Practical tips to help you get fit at home
Are you looking for an effective way to lose some extra weight and tone up? These basic home exercises can help you look better, feel better and put you on the path to physical fitness. The beauty of home exercise is that you can get a good full body workout without wasting time traveling to a gym, without spending money on expensive equipment, and without feeling intimidated by people who practically live at the gym. These exercises are relatively easy to do and can be modified to varying degrees of difficulty for all ability levels. So let's get started!
Prior to starting any physical activity, stretch out to warm up your muscles and prepare them for exercise. Stretching will gradually increase your heart rate and helps prevent injury. If you are unsure of how to stretch, the easiest way to do it is to go through the motion you are preparing to do extremely slowly, as if in slow motion. There is no wrong way to stretch, the general idea is to get your body gradually moving from a resting state into an active state.
Walking or Jogging
The cornerstone of any exercise routine is walking or jogging. Depending upon your level of fitness, anywhere from a 10 minute brisk walk to a 2 mile jog/walk mix and up to a 5+ mile run is beneficial to your cardio-vascular health.
The last time you picked up a jump rope was probably grade school, but believe it or not jumping rope is a surprisingly effective way to burn calories and get your heart pumping. Jumping rope is easy to do and only requires a rope.
Sit-Ups and Crunches
Tighten up that belly with sit-ups and crunches. These key exercises strengthen your core abdominal muscles which are vitally important to improving your posture and maintaining balance.
The squat is an extremely powerful exercise that works many of the muscles in your body. Be sure to move in a slow, controlled motion and feel the burn from your legs up through your core stabilizing muscles. If body weight squats are too easy for you, try adding some weight in each hand - two cans of soup or gallons of milk will do.
The classic push-up is a simple, effective way to strengthen your arms and chest. If a traditional push-up is too difficult, start out with your knees on the floor and work your way up to the classic posture. For added variations, try a different stance with your feet wide apart or alter your arm position with hands together rather than wide apart. Once you have built up a lot of strength, you may eventually be able to impress your friends with a one-hand push-up.
A more advanced exercise that you can still do at home and is the pull-up. Pull-ups will dramatically increase your upper body strength when practiced regularly. They will be extremely difficult at first, but even if you can only do one at a time, keep at it and you will soon see results. There is nothing more satisfying than tracking your progress as you go from 1 pull-up and gasping for air to 10+ pull-ups and ready for more. To do pull-ups at home, you will need a basic door frame pull-up bar that can be purchased for less than $30.
Any combination of these home exercises are a great start to help you achieve your fitness goals, whether that is weight loss or added muscle tone for the beach. A little activity every day can go a long way, and these exercises can be incorporated in as little as 15 minutes of your spare time without too much interference in your busy lifestyle. Enjoy!