If you’re stuck inside but still want to work out, read this. We’ll discuss some exercises that are easy to do at home. Stay fit without leaving the house!
We all know the benefits of exercise, and we all want them. But not everyone has the ability to squeeze an hour at the gym into their already hectic day.
This inability to exercise takes a toll on your body, both physically and mentally. It shows up in your snug clothes, your guilt when you stray from your diet, and other innumerable ways.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
You can take control of your health at home without expensive gym equipment or hours in front of peppy TV trainers.
These five exercises are easy to do at home and will help you stay in shape. All you need is your own dedication and consistency!
The mere term “squats” is enough to strike fear in the hearts — and glutes — of beginning exercisers everywhere. But they don’t have to be that bad, and the benefits are incredible.
This exercise builds your leg muscles, including the quads, hamstrings, and calves. More importantly, the repetition of squatting improves your muscle mass by promoting overall body stability.
These are the muscles you use when you’re on stairs or any type of incline. Squats enhance your body’s ability to walk on anything other than a flat surface, and to be able to balance when you do!
For a basic bodyweight squat, this is what you do:
- Stand with your back straight and your feet slightly wider than your shoulders.
- Place your arms straight out in front of your body, shoulder-level.
- With your lower back slightly arched, push your hips back and bend your knees towards the floor.
- Hold your body in place, then stand back to your beginning position.
- Repeat for 15 reps, working up to three sets of 15.
The great part about squatting is that it’s an exercise that you can modify to your skill level. Use weights to really push yourself, or grab a pole to support you if you’re still working on learning balance.
There aren’t too many all-in-one exercises that benefit the whole body, but planking is one of the few that exist.
When you plank daily, you strengthen your core muscles, improve muscle definition, and enhance your joint strength. Of course, exercise in general benefits the brain, so planks are great for your body from head to toe.
Even better, they are one of the only exercises that can be done without a lot of movement!
Ready to learn to plank? This is what you’ll need to do:
- Find a clear space, preferably in front of a mirror as you first learn. It’s recommended that you use a mat instead of a hard floor.
- In stomach position, move your elbows along the mat/floor until they are under your shoulders, then move your feet to tiptoe position.
- Take a deep breath in, then breathe out and lift your body up. Lift until your back is flat, your butt is down, and you feel your core muscles.
- Check your positioning in the mirror to make sure that the straight line is being held. Hold the position for as long as you can, aiming for 30 seconds to start. Increase the time as you go.
- Repeat, working towards a set goal. A good goal is three to five 90-second planks.
As you get comfortable with basic planks, you can modify your workout by adjusting the time and incorporating side planks into your routine.
Many people mistake yoga for an easy exercise. While the intent is to relax while you work out, the stretches themselves are nothing to scoff at.
Through daily yoga exercise, you can improve your body’s flexibility and strength. When you do it right, you’ll notice weight loss, better posture, and enhanced mindfulness.
Yoga itself doesn’t have one specific how-to guide. It depends on the stretch you’re doing. An easy beginner stretch is the seated forward bend.
- Find an open space where you can sit on your exercise mat.
- Move your legs straight out in front of your torso.
- Exhale and bend your torso forward over your legs until you feel your hamstrings nicely pulled.
- Inhale slowly, lengthening your spine and leaning forward further every time you exhale. With your feet flexed, keep the final position for five breaths.
Modify this stretch by starting with a gentle forward lean. You should feel a nice warmth as your muscles pull, but don’t push too hard. As you get more comfortable with the routine, you can modify for a tighter stretch.
Wall sits are a perfect exercise to do in between tasks. They don’t take long, and you can do them anywhere there’s free space on a wall.
This exercise targets your thighs and glutes, but it’s also good for your posture. It’s simple to do and easy to modify. And you can multitask while you do it with your phone or laptop in front of you.
- Head to an open area on a wall with a clear space in front of it.
- With your back against the wall, move your feet about 12 inches in front of you.
- Bending your knees, slide your body until your thighs are parallel to the ground in a “chair-sitting” position.
- Hold this spot, beginning with 15 seconds, then repeating.
In a modified version, you can keep a stool or chair nearby for an occasional balance check. As you get used to the positioning, get rid of the aid and work up to a minute or longer.
Half bridges are another in-between workout. You don’t need to do a lot of them, and they don’t take long. Best of all, you can do them before you even get out of bed.
This exercise targets the lower body, particularly the glutes, abs, and hips. It gives your back a nice stretch, too.
- When you are lying flat on your back, bend your knees and place your feet flat on the surface below you.
- Tighten your core, then squeeze your glutes and lift up with your hips. This position should resemble a straight line from your shoulders to your knees.
- Once in place, hold the position for 15 seconds. Drop back to the flat surface slowly, then repeat.
If you’re just beginning to exercise, this is a good one to start with. Modify it slightly by keeping a pillow below your knees if you have to. As you adjust, lose the pillow and increase your hold to 30 seconds at a time.
These exercises will help you to regain or maintain your body strength without heading to the gym.
Whether you’re working from home, doing your daily chores, or taking a few minutes out of your hectic day, you can always squeeze in a few of these movements!
Angus Flynn leads the property management team at 837 Harvard.