Easy Exercises To Do At Home
By Nan Werther
, last updated November 23, 2011
If you want to get fit while saving money, try these easy exercises that you can do at home without any equipment. Getting fit need not require a gym in order to experience the benefits of exercise, and in fact it can be easier to incorporate at least 30 minutes a day when you can simply workout where you are. No more excuses! Using the force of gravity and the weight of your body you can transform your figure, tone muscle, lose weight, and enjoy improved overall health.
Lower Body Exercises
Squats are one of the best exercises you can do and are relatively simple to perform. However, as with any exercise, focusing on form is the way to see fast results. Grab a kitchen chair to help you with this exercise. Stand in front of the chair as if you are going to sit down. Hold your arms straight out in front or to the side to help you balance and keep feet about hip width apart. Bend from the hips with your butt stuck out and go through the motions of sitting down. Once your tush hits the seat, however, don't sit but come immediately back up. Keeping control is key, as well as pushing through your heels rather than on your sides or toes. This should focus the exercise on essential target areas such as glutes and hamstrings.
Another version to incorporate into your squat portion of the routine is to vary it up by standing on one leg and performing the entire squat while balancing. Keep yourself in a position to catch yourself as this can be an unsteady pose. A good way to get both in is to do 20 regular squats, followed by five one legged squats on each leg. Repeat this repetition anywhere from 2 to 6 more times.
Another excellent leg exercise, the lunge will help tone your calves and quads while helping open up your hips and fascia muscles. To do a lunge, simply take an exaggerated step so that your feet are several feet apart and you can comfortably get your front knee to a 90 degree angle without it going over your ankle. This is important for execution. You can vary this exercise by doing lunges out to the side, or holding small weights found around the home such as cans.
A staircase or sturdy, low box is essential to this exercise. You will want a rise less than a foot high in order to do this comfortably. Simply step up to the top alternating feet, making sure both are on the top before stepping down. Alternately, if you have a stable enough box you can jump on and off the box or steps for an added cardio burst.
Upper Body Exercises
A classic exercise, the push up is a great way to tone and strengthen your triceps, biceps, trapezius, shoulders, core, and neck muscles. With over 50 documented varieties available for continual challenges, this exercise never loses its luster either. Start on your knees if you're not yet comfortable with form, and then move on to the fully extended position before experimenting with other options such as the one handed push up, clapping push up, incline or decline pushups. Pushups will easily work your entire upper body.
However, should you want to selectively tone just your arms and shoulders, try dips. Using a stable kitchen chair, sit down with your arms firmly holding the seat. Holding the chair, move your behind off and balance, dipping down until elbows are at a 90 degree angle and then pushing yourself back up. Try and do 20.
Core and Abdominals
Plank or Prone Holds
Like the push up, the plank is one of the best all over toners for your core and midsection. Balance on your forearms and toes, centering your weight over your middle and keeping your abs tight. Make sure not to draw in your shoulders. With your head down, hold for a count of 30. Repeat for as many repetitions as you can stand. If you want more of a challenge, you can alternate switching to each side and raising one arm and leg while balancing on the other two. Try and keep your body in a straight line.
Great for the midsection, this exercise has the additional benefit of strengthening your back muscles which can contribute to poor posture and back pain. Laying on your stomach, hold your arms and legs an inch off the ground and fully extended for periods of 30 seconds.