Best Ways To Exercise At Home
There are many reasons you may want to avoid the gym: there may be illness spreading and you’re not sure if it’s safe to go to the gym, you may want to save money, or you crave convenience. So, exercising at home is always an easy choice to make.
What’s more difficult is figuring out what to do. How do you set up an effective home workout? What do you do if you don’t have much equipment or space? The following series takes you through a variety of choices for exercising at home, whether you have nothing but your own body and a pair of shoes or a workout room tricked out with every piece of equipment imaginable.
Body Weight Exercise
Option 1: Body Weight Exercises — No Equipment Needed
The simplest way to work out at home is to use your own body. There are a variety of effective body weight exercises that can help you build strength, endurance and burn calories. The downside is that, without added resistance, it’s tough to work hard enough to really challenge your body and burn calories. One way around that problem? Circuit training. By going from one exercise to the next, without little or no rest, you keep your heart rate up, burn more calories and get the most out of your exercise time.
- Choose your workout — Cardio, strength training or a mixture of both
- Choose 10 different exercises — For cardio, focus on exercises with different levels of intensity. For example, you might alternate a high-intensity exercise (such as jumping jacks or burpees) with an easier move (such as marching in place). For strength training, choose compound exercises such as squats, lunges, pushups, and dips to work the entire body. Exercise ideas: Step by Step Cardio Exercises, Step by Step Body Weight Exercises
- Choose the length of each exercise — Beginners might start with 10-30 seconds or 8-16 reps, while intermediate or advanced exercisers might go for 60-90 seconds or 20 or more reps
- Get Ready — Set up a timer or use a stopwatch, turn on some music or your favorite TV show and start with an easy exercise to warm up
- The Workout — Do 1 circuit if you’re a beginner or short on time. Do 2-5 circuits for a more intense workout
Sample Cardio Circuit Workout (No Equipment)
- 1 min: March in place — Lift the knees high and swing the arms
- 1 min: Jog in place, pushing the arms overhead
- 1 min: Run in place with high knees
- 1 min: Slow, controlled Plyo-jacks
- 1 min: Regular jumping jacks
- 1 min: March in place
- 1 min: Ice breakers (jump up from a wide squat, land with soft knees while chopping the arm towards the floor)
- 1 min: Mountain climbers
- 1 min: Run in place with high knees
- 1 min: March in place
Sample Strength Circuit Training (No equipment)
- 1 min: March in place to warm up
- Squats — 20 reps
- Front and Rear Lunges — 12 reps on each leg
- Pushups (on the knees or toes) — 12-20 reps
- Dips with Leg Extension — 12-20 reps
- Walking Lunge with Arms Overhead — 12-20 reps
- Bent Over Leg Lifts
- Bridge With Leg Drop
- Back Extensions
For variety, convenience, and more structured home exercise, you can’t beat exercise videos. There are workouts for every age, gender, goal and interest, and you can workout anytime you like in the privacy of your own home. The best thing about exercise videos: There are thousands upon thousands to choose from, so almost anyone can find a video they like. The worst thing about exercise videos: There are thousands upon thousands to choose from, making the search for the perfect video an overwhelming process.
Though you can find exercise videos almost anywhere videos or fitness equipment are sold, you’ll find some of the best videos are only sold online.
Exercise Video Resources
- Collage Video — This is by far my favorite website for researching and buying exercise videos. You can search by keyword, fitness level, instructor and much more. The user reviews and video clips make finding the perfect video a little easier.
- Video Fitness — There are so many video reviews at this website, you could spend more time reading about videos than actually doing them. However, the site is well-organized and you can find videos in a variety of ways: By instructor, type of workout, fitness level and more. The reviews are posted by real exercisers, giving you more detail beyond the generic, sometimes misleading descriptions on the video covers.
- Amazon.com — The online giant is a great place to find exercise videos, compare prices and read reviews about different videos and workouts.
- Cathe.com — Cathe Friedrich is one of my favorite video instructions and she offers tons of videos and collections. A bonus: Cathe offers her workouts in two formats, on DVDs or as downloadable versions you can watch on your computer, smartphone or iPad.
Popular Home Exercise Videos
Best for Beginners: Leslie Sansone’s Walking at Home Videos, Shapely Girl Workout Videos
Great Circuit Training Videos: Paul Katami’s Hollywood Bootcamp 4×4, Michelle Dozois’ Peak 10 More Cardio Strength, and Cathe Friedrich’s Circuit Max.
Best High-Intensity Cardio Videos: Amy Dixon’s Breathless Body 2, Michelle Dozois’ Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn, Cathe Friedrich’s HiiT Training
Best for Seniors: Jane Fonda’s Prime Time Firm and Burn, The Kettlebell Boomer Workout
Online Workouts and Resource
The Internet may be your favorite way to waste time, but it also offers a wealth of resources for home and/or traveling exercisers. Not all content is created equal on the World Wide Web but, if you know where to look, you can find almost everything you need to know about exercise: How to set up a home gym, create your own exercise program, and learn the basics of cardio, strength training and how to get in shape with exercise.
You can also take advantage of the many websites offering both paid and free online workouts and exercise programs. You’ll find workouts you can print, view online or even stream to your computer, phone or iPad.
10 Best Indoor At Home Exercises & Workouts Without Equipment
Some days, it’s just really difficult to go outside, especially in the winter months. It can be rainy or cold, and the sun may already set by the time you get off work.
So what are you going to do to get some exercise, especially if you don’t have a gym membership to rely on or want to stay healthy and exercise at home on a budget?
Here are 10 ideas for ways you can exercise indoors at home for free or on the cheap.
1. Jump Rope
My husband recently bought a jump rope, and I couldn’t help but laugh because it reminded me of elementary school. I always thought jump ropes were for little girls, but boy, was I wrong!
About a minute into jumping rope, I was literally out of breath. I only made it a few minutes, and my calves were killing me the next day.
If you want a good cardio workout in a matter of minutes, try a jump rope.
2. Stair Stepping
Stair stepping is a great exercise to do in your home, even if you don’t have a set of stairs available. Find the biggest book you own (or a sturdy chair), put it in front of the TV, and step up and down while watching your favorite show. You may not work up a sweat like you would with a jump rope, but you will be keeping your body active and healthy.
3. The Plank
If you don’t have a lot of time, but you want to build up your core muscles, this is the exercise for you. Get into a push-up position, but instead of bending your arms and moving down towards the floor, hold the position with your arms extended. Start off holding the position for 30 seconds, and add an additional 10 seconds every day. See how long you can go for – it’s definitely not easy! This is one of the most challenging exercises, but it’s also one of the of the best for your core.
In college, I lived in an apartment with a bunch of girls. We would get bored with normal workouts, so we started to have dance parties. Once a week, we picked out different music and just danced to our hearts’ content.
Dancing is an excellent way to burn calories, and get your heart rate going while having fun. If you are in the privacy of your own home, there is no need to look like a pro or impress anyone.
I was in a workout class a few years ago, and one of the exercises was to do lunges down the hallway. Instead of stepping back into place, we would step forward, and we would continue until we made it all the way down the hallway and back. I could always feel the intense burn in my legs with this workout.
You can do the same thing in your home. Try it whenever you go down the hall, or from room to room. If that gets too easy for you, hold weights in your hands to make the lunges more challenging.
Cleaning can be very physical, especially vacuuming and mopping. If you are unable to go out one day to ride your bike or go for a run, set up a house cleaning schedule and clean your house instead. You might as well kill two birds with one stone!
7. Water Bottle Weights
If you are looking to do some arm, shoulder, and back strength training, you can make your own weights by filling up water bottles. If using water bottles becomes too easy, use milk jugs. You can tailor the exercise to your level by filling the jugs to the exact weight that you need. For a greater challenge, increase the water amount just a little bit each time you workout.
8. High Knees
I really love running, so I tried to run in place in my home one day when the weather was bad. While it was great that I was able to keep my body active, running in place was very awkward. My heart rate did not get very high either.
Instead of running in place, I’ve found that high knees can really get your heart pumping, especially if you go double time. To do this exercise, march in place or down a hall, and bring your knees as high as they can go.
9. Jumping Jacks
This is another elementary school throwback, but it offers a great cardio workout. If you are watching a TV show, get up during the commercials and do a round of jumping jacks.
10. YouTube Workouts
There are a lot of workout routines on YouTube. You can search “workout,” or you can search by the specific type of workout that you would like. This eliminates the need to use workout DVDs, and it allows you to mix up what you are doing to avoid boredom and lose weight fast. YouTube is also great if you want to do a traditional workout with push-ups, squats, and crunches, but are unsure on how to properly do these types of exercises. There are tons of videos that instruct you on how to use correct form as you exercise.