Going to theme parks means lots of walking and standing. If you’re an open-to-close kind of person, you will likely walk at least ten miles a day! Even if you walk regularly at home, you are probably not walking near as much as you would in Epcot or the Magic Kingdom. So, how do we stay theme park fit while at home? Here are five exercises to help, and they can all be done at home with no special equipment!
Walking Lunges – Of course, when we walk, we use our glutes (backside) and leg muscles, specifically the quadriceps (front of the upper legs), the hamstrings (back of the upper legs), and calves (back of the lower legs). Walking lunges work all of these muscles! To do a walking lunge, stand upright with shoulders back. Step forward with your right foot and lower your left knee into a lunge position. Then, bring the left foot up to your right foot and come back up into a standing position. Repeat the lunging motion leading with your left foot. Alternate the lead foot as you move across the floor. Begin with 20 repetitions and then gradually build yourself up to 50 repetitions over time.
Mountain Climbers – This strenuous exercise builds stamina and also works the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes but adds abdominals, triceps (back of the arms), and shoulders. While we obviously use our lower body more when walking, when we are power walking at park open to get to a popular attraction, we begin to use our upper body more to gain speed. Mountain climbers are an excellent full-body exercise! To perform, place your hands on the floor, pop up on your toes, and bring one foot forward. Then, quickly shift your feet back and forth. Begin with 20 repetitions and then gradually build yourself up to 50 repetitions over time.
One-Legged Calf Raises – To further work the lower back of the legs, do this exercise. It will help prepare you for the long amounts of time you need to stand for fireworks, ride pre-shows, and in line at the theme parks! Place one hand on a wall and tuck one foot behind the ankle of the other leg so you are standing on one foot. Raise up onto your toes with the one foot and then lower. Change sides and repeat. Begin with 20 repetitions on each side and then gradually build yourself up to 50 repetitions on each side over time.
Donkey Kicks – While this exercise may have a funny name, it is one of the best exercises for strengthening your glutes! The hamstrings are also effectively worked. Position yourself on your hands and knees on the floor. While keeping your leg bent, raise your right leg until it is in alignment with your hips. Do not extend higher than your hips. Repeat with the left leg. Begin with 20 repetitions on each side and then gradually build yourself up to 50 repetitions on each side over time.
Forward and Side Planks – When we walk, our core (abdominals, oblique, and lower back) acts as a stabilizer to our movement. We need a strong core to walk and stand for long periods of time. Planking is a great way to build your core muscles. Place your elbows on the floor and raise up onto your toes. Keep your backside down and in alignment with the rest of your body. Hold this position for fifteen to thirty seconds and then transition to a side plank, resting on one elbow for fifteen to thirty seconds. Go back to the forward plank for fifteen to thirty seconds, and then perform a side plank on the other side for fifteen to thirty seconds. If you need to modify, you may also do the planks on your knees rather than on your toes.