Now that winter is well underway, there are days when harsh weather (or an annoying cold, or sick kids or a hectic new-year schedule) will keep you from making it to the gym. But that doesn’t mean your workout plans have to be scrapped. There are many things you can do right at home to stay active and stick with your exercise routine.
When I’m trapped indoors, I like to pay extra attention to an activity I tend to neglect at the gym: stretching. It feels great to take my time and really focus on each stretch when I’m at home, not having to worry about rushing from the gym to do my next errand. After a good stretching session, I move on to a full-body workout.
Working out at home is also a good opportunity to concentrate more on form, because you won’t have a lot of weight to work with. As you perform exercises, try to visualize your muscles working. Making a “mind-to-muscle” connection will help increase the effectiveness of each and every exercise.
You don’t need much for a total-body, at-home workout, but having some tools on hand can help. I recommend the Valeo Portable Fitness Kit, which comes with a jump rope, resistance tubes, handles, hand grips, an ankle strap, door attachment and more. You can use these tools to exercise anytime, anywhere—and they work for not just strength training, but for cardio as well.
Here is an easy-to-follow, at-home workout to try the next time you’re homebound. Aim for two to three sets of each exercise. You might be surprised to wake up with sore muscles the next day!
- Squats: Keep feet shoulder width apart and back straight. Concentrate on pushing through your heels when coming up.
- Kickbacks*: Hold on to back of chair.
- Leg lifts and donkey kicks*
*Use ankle weights for added resistance.
- Push ups
- Bicep curls*
- Tricep kickbacks*
- Shoulder presses and front raises*
*Use a can of soup, water bottle or milk jug if you don’t have weights.
- Bicycle: Move elbows toward opposite knees
- Oblique twist
- Broom handle twist
- Leg lifts and hold
- Plank (hold for at least 30 seconds)
- Set up cardio stations: Jog in place for 1 minute, climb stairs several times, do 20 jumping jacks, then start over.
- Alternate jumping rope and jogging in place
- Put on music and dance
Southern States Championships top contender Melissa Transou, a figure competitor, wife and mother, blogs about the unique sports nutrition needs of female athletes exclusively for Vitacost.com.