Getting enough exercise is the key to keeping your body in physical and mental shape. Whether it is taking a jog around the park, breaking a sweat at the gym, or dancing around the kitchen, getting your heart rate up and your muscles working is one of the most effective ways to improve your overall health and reduce your risk of developing certain illnesses no matter where you are. Most prefer the environment of a gym because it provides easy access to equipment and personal trainers, however, for many, visiting a gym weekly is almost impossible due to time and budget constraints. Even visiting a park to sprint out some laps may prove difficult for some. But you don’t need a park or gym to get in shape, it can be done in the comfort of your own home for free of charge!
Here are some of the best workouts you and your family can try at home.
The Different Types Of Workouts
Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let’s take a look at the different types of workouts. The four main exercise categories are aerobic exercises, strength training, balance, and flexibility. Each of these categories offers different health benefits ranging from muscle and bone strength to improved lung, heart, and circulatory health.
One of the many misconceptions some people have about working out is that you have to choose one form of exercise and stick with it seven days a week to see any results. Fortunately, this is not true at all. Alternating your workout routine with a different style of exercise will do more for your overall health than repetitive exercise routines will.
In fact, repeating the same exercise can make you more prone to muscle tears and other injuries because you don’t give that specific muscle group a chance to recover from the previous day’s work out.
In order to get the most out of your home workout routines, it’s best to mix it by performing a different type of workout at least three times a week. This will also help keep things fresh and exciting. Let’s get started…
The Warm-up and Cool-Down
To get the most out of your training with as little injury as possible, it is important to warm-up before any type of physical activity and to spend a few minutes after breaking a sweat with a cool-down session. Warm-up exercises prepare the body for strenuous activity by increasing blood flow and oxygen to the muscles, improving flexibility, and improving your range of motion, meaning that you are able to move your joints fully without experiencing pain.
Cooling down after a workout helps to get your heart rate and blood pressure down to a normal rate, prevents dizziness, reduces lactic acid buildup, and prepares the muscles for the next work out session.
Start slow and spend at least 5 minutes before your workout doing the following warm-up exercises:
- Arm circles – 10 reps forward and 10 reps backward
- Hip circles – 10 reps inward and 10 reps outward
- Jog on the spot – 2 minutes
- Squats – 10 reps
- Lunges – 10 reps for each leg
- Walkouts – 5 reps
After you have broken the ultimate sweat, start slowing down the intensity of your work out and spend a few minutes on deep breathing until your heart rate has returned to a resting pace. After you have caught your breath, spend 5 minutes stretching your arms, neck, legs, and glutes.
Aerobic, endurance, or otherwise known as cardio exercise helps to keep the lungs, heart and circulatory system in tip-top health. It is also great for burning calories and building muscle. The reason why Aerobic exercises are great for at-home workouts is that it doesn’t take up much space and can be done without any equipment. According to the American Heart Association, you should try to aim for about 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio workouts per week. Here are a few cardio exercises to try at home:
The only piece of equipment you need for this work out is a very sturdy chair. This sequence of movements is designed to tone and build important muscle groups and improve cardiovascular function and health. Here’s how to do it:
Spend a minute on each exercise followed by a minute of marching or jogging on the spot:
- Torso twist
- Burpees – only if you are advanced and comfortable with this movement.
Repeat the circuit at least 3 to 4 more times. If you need, you can take 5 minutes to rest between each circuit set. If you like, this circuit can be done up to 5 times a week, however, be sure not to exceed 25 minutes per day.
Other Cardio Workouts To Try:
- Zumba – if you are not too sure how to do the dance moves, there are various online Zumba class videos you can follow along with.
- Swimming – if you are fortunate enough to own a pool spend 30 minutes a day at least 3 times a week doing laps. Once you are comfortable, add more strokes like breaststroke and backstroke.
Strength Training Exercises
Strength training, which some may know as resistance or weight training is a key component of any fitness regime. It helps to burn body fat and calories and is also a great way to boost the metabolism.
Research also shows that strength training has a positive effect on improving brain health, bone density, and can help reduce symptoms associated with illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis.
Strength Training Circuit
You don’t need any equipment for this circuit. There are three sets of exercises, which should be done for a minute each, followed by a minute of rest in between sets. Intermediate trainers can do each exercise for a total of two minutes each and advanced trainers should increase this to a total of three minutes per exercise. Here’s a breakdown of the circuit:
- Bodyweight squat – beginners (1 min), intermediate (2 mins), advanced (3mins).
- Plank – beginners (1 min), intermediate (2 mins), advanced (3mins).
- Mountain climbers – beginners (1 min), intermediate (2 mins), advanced (3mins).
- Bodyweight split squat – beginners (1 min), intermediate (2 mins), advanced (3mins).
- Pushup – beginners (1 min), intermediate (2 mins), advanced (3mins).
- Leg raises – beginners (1 min), intermediate (2 mins), advanced (3mins).
- Single leg hip raise – beginners (1 min), intermediate (2 mins), advanced (3mins).
- Burpee – beginners (1 min), intermediate (2 mins), advanced (3mins).
- Toe touches – beginners (1 min), intermediate (2 mins), advanced (3mins).
Balance and Flexibility Exercises
While most of us like to think we have great balance and are quite flexible, it’s usually a different story when we try touching our toes without bending our knees or we try standing on one leg for as long as possible. As we age, our mobility decreases and our muscles start to lose their elasticity, making it harder to perform activities we used to be able to do in our younger years. Balance and flexibility exercises are important for preserving elasticity in our muscle fibers and improving the movement in our spine, shoulders, and hips, which ultimately helps offset these subtle signs of aging.
These are a few simple ways to do balance and flexibility exercises at home:
- Stand on one foot while washing the dishes or cooking, try to aim for at least 10 seconds on each leg.
- If you have a long passageway, walk heel to toe up and down for at least 2 laps or more than 20 steps. You can also do this while walking around the house.
- Practice yoga, Thai Chi, or yoga. You don’t need a class or any equipment for this, there are hundreds of online video tutorials that will teach you everything from posture to breathing and meditating.
If you are an intermediate or advanced trainer you can include the following balancing exercises into your strength training or cardio circuit workouts:
- Sumo squat pulses
- Under leg clap crunch
- Oblique crunch and lunge
- Plank with one arm extended
- Side plank with one arm extended
- Standing T-rotation
The Bottom Line
Incorporating all of these exercises into your weekly routine will help make your at-home workout challenging and fun no matter how advanced your fitness level is. Start out slow, even if it takes a few weeks to master. Once you get the feel for these exercises, you can start adding more challenging and advanced moves to really get those muscles working and the sweat dripping!