.

If you’re choosing to stick with the standard plank, hold it for 30 seconds, then break for 10 seconds. Repeat this three times. If you’re trying another variation like jacks, hip dips or Spiderman, do 10-15 repetitions on each side, break, then repeat for a total of three sets.

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