Get Fit at Home
By Elizabeth Carruthers, RN MSN CNOR CBN CHHC
We all have days when exercising at a gym is out of the question. Whether the car is in the shop, the kids are at home or you’re just too busy. Those are the days when working out at home is the perfect solution—it’s cheap, it’s easy and can be fun!
To be honest, if your goal is to get in shape with as little disruption to your life as possible, then you can skip the trip to a gym while getting the same results. There are plenty of opportunities to exercise right in the privacy of your own home. The good news is that you don’t need fancy machines or heavy weights. And you don’t need to spend much money. Kettle balls and dumbbells are a great investment. And you can get started for less than $100.
Even better, you don’t even need a formal work out plan to build stamina and strength as long as you’re determined to get moving. Here are a few things you can do at home to start you on the road to fitness!
Activities of Daily Living: Start with the things you do on a daily basis. Be conscious of your body and find ways to add movement—put away the laundry one piece at a time, clean out the entire refrigerator from top to bottom, sweep the floors instead of vacuuming, take a few extra trips up and down the stairs, walk in place during every commercial break on TV or when talking on the phone.
Use Technology: Your DVD player, video game system, and computer are great sources of workout programs that you can do in your home. Uncomfortable outdoor temperatures do not have to keep you from exercising. You do not need to feel embarrassed because you don’t know the Zumba steps or strength training exercises. You can proceed at your own comfort level!
Purchase, rent, download, or stream an exercise program that interests you and try it at home. Most digital workouts have adaptations for different fitness levels. You can easily mix up your weekly routine with different types of workouts (i.e. Zumba, kickboxing, walking programs, body sculpting, etc.) to prevent boredom and incorporate cardio, strength, and flexibility.
Wear a Pedometer: A pedometer, at the least, keeps track of how many steps you take during your day. Some advanced pedometers will even track how many miles you’ve walked, how many calories you’ve burned, and how long you’ve slept, and send it all to the Internet where you can see these stats graphed out for you.
A pedometer can also inspire you to find ways to get extra steps in. For instance, many people aim for 10,000 steps a day, but you can choose your own mini-goals as you build up your stamina. Play a game with yourself—choose a destination you’d love to visit, find out how many miles away it is, and then keep a track of your daily mileage to see how long it takes you to “walk” there. Give yourself a prize when you reach your goal…and then turn around and “walk” back home…or to some other dream destination!
Scale an Exercise Pyramid: Don’t forget strength training. Sometimes it can be confusing on how to start a strength training program—what exercises to perform, what equipment to use, how many repetitions to do, how to work different muscle groups, etc. Actually, you don’t need heavy weight equipment at all. You can use your own body weight.
Try an Exercise Pyramid… Start by doing a sequence of 4 to 5 body-weight exercises for a decreasing number of repetitions. For example, perform this sequence of exercises (jumping jacks, push-ups, squats, crunches, and jump ropes) starting at 10 repetitions each. Then do the same sequence for 9 repetitions each… then 8 repetitions each…7, 6, 5, etc. until you get through 1 repetition each. Do this 3 to 4 times a week. When you feel stronger, you can add more exercises, try harder versions of these exercises, or start with 15 repetitions instead of 10. You control the intensity and your progression… and with no boot camp drill sergeants barking at you or sweaty body-builders grunting in the background!
Get started today and you’ll see how easy it is to get fit without leaving your home!