While hitting the gym isn’t an option for everyone, it's still important to obtain physical activity every day. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults need 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous cardio activity weekly, along with strength training exercises twice per week. Even without a gym at your disposal, you can still meet these recommended minimums by developing a well-rounded, daily exercise plan at home.
Get Moving with Cardio
Cardio exercise plays a crucial role in a fitness routine, and a home plan can include a variety of activities that will increase your heart rate and breathing, burn calories and improve your overall fitness level. Some of these activities include brisk walking, jogging or cycling, which can be done with a treadmill or stationary bike. An elliptical machine and jumping rope are also effective for your daily exercise plan at home. With the CDC recommendations in mind, alternate 20 to 30 minutes of cardio activities on nonconsecutive days to meet the minimum. For example, designate Monday, Wednesday and Friday as cardio days, with 50 minutes of moderate activity or 25 minutes of vigorous activity each day.
Tone up with Strength Training
Build and tone muscle at home using free weights, weight machines or body weight exercises. Perform strength training exercises on nonconsecutive days to allow adequate recovery time for your muscles, or consider alternating the muscle groups you work. Target all your major muscle groups with exercises such as biceps curls, triceps kickbacks, pushups, pull-ups and crunches for your upper body; leg presses, squats and lunges for your lower body. Do your lower body routine on Tuesdays and your upper body routine on Thursdays.
Don’t Forget Flexibility Exercises
Flexibility should be incorporated into your daily exercise plan at home with cardio and strength training. After each workout, spend 10 to 15 minutes stretching all major muscle groups – all you need is a mat. Yoga is excellent for flexibility; it can also help build strength. Try some basic yoga poses at the conclusion of your workout, such as downward facing dog, warrior, tree pose or a seated twist to help you relax and unwind after exercising.
With a home workout plan, it’s important to develop a consistent schedule that fits into your lifestyle so you’ll stick with it long-term. Decide if a morning or evening workout is best for you. Each comes with its own set of advantages, such as less distractions during morning workouts, or the stress-relieving aspect of evening exercise -- it comes down to what fits with your schedule. Because home workouts are often done in isolation, motivation may be a challenge for some people. Stay inspired by setting realistic goals and adjusting them as they are met, or rewarding yourself with healthy incentives like a new pair of running shoes or a massage.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?
- Office on Women's Health: Fitness and Nutrition
- ExRx.net: Aerobic Exercise Prescription Components
- American Council on Sports Medicine: A Strength Training Program for Your Home
- Harvard School of Public Health: Strength and Flexibility Training
- Fitness: Yes, You Can Do Yoga: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced Yoga Poses
- Shape: Which is Better: A.M. vs P.M. Workouts