Don’t have time to make it to the gym? The car is in the shop so you can’t drive to your aerobics class? It’s too hot or too cold outside? Don’t fret. With these five easy at-home exercises, you can exercise anytime, sending the excuses packing. You can even fit them in on commercial breaks. As with any exercise routine, talk to your doctor before you begin.
1) Planks. Holding the plank position is great for your core strength and abs. To do a plank, first get into a pushup position. Then, bend your elbows at a 90-degree angle with your elbows beneath your shoulders and your forearms on the floor. Try and keep your body as straight as possible without letting your bottom rise up in the air. If you can’t hold a regular plank position, start with your knees on the ground. You can practice several times a day with the goal of working up to holding the position for a minute or two at a time.
2) Weight lift with water bottles. If you don’t have a set of barbells, you can use water bottles or canned food. You can use them for arm exercises like bicep curls, shoulder presses and any common exercise you’d use a light barbell with.
3) Build your lower body strength. Many lower body exercises such as lunges and squats can be done at home without any equipment. All you need is a clear space with a level surface and proper footwear. Click the underlined links above for handy videos demonstrating how to do these exercises correctly.
4) Get your heart pumping. There are many cardio and aerobic exercises you can do at home. One is to run in place. Another is jumping jacks. As with squats and lunges, all you need is a non-slippery surface and good footwear. If you have a jump rope or even a hula hoop, you can also incorporate those simple and fun tools. Other options include keeping a workout DVD handy or going online to try one of the many tried-and-true home cardio workouts.
5) Stretch it out. After you’ve exercised, take time for a relaxing stretch session. Remember not to bounce your stretches and aim to hold each for 20 – 30 seconds. Find the stretches that work for you. Some allow you to sit down, such as pulling one arm across your chest for a shoulder stretch. Others allow you to lie down, such as when you bring your knee to your chest. For standing stretches, always hold on to a sturdy object to steady yourself.