Efficient And Cheap Ways To Exercise At Home
Get stronger and fitter with just a few props and simple moves.
As the world grapples with the effects of COVID-19, social distancing has become the new norm – at least for now. With gyms, beaches, and parks temporarily closed, and people anyway being encouraged to stay at home, it’s easy to let your exercise routine fall by the wayside. And working from home or lacking a daily routine can make it hard to keep up with any physical activity at all.
But you can get a good workout in the comfort of your own home, even if you don’t have a dedicated workout space or fancy machines. In fact, you don’t actually need any props, although a few small dumbbells can come in handy if you happen to have them.
A recent study found that people who did some form of exercise for just one hour a week had a lower risk of heart attack, stroke, and death from heart disease compared with people who didn’t do any. The two main factors that seemed to mediate this benefit were stronger quadriceps muscles (the muscles in the fronts of the thighs) and a decrease in body mass index.
Here are two exercises to try
Begin by marching briskly in place and doing some arm circles for a few minutes to warm up your muscles.
Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands on your thighs. Hinge forward at your hips and bend your knees to lower your buttocks toward the floor as if sitting down in a chair, while resting your hands on your thighs. Stop with your buttocks above knee level. Return to the starting position. This is one rep.
For an easier version of the squat, simply stand from a seated position. Use your hands to push on the arms of the chair for support, then graduate to standing without using your arms.
Stand with a weight in your left hand and a bench or sturdy chair at your right side. Place your right hand and knee on the bench or chair seat. Let your left arm hang directly under your right shoulder, fully extended toward the floor. Keep your shoulders and hips squared, and don’t arch or bend your back. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, then bend your elbow to slowly lift the weight toward your ribs. Return to the starting position. Finish all reps, then repeat with the opposite arm. This completes one set.
Try the Bend-Over exercise first without weights, just to see how it feels. When you’re ready, you can try holding a dumbbell if you have one, or some other handy weight (anywhere from 2 to 10 pounds). For each exercise, try to do three sets of eight to 10 repetitions (reps), resting between each set.
The nice thing about these exercises is that you can do them in your living room while watching television or listening to your favorite music (or an audiobook or podcast). As you become stronger, gradually increase the number of reps you perform in each set.
For examples of other exercises to add to your at-home workout, see the National Institutes of Health’s Go4Life website (go4life.nia.nih.gov).
Also, for your interest, see: 10 Quick Tips For Successfully Working From Home
Please feel free to leave us a comment. We’d love to hear your tips for easy exercise at home.