Whether you want to lose weight, strengthen your bones, improve mood, reduce your risk of serious health conditions -- such as certain cancers, diabetes and heart disease -- or just lead a more active lifestyle, regular exercise can do the trick. You don't need fancy equipment or a gym membership to get a good workout. Exercising at home is just as effective, and can save you time and money.
Cardiovascular Workout Session
Exercise that makes you breathe harder and sweat is known as cardiovascular or aerobic exercise. The Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention recommends doing this type of exercise at a moderate pace, for at least 150 minutes a week. If available at home, you can use a treadmill, elliptical machine or stationary bike, for 30 minutes, five days a week. Other cardio options can include exercising along with a cardio DVD, jogging or marching in place, jumping rope, or doing exercises, such as knee highs, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, butt kickers, and squat thrusts. When exercising, raise your heart rate to a point where you can still talk, but not sing.
Strength-Training Workout Session
The CDC recommends strength training on at least two days of the week. At home, it's convenient to use exercise bands, dumbbells or water bottles, or just your body weight for resistance. Try targeting your major muscle groups to stimulate muscle all throughout your body. Resistance bands, and dumbbells or water bottles, can be used for exercises, such as chest presses, overhead presses, biceps curls, triceps extensions, lateral raises, and bent-over rows. Your body weight can be used for exercises, such as pushups, lunges, planks, crunches, and squats. Start with one set of eight to 12 reps, and as you get stronger, slowly add one or two more sets.
Circuit-Training Workout Session
On days when you're cramped for time, or just want a break from the norm, perform circuit training. Circuit training provides both cardiovascular and muscle-strengthening benefits. It's done by swiftly working through eight to 10 exercise stations with minimal rest in between the exercises. At home, you can do a set of pushups followed by lunges. Then do jumping jacks for 30 seconds to one minute, and follow this with crunches and a set of chest presses. Then jump rope for one minute, and after this, do a set of biceps curls and squats. Only if you're up to it, repeat the circuit one to two more times.
Things to Consider
Just because you're exercising at home doesn't mean you should neglect your safety. If you're plagued with a health condition or injury, get your doctor's consent before starting to exercise. Also, always warm-up your body with at least five minutes of light cardio before doing more intense exercises. This loosens up your muscles, joints and ligaments, and gets your blood flowing. Drink water to keep yourself hydrated during your workout, and after your workout session, do 10 minutes of light cardio and some light stretches to cool down your body.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Physical Activity and Health
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?
- Women's Home Workout Bible; Brad Schoenfeld
- American Council on Exercise: Top 25 At-Home Exercises
- American Council on Exercise: Whole-Body Exercise Band Workout
- American Council on Exercise: Circuit Training Basics
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: Safe Exercise