Such a basic exercise, yet usually underutilized. Sometimes there is no need to go crazy, just stick to the basic, functional, calorie blasting exercises. Squats are where you will truly get the most bang for your buck (who doesn’t need that this time of year!). There are multiple muscles working, primarily the quads, hamstrings and glutes, but your whole trunk must support your neutral spine and keep your chest up. Here is a great picture of what a squat should look like:
Start with a bodyweight squat and only go as low as you can keeping good form, add weight at your chest or on the meaty part of your upper back with a weighted bar, if you need some more. If you are having problems with it, place a chair behind you, squat to tap it with your rear and then stand back up. You can also do a wall sit if you are not strong enough in your core yet and are folding forward or having pain in your low back. Make sure that your knees do not buckle in and that they do not go past your toes. Press your heels firmly into the ground and then press away as you lift up.
I hope that everyone has a great holiday season, and remember to honor your body for all it does for you!