Given the wide availability of home exercise equipment, it’s possible to turn your home into virtually any type of workout studio you desire. From swimming pools designed to facilitate lap swimming, to elaborate treadmills, ski machines, and other devices, homeowners have endless opportunities to pursue fitness at home. And relatively few excuses not to get regular exercise.
But, of course, you don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of money to invest in your fitness. From following an instructional video about yoga (or Jazzercise, or what have you) to old standbys like walking the dogs, getting exercise needn’t be complicated.
In fact, although being sedentary is a relatively newly identified independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease, experts have also noted in recent years that virtually anything that gets you moving—from vacuuming, to gardening, to carrying laundry up and down the stairs—counts toward your daily need for movement and exercise.
In fact, just keeping up with housework for the average family takes far more energy than you might imagine. The point is that you have to keep moving. Sitting on the couch watching videos about exercise doesn’t count. But walking to the store to buy the video certainly does.
Some of the simple exercises you probably learned in middle-school gym are perfectly convenient for incorporating into your home workouts. Jumping jacks, lunges, push-ups, plank, dumbbell curls, etc., can all be excellent choices designed to get you moving while also building muscle.
Here are a few specific exercises that can easily be done at home, in relatively little time. Although some seem passive, they actually build core muscle strength and endurance, and can deliver outsized benefits.
Although it looks passive, this pose is far more demanding that it seems initially.
Lie on a hard surface, face down, legs extended out behind you, arms extended ahead of you. Now lift your arms a few inches off the floor, raise your head, look straight ahead, and raise your feet a few inches off the floor. Your weight is now supported entirely by your abdominal muscles. Imagine you are Superman, flying over the metropolis, dropping all your baggage. Hold for at least 20-30 seconds. When done, gently bring hands and feet back down. Repeat. Eventually, attempt to hold this pose for one minute or longer.
Popular in yoga classes, this pose is held for 30 seconds initially. Try extending how long you can hold this demanding pose, until you’re up to one minute or more. It’s harder than it looks. But it builds significant core strength.
Lie face down on a hard surface, arms at your sides, hands beside your face, elbows at chest level. Raise your entire body up on your toes and elbows. Hold you back straight and maintain this rigid pose for 30 seconds, before lowering yourself back to the ground. Take an important cue from yoga, and be sure to continue breathing throughout. As in yoga, try imagining that you are “sending your breath” deep into any areas that complain while you are holding. Don’t be alarmed if your arms begin to shake.
This old classic remains perennially popular because it builds muscle throughout the body, and deeply engages the core. Of course, push-ups are also good for building upper body strength, including pectorals, shoulders, and arm muscles.
If you are uncertain about your form, consider checking an instructional video, or consult a personal trainer. While not particularly complicated, whenever doing these sorts of exercises it’s a good idea to have someone check your alignment, etc., to maximize benefits and avoid creating any problems related to poor form.
Another classic from yoga, this pose is good for stretching out tired backs, especially first thing in the morning, when muscles may be contracted.
Lie flat on your belly on the floor. Position your hands directly beneath your shoulders, fingers point straight ahead. Legs and toes should be straight and pointing out behind you.
Exhale and push your upper body up, like a cobra raising from the ground. Allow you hips to push into the floor, and keep your feet down. Lengthen your torso and loo up. Hold for about 30 seconds. Roll back down, and repeat.