Ditch the Gym and Work Out At Home
You’ve packed your gym bag. You put it in your car. You’re determined to go straight to the gym after work…
But then, you have to stay late at the office or your daughter needs a ride to hockey practice or you forgot to turn on the slow cooker or you simply lost your motivation…
We know, we’ve been there and we can relate. But the thing is, we sign up for the gym and pack our gym bags because we, like you, know how important it is to add strength or weight training to our fitness routine.
Pick up any magazine or browse any health and fitness website online and you’ll read articles about the importance of weight training. Numerous studies have shown that as we age, we slowly but surely lose muscle mass.
Muscle mass is integral in supporting our bones, tendons, ligaments, and helping us to keep our “engine” burning to ensure a healthy metabolism. As we get older and reach our senior years, having muscular strength can help us when dealing with joint issues, aches and protect us if we happen to slip on ice or need to keep up with the grandkids.
So what to do if you simply don’t enjoy working out at the gym or your schedule just doesn’t allow you to get to the gym consistently? The answer is to stay home and do some simple bodyweight exercises that can give you an all-body strength workout.
Now, you don’t need any fancy equipment for this. No soup cans. No stretchy cables. You just need the space of a yoga mat, a wall, some work-out clothes, and some time. The exercises below are perfect for anyone – you can modify the number of repetitions to suit your fitness needs. Aim to do these exercises three times a week and after a few months, you’ll experience some gains and be able to increase the repetitions.
Place your hands and knees on the floor in a tabletop position. Bring your right knee under your chest and straighten your left leg. Remember to keep your arms straight and tighten your core (try to keep your bum from sticking up in the air). Switch legs so that your left leg is under your chest and right leg is straightened. Do this at a steady pace – you shouldn’t be huffing and puffing. Repeat five times for each leg. (You’ll feel this in your arms, shoulders, abs, legs, and bum.)
Place your back against a wall and let your back move down the wall until your legs are bent in a 90 degree angle. (Your thighs should be straight and parallel to the floor.) Ensure that your knees are directly over your ankles. Place your hands on your thighs and tighten your abs. Hold this position and slowly count to 30. (You’ll feel this in your legs.)
Place your hands and knees on the floor. Bend your elbows and lower your body so that the backs of your arms are parallel to your body and then push-up. Remember to tighten your core and try to keep your bum from sticking up in the air. If you’re more advanced, place your hands and feet on the floor and start in a plank position. Repeat five times. (You’ll feel this in your arms, shoulders, abs, and maybe legs.)
Lie on your back and straighten your legs up in the air. Place your hands under your lower back. Slowly lower your right leg to hover just above the floor and hold for a count of three and then raise your leg up slowly to meet your left leg. Repeat with your left leg. Alternate legs and repeat five times for each leg. If you’re more advanced you can put your hands behind your head and lift your shoulders and head off the floor (be careful not to crunch your neck.). (You’ll feel this in your abs and maybe around your hips.)
These exercises sound very basic but if you do them three times a week, you’ll definitely see some strength gains. We chose these exercises because they target your major muscle groups and ensure that you’re building overall strength. Once you can easily do one full set of these four exercises, you can choose to increase the repetitions of each exercise or add in an extra set of the entire routine.
Do you have some favorite bodyweight exercises that you do at home? Share them with us on Facebook. If you try our at-home work-out, please let us know your thoughts on it!