No gym? No problem.
We love effective home workout routines because they allow us to save time by cutting down on travel, and they help us stay on board with our fitness program on those days when we just don’t feel like leaving the house. Learning to incorporate home workouts into your routine can mean the difference between burning a few hundred calories and taking in a few extra hundred calories while sitting on the couch.
*This post has been contributed by Kevin Gannon. He is a recent college graduate with an English degree and a passion for exercise, learning, and coffee. You can find him indulging in a combination of those three activities nearly every day.
Whether you’re getting in a quick workout before your shower or looking to do something more substantial, exercising at home can often be seen as a viable solution to avoiding gym memberships and commutes. But effectively performing your routine at home can be another story, because you can often lose that drive (no pun intended) to work out by not leaving your house. It doesn’t need to be that way, though, and I’ve come up with six ways to help you set up, maintain, and perform your exercise routine at home. Let’s get to it!
1. Set Up Goals
Skinny Ms recently wrote about seven of the best free apps to help you lose weight and keep it off, and I could not agree with those recommendations more. Further, according to that list and a fitness article by Verizon Wireless, it would appear that My Fitness Pal is the way to go if you’re looking for one app to meet your needs. It allows you to create goals and targets for your workout, which you should then accompany with rewards for yourself. Read more
If that’s not enough, I recommend setting an alarm for when you want to exercise as a reminder for the first week or so. You shouldn’t need it after your second week, though do feel free to use that method for as long as you need to keep on track.
2. Establish Cardio Routine
This list item (and the next) depends on your exercise routine and the goals you have established for yourself. But unlike the next item, it’s not completely dependent on the equipment you might have at your home.
If the weather allows, jogging, walking, or biking outside is your go-to longer-form cardio exercise, with how long you do so depending on your goals. But if you need to stay indoors, you can run up and down staircases, perform jumping jacks, use a jumping rope, or step up and down from a box. You should also try to do all of these as part of a single routine or one that fluctuates, because the variety will help exercise different muscles and keep the workout fresh.
3. Establish a Strength Training Routine
As I mentioned, you’ll need to determine your strength training goals before you can properly begin your routine. Also, this all depends on the equipment you might have in your home, though it’s not necessary to have that much to do some strength training. Here are a few exercises you can perform with little to no additional items:
Exercise Ball Push Ups: Place your hands on the exercise ball to perform this push up, which will work your upper body and your core.
Tricep Dips: Use the back of a stable chair to perform these dips, which you can make more strenuous by putting your feet on an elevated surface or item.
Lunges: You can do either your typical lunge or jumping lunge, both of which will work the upper muscles in your legs.
Pull Ups: If you have a pull-up bar already in your home, this one’s easy enough. If not, you can mimic the routine with a strong bar like a broom frame or something similar.
4. Get a Buddy
While certain studies suggest that exercising alone is less stressful than with someone else, doing so with another person you know is almost always a great idea. For one, they can help you maintain those goals you have set up for yourself and the two of you can even share goals and rewards. Additionally, it’s a lot easier to get up and exercise when you have someone outside of your home reminding you to do so and then joining you in the activity. Having a friend exercise with you also has safety-related benefits as they can assist you just in case anything happens.
5. Don’t Restrict Your Area
Just because you’re working out at home doesn’t mean you need to stay inside your home. The aforementioned cardio routine can easily include a trip outdoors, whether it’s a jogging route you’ve mapped out using an app like RunKeeper or a quick ride to a nearby bike path. According to the New York Times, there are multiple benefits to moving your workout to the outdoors whenever you can. They found a study of older adults that linked longer and more frequent exercise to an outdoor routine compared to those who perform their routine indoors. You don’t have to do everything outside, of course, but remember to mix it up to keep your routine fresh.
6. Stay Committed
Working out at home might be an easier option in terms of cutting back on commute and gym membership costs. But it can also lead to a constant struggle to maintain a routine when you’re not actually going anywhere other than your, say, living room. One simple way to stay committed is to abide by the aforementioned tip of setting up goals and, more importantly, keeping them. Those goals, which need to be smaller to start, should also come with rewards. If you’ve met your goal of losing a pound or two in two weeks’ time, treat yourself to a special meal or even a guilt-free dessert.
You should also try to go somewhere prior to working out in your home, whether it’s a walk to the mailbox or a jog around the block to get things going. That idea of a destination will make your home work out feel more like a trip to the gym than a walk down the hall.
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