MealEnders Blog

Tami’s Tips: 5 Home Exercise Programs

For When There’s Just Not Enough Time for the Gym!

By Tami Lyon, MPH, RD
October 07, 2018

home exercise programs
 

Regular exercise has many health benefits. Exercise is important for cardiovascular health, muscle and bone strength and, when combined with a healthy diet, can aid in weight loss. In addition, exercise can contribute to happiness, increase energy levels, delay skin aging, improve sleep quality, and even reduce pain. Unfortunately, despite all of these wonderful benefits, many feel they simply do not have enough time or money to exercise on a regular basis. The good news is, exercise doesn’t have to be complicated or last hours in order to be beneficial. There are plenty of simple home fitness routines that will fit into your busy schedule and budget. Check out the list below for some at-home exercise programs that require minimal equipment and time (all are less than 30 minutes long!).

At Home Yoga

Yoga, an ancient exercise and meditation practice, has been found to have benefits that surpass just your time on the mat. Yoga has been shown to increase flexibility, enhance muscle strength, and promote cardiorespiratory fitness. Yoga can also aid in weight loss in multiple ways.

The practice focuses on mindfulness and being present in the moment. Mindfulness developed during yoga has been shown to carry over to mindfulness in other aspects of life, including eating. Mindfulness can help you better respond to physical and environmental cues while eating, aiding your perception of fullness and stopping you from overeating. By developing inner awareness and appreciation for the strength of your body, practicing yoga may also help you develop a better body image. Yoga is also the perfect workout for those new to exercising or looking for something low-impact since classes are tailored to specific levels of proficiency.

For when you don’t have the time (or money) to go to a studio, the internet is full of free yoga classes that you can do right in the comfort of your home. This site allows you to choose the level and time period you want to practice. Some practices last only 15 minutes, while others are as long as an hour plus, allowing you to choose what fits your schedule. The only other thing you need is a mat! Check out this list for great yoga mats, all under $30. If you want to practice in a pinch and don’t have a mat, head outside! The grass is the perfect place for an impromptu session. No outdoor space? Set yourself up on a carpet with plenty of space – it may not be the most comfortable way to practice, but it will work in a pinch.

One more at-home tip: dim the lights and light some candles around your mat to make your space feel even more zen. Now you’re ready to breathe, stretch, shake, and let it all go during your practice.

Commercial Break Workouts

After a long day at work, you may feel like coming straight home, plopping down on the couch and watching your favorite TV shows. On days like this, when it’s just too hard to get to the gym, make the most of your commercial breaks! On average, commercial breaks are two to three minutes long, the perfect amount of time to fit in a rep. The 6 moves below, designed by Women’s Health with help from co-founder/CEO of Uplift Studio in NYC, are a full-body strength and conditioning workout. Plus, this home fitness routine includes some lighter cardio. Check out the full article for tips on how to complete the moves, and step-by-step photos.  

Commercial break 1: Curtsy squat
Commercial break 2: Walk out push-up
Commercial break 3: Burpee
Commercial break 4: V-crunch
Commercial break 5: The downward dog push-up
Commercial break 6: The mountain climber

The V-crunch requires a medicine ball. You can buy a 10lb one here! In a pinch, grab a heavy book or a backpack filled with stuff to substitute out the medicine ball. You can also use any type of other hand weights too!

And remember, this workout is not reserved for commercials only. Any time you have a few minutes, feel free to drop down and complete one, or a few, of these exercises. Every little bit you can get in counts.

Total Body Training with Dumbbell Weights

You can get a full body workout using just a pair of dumbell weights – perfect props for any home fitness routine! But first, you have to figure out what weight is right for you. Beginner weight lifters should use lighter dumbbells–two to three pounds, to prevent injury or strain to muscles and joints. If the weights feel too light, do more reps to bring on the heat. As you become more familiar with weight lifting exercises, gradually increase the weight of the dumbbells. Also make sure to stay safe! Don’t ever choose weights that feel too heavy, as that will increase your risk of injury. You can purchase the right weight for your body online or at any major sporting goods store. Most brands will only run you about $10 or so. A set of 3-lb. weights and 5-lb. weights are great to start if you’re a beginner. If you’ve lifted before, start with 10-lb. weights and advance to 12-lb. weights when you feel ready.

Now it’s time to break a sweat! Complete 8-12 reps of each exercise and circle through the cycle 2-4 times. Give yourself a minute or two between sets to relax, and make sure to breathe throughout the reps. The cycle should take about 10 minutes (or less) each time through.

Squat: Keep your feet shoulder distance apart in a standing position and hold the weights either on your shoulders or down by your sides. Flex at the hip and bend your knees until you are at a 90 degree angle. Return to your standing position.

Stiff leg deadlifts: Keep your feet shoulder distance apart in a standing position and hold the dumbbells in front of you. Bend forward at the waist until you reach a flat back and return to standing position.

Overhead press: Keep your feet shoulder distance apart in a standing position and hold the weights above your shoulders with your palms facing forward. Slowly extend your arms upward, raising the weights. Return to the original position.

Lateral raise: Keep your feet shoulder distance apart in a standing position and hold the weights in front of your body, palms facing each other. Raise the weights to shoulder height and return to the original position.

Bent-over lateral raise: Keep your feet shoulder distance apart in a standing position with knees slightly bent and bend your torso forward until it is at a 45-degree angle. Hold the weights near your side and extend your arms upward and back, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Return to the original position.

Bent-over rows: Keep your feet shoulder distance apart in a standing position with knees slightly bent and bend your torso forward until it is at a 45-degree angle. Hold the weights near your side. Bend your elbows, squeezing your shoulder blades together, and return to the original position.

Bicep curls: Keep your feet shoulder distance apart in a standing position and hold the weights next to your sides with your palms facing upward. Lift the dumbbells up, by flexing at the elbow joint, until they reach ¾ of the way to your shoulders. Return to the original position.

Lying press: Lie down on your back and hold the dumbbells next to your shoulders, with your elbows bent. Push the weights upward, bringing them together, and then return to the original position.

Abdominal crunches: Lie down on your back and hold a single dumbbell with both hands. Straighten your arms, bringing the dumbbell towards the ceiling, while slowly raising your shoulders and upper back off the ground. Return to the original position.

Grab a Chair

All you need for this home exercise program, designed by The Working Mother, is a stable chair or bench. Due to the limited materials required, you can complete this 10-minute workout almost anywhere, even in your office if you choose! Despite its length, the 11 exercises in this routine do not lack in intensity and still work your whole body. Just complete the exercises listed below, taking 10 seconds between each. If you feel the need for more, run through the set a second, or even a third time!

Arm circles: Sit straight up on the chair with your legs bent at 90 degrees and your feet firmly planted. Touch your shoulders with your fingers and your elbows towards the ceiling. Roll your arms backwards, continuously, in a circular motion. Complete 40 arms circles.

Bent over with arm lift: Sit on the edge of your chair and lean forward, bringing your torso to a 45 degree angle. Raise your arms straight out to the sides. Pause, and return arms next to your knees. Repeat 25 times.

Tricep dip: Place your hands on the edge of chair, shoulder-width apart. Slide your bottom off the chair and hold yourself up by straightening your arms. Bend your elbows, keeping your back as close to the chair as possible, and go down as low as you can. Return to the original position. Repeat 20 times.

Chair plank: Place your forearms on the chair, interclasping your fingers. Extend your legs out, with your toes still on the floor. Tighten your abdominal muscles, and hold for 45 seconds.

Seated hip thrust: Sit straight up in the chair with your legs bent at 90 degrees and your toes touching the floor. Hold the chair or armrest for extra support and lean back as much as you can. Pull your legs towards your chest and extend them straight out. Pull your legs back in towards your chest, then drop your feet without letting them touch the floor. Repeat 20 times

Russian twist: Sit on the edge of the chair and lift your legs with knees bent. Lean back slightly, rounding your spine. Bend your arms so that your elbows are level to your ribcage and clasp your hands together. Tighten your abdominal muscles and twist slowly to the left and then to the right, alternating sides. Repeat 30 times on each side.

Leg lift: Sit on the edge of the chair with your legs bent at 90 degrees and your feet firmly planted. Hold the chair or armrest for extra support and lean back, keeping your spine straight by bending your elbows. Lift both legs up towards the chest, keeping them bent. Lower the legs to the floor. Repeat 30 times.

Quick feet: Sit straight up in chair with your legs bent at 90 degrees. “Run” while sitting down, using quick feet motions, as fast as you can, for 45 seconds.

Chair squat: Stand in front of the chair with your legs shoulder-width apart. Squat down, bending your knees as if you were going to sit on the chair, but do not touch it. Keep your back upright and your weight in your heels. Bring your arms together in front of you, bending at the elbow. Straighten your legs to return to the original standing position. Complete 20 times.

Bulgarian split squat: Stand in front of the chair, and place  your left foot on the chair behind you (the top of your foot should be touching the chair). Bend your right knee, until the left knee almost touches the floor. Keep your back straight and your hands on your hips. Repeat 20 times. Then change legs, and repeat another 20 times.

Squat calf raise: Stand behind the chair, lightly touching the backrest with your fingers. Shift your weight to your toes and lower your hips, bending at the knees. Stand on your highest tiptoes, pause, and then lower your heels. Repeat 20 times.

Take Advantage of Household Chores

Say goodbye to boring household chores. Incorporating exercise into your everyday life will help spice up otherwise mundane tasks and make them feel less burdensome. Use these tips below to make the most of cleaning up!

Vacuuming: Who knew that vacuuming could actually build leg strength? Next time you’re cleaning the floor, do walking lunges! Take a step forward while pushing the vacuum cleaner, allowing your back leg to bend while lowering yourself towards the ground. Create a 90 degree angle with both legs and hold your chest up. Hold the lunge for 5 seconds. Then take another step forward and switch sides.

Dusting: A great way to get an arm workout while dusting is to wear wrist weights. Since dusting requires a ton of arm movement, just 2-3 extra pounds on each wrist will help strengthen your arms. Check out these wrist weights, which even have thumb hold to make sure they stay on while you’re cleaning. As a plus, they’re only $15.99!

Cooking: While stirring your pot, do leg lifts to tone and strengthen your bottom. Stand tall, tightening your abdominal muscles, and extend one leg behind you, pointing your toes. Lift and lower the leg a few inches up and down for 20 pulses. Then switch legs. Doing two to three reps for each side will work to strengthen the thighs, hips, hamstrings and core muscles.

Taking out the trash: Trash bags can be quite weighty. Take advantage of their heaviness by using them as weights. Next time you take out the trash, do bicep curls with the bags. Lift and lower the bags, by extending your arms all the way down towards your hips and then bringing them up to your shoulders, all while bending at the elbow. Try this 15 times on each side during your trip.

Too see more tips, check out this link.

Working out can feel like a chore, but with these quick at home fitness plans, there’s no excuse to not break a sweat. The most important thing to remember is that exercising should be fun and can easily become part of your daily routine so that it doesn’t seem like an extra chore you need to fit in. Plus, in conjunction with healthy eating, it can support weight loss and help you meet your goals. Now it’s time to get moving!

 

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