This is the third installment of a six-part series about getting (and staying) fit and fabulous! Every Friday, we’ll discuss a different topic to help you get on track to total body fitness.
Today’s topic is “Home Exercise.” No time for the gym? No sweat. There are plenty of exercises you can do from the comfort of your home, using both your body weight and common household objects ““ give these five a try:
1. Pushups. The best part about pushups is that you can do them anytime, anywhere! Simply lie chest-down and place your palms flat on the floor at shoulder level, slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Looking forward, straighten your arms to push your body upward, remembering to keep your legs and back straight. Hold this pose for a few moments before slowly lowering your body, stopping just before your chest reaches the floor. This classic exercise works several major muscles, including your triceps, delts, pecs, glutes, abs and quads!
2. Couch Crunches. Take advantage of a chair or couch to assist you with these core-strengthening crunches that work your lower abs. Lie flat on the floor (you will need a mat if you have hard floors) facing the front of the couch, scoot forward and position your legs on top of the couch. Your knees should be bent at a 90-degree angle. Looking up at the ceiling, cross your arms and use your abdominal muscles to slowly lift your shoulder blades 1-2 inches off the floor (there’s no need to lift your whole torso). Hold the pose for a few moments, then slowly lower yourself back to the ground. Once you master this move, try the same exercise without the couch!
3. Towel Pulls. Grab a bath towel, roll it up lengthwise and grip it at both ends. Lift the towel over your head so that your arms form a “V,” gently pulling on both ends until you feel tension. Slowly lower the towel and bend your arms to a 90-degree angle. Focus on your arms, shoulders and back as you do the exercise, keeping the tension out of your neck muscles. You can also do the same exercise in the opposite direction: with your arms straightened downward into a “V” at thigh-level, slowly lift up the towel and lower it back down.
4. Squats. Let gravity give your legs, back and core a workout by doing simple squats. Stand flat with your feet positioned slightly wider than your hips and your knees slightly bent. Squat down, keeping your knees in line with your toes and pointing your rear out as if you were going to sit in a chair. Stop when your thighs are parallel to the floor and slowly raise your body back up. Throughout the squat, keep your feet flat, but shift your weight to your heels to help you push through the movement. To help maintain your balance, lift your arms straight out in front of you as you squat, or perform the move with your palms against a wall.
5. Can Curls. Don’t have dumbbells? Use canned food make your own weights. Hold one can in each hand with an underhand grip. Without locking your elbows, extend your arms down straight against your sides. Using your bicep muscles, lift your arms up in a smooth motion until the cans touch your shoulders, then slowly lower them back down to your sides. To increase the weight, use a jug filled with water or take it a step further by filling it with sand. In addition to curls, you can add can or jug “weights” to other exercises (including squats and crunches) to take them to the next level.
In addition to a home routine, try these fun and easy workplace exercises right at your desk!