Whether you’re too busy for a daily trip to the gym, or anxiety keeps you away from the packed treadmills at your local fitness centre, it is still possible to get fit at home.
You don’t need expensive gym equipment, either, and you can start with a relatively small investment of time and money.
You will likely need to create some space for your workouts, but can start out with bodyweight exercises, and buy weights and other equipment as you ramp up your efforts and need to increase resistance in order to continue to keep enjoying gains.
Recommendations vary, and the ideal amount of exercise an individual requires will depend on their own fitness levels as well as what you are hoping to achieve.
However, it is recommended that you get a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise a week, and do strength training on all of the major muscle groups at least twice a week.
The exercise does not have to be done in a single session and is better spread over the course of a week.
Also, this should be considered a minimum amount of exercise and more is better.
Moderate aerobic exercise includes walking and swimming, and it is good practice to get in the habit of doing 30 minute of moderate exercise a day, if you are just starting out.
Bodyweight exercises are those that only use your bodyweight as resistance. You don’t need any equipment, such as weights, to complete these exercises. They are quick and convenient to perform, are ideal as an addition to a HIIT workout, and they are a great way to start your fitness journey.
Pushups, planks, and squats are some of the most common and beneficial bodyweight exercises.
We all know the general pushup exercise. They are beneficial because they use every single major muscle in the body. They also stretch the biceps and back muscles, offer an effective cardiovascular exercise, and can even improve your posture.
Ensure that your hands are placed directly below your shoulders and your feet are hip width apart. As you lower your body, ensure that you keep your elbows close to your body.
Pushups can be made easier by widening the distance between your feet, which improves stability. Alternatively, you can place your knees on the floor, as well as your feet.
To intensify the pushup, you can elevate your feet by placing them on a short stool, and you can continue to increase the number of repetitions that you perform every session.
No matter how many pushups you perform, or the speed you perform them, form is everything. Ensure that your elbows don’t stray from the side of your body and that your body lines up perfectly.
The plank looks easy, primarily due to the lack of movement during the exercise, but if you’ve ever tried holding the position for longer than a few seconds, you will understand the intensity of this challenging exercise.
The plank lays the groundwork for toned abs while strengthening the core can reduce back pain.
The plank requires the same basic position as the starting position for a push up. Place your hands under your shoulders and keep your body in a straight line while squeezing your glutes. Hold the position for as long as possible.
You can make the plank easier by holding the position for a shorter time. You can also place your knees on the floor but keeping the same basic position.
Alternatively, if you wish to intensify the exercise, hold it for longer, increasing the time you hold the position every week or so. You can even add a weighted jacket or other weights.
A lot of home exercisers, especially those looking to start a strength workout, forget about properly training and strengthening their legs.
Squats are an intense exercise, and they will cause your legs to burn. They can also be easily intensified as you progress and get stronger.
Ensure that your feet are between hip and shoulder width apart. You should turn your toes out, which will make it easier for you to enjoy the flexibility required during the exercise.
Look ahead and squat as low as your body allows. Ensure that your movements are deliberate and that you keep your form during the whole exercise.
To make squats easier, perform a shallower movement, which means that you don’t squat as low.
You can also, obviously, perform fewer squats, but with all of these exercises, remember that you want a reasonable level of intensity to get the blood flowing and the heart pumping.
Squats are a popular exercise in strength training, as well as being a popular part of cardio workouts. To intensify squats, hold even weights in both hands. Alternatively, you can hold the squat position, as you reach the bottom of the movement, for 3 to 5 seconds.
If you are looking to perform a cardio workout, at home, without having to buy expensive equipment, buy a skipping rope or jump rope.
Jump rope can improve coordination, burn through calories, and the simple exercise can be done anywhere. In fact, performing 15 minutes of jump rope, 5 times a week, can improve your heart and lung health too.
When sizing your jump rope, stand on the middle of the rope with one foot. The ends of the rope should come up to your armpits. If the rope is any longer than this, it will slow down your movement, while a shorter rope is only required for speed roping.
You can always get a shorter rope once you have the timing down.
You should be using your wrists to spin the rope, not your arms. You should only be jumping a few inches off the ground and start by jumping for approximately 30 seconds per set, and perform three or four sets with a 60 second rest between sets.
Do this 3 or 4 times a week, and intensify your training by increasing sets to 60 and then 90 seconds, and by reducing your rest period gradually down to 15 seconds.
Taking The Next Step
Even basic exercises like these can be extremely beneficial, especially if you do not currently do any real exercise.
Getting into a routine is one of the most difficult aspects of exercising from home, especially because there are so many potential distractions.
It’s amazing how appealing the housework will become when you first start training.
Once you have mastered the basics, you can increase the intensity of your workout, and eventually you can consider using a personal trainer to help maximise your efforts and increase your gains.
Andy Griffiths is an online personal trainer, tailoring workout and dietary plans to meet the specific needs of his clients.