Keeping movement in our lives can be especially challenging during the holiday season. Between increased obligations and stressful travel plans, many of us struggle with maintaining the exercise and stretching our bodies need this time of year.

I am always on the lookout for simple exercises that can be done at home or in a hotel room with little to no equipment, and this modified Pilates push-up is one of my favorites. I’ve added some stretches and challenge options to the basic push-up, so you can add as much or as little as your body wants at the time. All you need is a mat and 10 minutes to keep it movin’ during the holiday season!

Modified Pilates Pushup

– Stand at the edge of your mat with feet hip-distance apart and your arms straight up towards the ceiling.


-Tuck your chin to your chest and slowly roll your spine down towards the mat, one vertebra at a time.

-Reach your hands towards your feet and enjoy a hamstring stretch as you keep heels planted firmly into the mat.


– Activate your core by pulling your belly button into your spine and slowly walk your hands to the far edge of the mat until you are in a plank position.


– Hold this static plank as long as you are able – my goal is usually 60 seconds. Remember to keep your belly pulled up and hips level.

– If you’d like an additional challenge, bend your elbows to bring your upper body towards the mat for tricep pushups. Aim for a set of 5.


-Return to your full plank and slowly walk your hands back towards your feet until you reach a downward dog position.

-Stay here for 30 seconds, enjoying the stretch. You can ‘walk the dog’ by stepping your feet up and down, or open hips by rotation one hip bone at a time towards the ceiling.


-Continue walking your hands to your feet, allowing the hamstrings to stretch one more time.


-Slowly roll up, articulating each vertebra until you reach your original position.


Simple exercises and stretches like this can be done anywhere and help you feel your best over the holiday season and beyond.

Merry Christmas!

~Mary Vanko

Out take – Thanks to my little helper!