It’s that time of year -- where the days are short and cold, and the holiday weight is weighing heavy on you (literally). But how can you maintain an exercise regime if it’s just too cold to leave the house, or worse, you’re snowed in? We’ve got you covered with exercise options you can do at home!
Many people assume that to get their best workout, they need a gym with expensive equipment. But you can actually get a healthier, more effective workout just relying on your own bodyweight.
Find an open space at home and implement a series of exercises to help you burn fat and get a truly intense workout. There are loads of websites (and video services) with a diverse range of exercises, so pick the ones that work for you.
If you want to focus on toning your legs and glutes, choose exercises that emphasize that. If you have an injury or a delicate area, avoid exercises that will aggravate it or worsen the problem. Here are some great body-weight bearing exercises to try at home.
You can strengthen your core and tone your legs/backside with a repetition series of squats. Keeping your torso upright, while lowering your body as far as it can go by bending your knees and pushing back your hips, is a surefire way to build muscle. Your own bodyweight does all the work here, but you can always add small handheld weights to amplify intensity.
Switch to regular push-ups if you feel ready, but an incline push-up is the perfect way to get a great upper body workout without pushing yourself too hard. Instead of placing your hands on the floor, place them on an elevated surface like the stairs, an ottoman, or a chair. Make sure your body is aligned in a straight line and execute the push-ups.
Sure you can do regular crunches or sit-ups, but a hip raise works different parts of your core. Lay flat on the ground with your arms out to your sides at a 45-degree angle, tighten your tummy and core, and slowly raise and lower your hips while keeping your feet firmly planted on the ground. It may seem simple at first, but repetition is the key.
Plank position and side plank are a great way to strengthen both your core and upper body. All that is required is that you hold the position for timed intervals, no other movement necessary. If side plank is too intense, modify the position by lightly resting your knees on the ground and build up to fully elevated side plank.
Floor raises are another deceptively simple and intense workout. Ideally, you should execute them in a “Y-T-I” series. That is, with your arms outstretched at 30-degree angles to form a “Y,” perpendicular to form a “T,” and straight out to form an “I.” You can leave your toes touching the ground or also slowly raise them with your arms for a modified exercise. Repeat this series of raises and feel the burn.
You don’t actually need to find a yoga class to attend to have an effective practice. There are many DVDs and streaming yoga services, even YouTube videos and other free options, you can follow along with if you don’t feel comfortable devising your own practice. But it’s as simple as using a mat (or another soft surface) and executing a series of yoga poses in a slow and repetitive manner.
If you don’t want to follow a particular program, select the poses that you like best and implement them as you see fit. If you’ve ever attended a yoga class, you can probably at least devise a short workout for yourself. There are tons of online resources to help you build an at-home yoga practice that works for you.
Another fun and low-cost way to get an intense workout at home is to devise a hula hoop workout plan. With a hula hoop, you can get a full body workout or focus on a specific area, most often, your core. There are loads of online guides and step-by-step instructions on how to get the perfect hula hoop workout and target specific muscles and zones.
You can order a Hoopnotica DVD if you’re not comfortable working it out on your own and join a guided hula hoop workout. One word to the wise, make sure you pick a hooping area with plenty of space -- you don’t want to accidentally break something when your workout really gets going. If you’re feeling really dreary, pick a favorite song and blast the tunes, hula hooping is a high-energy, playful way to workout -- the perfect way to beat the winter blues and get the intense workout you crave.
You don’t need a treadmill or great weather to run outside, you can get an epic cardio workout in the comfort of your own home. Ever since Jane Fonda launched her aerobics empire in the 1980s, at-home cardio has been as simple as buying a VHS (or, nowadays, a DVD or finding a streaming video) to follow along with.
Subscription service Daily Burn offers a variety of cardio workouts on a daily basis that you can execute in your living room. But just like the yoga, hula hooping, and bodyweight exercises, you can devise a cardio routine all on your own. With a series of aerobic exercises like jumping jacks, running in place, and more, you can build your own high intensity cardio workout.
Make it your own aerobics classroom and hit that Spotify playlist to give you the tunes that will motivate your perfect workout. The best part of working out at home is that you get to choose the music!
Finally, if you really don’t have time for one of these routines or think they seem too daunting, start small and incorporate some exercises into your daily routine of household chores. Putting away laundry? Make it into a step routine to work those calf muscles. Time to load the dishwasher? Take advantage of your natural position and do squats.
Chatting to your sister on the phone? Do chair leg lifts to work your abs and core. Washing dishes or your hands at the sink? Turn it into an opportunity to do incline push-ups against the sink.
Sitting at a desk? Do stomach suck-ins while you work to activate your abs. Taking a coffee break? Do a wall sit while it brews. When you’re lying down to sleep at night, do some hip raises in bed.
There are a million ways to incorporate a little exercise into your daily routine. If you don’t have time to execute a full workout, start here and build up to something more ambitious like hula hooping.
Don’t let the snow and rain get you down! Keep your workout goals coming from the comfort of your own home with one of these five workout plans.
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