Working out in a health club or class setting can provide motivation to stay on track. Working out with others is often more fun than going it alone and it adds variety to the program. However, joining a gym or buying equipment is not always an option. The good news is that you can get a full-body workout right at home without equipment. Stairs, chairs, step stools and objects around the home can be used to work all the major muscle groups.
If you have stairs at home, use them for a cardiovascular workout. The American Council on Exercise states that climbing stairs at a brisk pace for just 13 minutes a day can improve cardiovascular health and lower cholesterol levels. Break it up by running up for one set, then walking then taking two stairs at a time.
To prevent knee, hip, back or ankle injuries, place the entire foot on the step and do not lunge forward. Keep the knees aligned over the ankles and stand up straight. Do not pull up on a railing or lean forward. If 13 minutes is too much, do five-minute intervals three times a day and gradually work up to longer sessions.
Squats target the buttocks and thighs. For a basic squat, stand with the legs about hip width apart. Bend the knees and reach the buttocks back as if about to sit in a chair. Press into the heels and come back up. Go slowly and use control. For more of a challenge, hold onto soup cans, laundry detergent bottles or other weighted objects.
For variety, place one foot up on a stool and squat, keeping equal weight in both legs. Try placing the right ankle on the left knee for a one-legged squat. Do eight to 12 repetitions and switch legs.
Lunges strengthen and tone the buttocks and legs. Stand in a lunge position with the front knee aligned over the ankle. Keep the back heel up off the floor and the toes of both feet facing forward. Drop the back knee straight down, but do not lunge forward. It is important to keep the knee aligned over the ankle. Do eight to 12 repetitions and switch legs. Hold a weighted object to make the lunges harder.
Push-ups work the major muscle groups in the upper body. They can be done against a wall with your hands on a chair or on the floor with your knees up or down. According to the President's Council on Fitness, push-ups are a good way to determine if upper body strength is good or poor.
When doing push-ups, keep your body in a straight line and do not drop the hips, which can occur if your arms are weak. If this happens, make the movement smaller and use good form. Make the movement bigger as your upper body gets stronger. Healthy adults should be able to do between 20 to 50 push-ups in a minute, depending on age and gender.
The chair dip is another general upper body exercise. Sit at the edge of a chair without arms and place your hands on the edge of the chair. Walk the legs out and slide the buttocks off the seat. The farther out the feet are, the harder the exercise. Bend your elbows and lower your buttocks as far as possible. Push back up to seat height, without lifting the hips. Do eight to 12 repetitions.