Many of us know that we lead a sedentary life. We know that simply walking or jogging may not be enough. Yet, we cannot do anything about it because we do not have the time or money or both to join a gym or enrol ourselves in fitness courses. But that should not be the reason we don’t exercise.
There are quite a few exercises we can do at home without any special gear and which do not take up much time. All we need is motivation and determination to do them regularly – twice a week might be enough – and we will be able to see improvements in our body shape, muscular strength and endurance.
One great exercise you can do at home is the lunge. By promoting functional movement, lunges increase the strength of your legs and glutes and improve your balance. Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms down at your sides. Take a step forward with your right leg and bend your right knee. Ensure that your right knee doesn’t extend past your right foot though. Push up off your right foot and return to the starting position. Repeat with your left leg. Do this around 10 times for optimal results.
Pushups are also one of the most effective, albeit basic, moves you can perform because of the number of muscles that are recruited to perform them. If you cannot perform a standard pushup with good form, drop down to a modified stance on your knees. This will still help you reap many of the benefits of a normal pushup while building strength.
Squats are a similarly good at-home exercise. They help increase lower body and core strength as well as flexibility in your lower back and hips. Because they engage some of the largest muscles in the body, they also burn many calories which, in turn, contribute to weight loss. And they are super easy to do. Just stand straight with your legs apart. Keep your chest and chin up, bend your knees and push your hips down, like you are going to sit on a chair until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Bring your arms out in front of you and keep the pose for one second. Then return to the starting position and repeat the exercise.
We can also do a few compound exercises, especially if we are very busy and are infrequent in our exercises because they utilise multiple joints and muscles at once. In this regard, a standing overhead press is one of the best exercises you can do which engages your shoulders, upper back and core. Dumbbell rows are another compound exercise that strengthens multiple muscles in your upper body. Take dumbbells, light ones at first but you can gradually increase the weight as your body becomes accustomed to this regiment, in both hands, bend forward, around 45 degrees, and slowly begin pulling the dumbbells toward your chest. Repeat 10 to 15 times for best results. There is another dumbbell-related exercise that is great for improving balance and leg strength and that is the single-leg deadlift.
With a dumbbell in your right hand, begin this exercise by kicking your left leg straight back behind you, lowering the dumbbell down toward the ground. When you reach a comfortable height with your left leg, slowly return to the starting position and do the same with your right leg.
Planks are also a great way to build your abdominal muscles without putting stress on your back. You begin planking just like a pushup with your hands and toes on the ground, your back straight and your core tight. Then you take deep breaths while maintaining tension throughout your entire body so that all the muscles are engaged.