The benefits of being active go far beyond losing weight or getting a beach body in time for summer. Routine physical exercise strengthens the heart and lungs, improves energy levels and even prevents many chronic diseases from developing.
It can be tough squeezing in time to exercise during the week. Commuting from work to gym and then back home after a training session can be exhausting. But, by working out at home — it’s easier to make time and less tiring than dealing with crowds and parking.
Here are three workout sessions to do at home to get the benefits of fitness without joining a gym.
According to a March 2015 article from the American Council on Exercise (ACE), regular, moderate –intensity cardio workouts can increase your mitochondria density to possibly slow down aging. These moves don't require a lot of space, so move the ottoman and get going right in your living room.
HOW TO DO IT: Begin in a push-up position: arms straight, palms on the floor, back straight and legs together. Next pull one leg in and place the foot under your chest. Quickly push the leg back while pulling the other leg in. Repeat the motion.
Do mountain climbers for time or in numbered sets. Try doing five sets of one to three minutes each.
Running in Place
HOW TO DO IT: Start in a standing position with back straight and arms relaxed. Next, bend a knee and lift one leg up as if climbing a stair until the knee is at waist height. Bring the leg down, landing on the balls of the feet while bringing the other leg up.
Running in place is best done for extended time; do at least 10 minutes per session, or as long as individual fitness levels allow.
Weights and specialized equipment aren’t necessary to increase strength levels working out at home. Try this calisthenic-based workout to develop an impressive level of strength at home. According to a September 2009 study in Geriatrics and Gerontology International, even senior citizens experienced significant strength gains using bodyweight exercise.
Handstand push-ups are a challenging movement, but worth the effort.
HOW TO DO IT: Stand facing the wall, then bend over and place both hands in front of the feet. Next, kick off the legs to reach a handstand position leaning against the wall. Finally, lower the body by bending the elbows, then push the arms straight back up.
If the movement is too difficult, practice holding the handstand for time, and start doing micro elbow bends until you work up to a full range of motion. Do five or six sets of six to eight reps.
Pull-ups can strengthen the large back muscles of the upper body. Do them in a doorway pull-up bar or by hanging from the top of an open door.
HOW TO DO IT: Hang from the bar with both hands facing forward and pull the body up until chin touches the bar (or top of door). Slowly descend to the hanging position and repeat.
A good pull-up workout is three to four sets of five to fifteen reps.
3. Build Muscle
According to a research study in the October 2015 issue of the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, high-repetition exercise was as productive as low-rep, heavy weight training for building muscle. Here are three bodyweight exercises for more muscle:
Push-ups are an oldie, but goodie. They work multiple muscles in your body with an emphasis on the chest and shoulders.
HOW TO DO IT: Start face down on the floor, hands shoulder-width apart, back and legs straight. Push-up until the elbows are extended – pause – and go back down.
To build muscle, 15 to 20 reps for five to eight sets should do it.
Work the push-up from a different approach for greater challenge.
HOW TO DO IT: Start by lying on your back with both knees bent and pointed up. Place both over the head with elbows pointed up and palms on each side of the head. Now, push up with legs and arms until an arch is made with the back and arms are extended. Return to the floor and repeat.
Five sets of six to eight reps should add more muscle to the whole upper body.
Lunges are one of the most effective ways to train the lower body muscles of the glutes and thighs.
HOW TO DO IT: From a standing position place the feet shoulder-width apart and then take a step backward until kneeling. Next, push up with the front leg until standing again. Repeat the movement with the other leg.
Eight sets of 10 to 20 reps per leg should pack some extra muscle from calves to hips.
- Pete McCall;7 Often-overlooked Benefits of Cardiovascular Training; American Council on Exercise;(2015)
- Geriatrics and Gerontology International: Effects of bodyweight-based exercise training on muscle functions of leg multi-joint movement in elderly individuals
- Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: Effects of Low- vs. High-Load Resistance Training on Muscle Strength and Hypertrophy in Well-Trained Men