We all know the feeling… it’s cold outside, the bed is a lot warmer than the yoga mat, and your willpower is as close to zero as it can get. Making it to the gym feels the same as scaling Mount Everest at this point, and to be honest, you’d much rather just stay in bed for the rest of the day. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, the pandemic means the gym probably isn’t even open… so, the workout is put on the backburner, right? Wrong! Working out at home this winter – particularly during these unprecedented times – can actually be really fun! And no, you don’t need to rush out and buy a treadmill or spinning bike… you can just keep reading this blog for tips, advice, and motivation to get you out of bed, into your sport socks, and back to living a healthy, fit, pain free life! No equipment needed!
Keeping active is essential both in preserving your sanity as we enter the New Year, but also in strengthening and maintaining a healthy immune system. And the really great thing is… you don’t need a gym to achieve this! For the most part, gyms are convenient ways of introducing an exercise-oriented space into our lives, but they are by no means a requirement for fitness and health. You can easily attain the same type of fitness, exercise, and fun from working out at home. And for some of you reading this, working out at home may actually be a massive bonus – you can save time, money, gas, and could even incorporate family time into your workouts. Not to mention that you won’t be placing yourself at risk of a COVID-19 infection! Sounds good, right?
Well, if we’ve got you interested, let’s jump straight into how you can kick-start your fitness and health journey from the comfort of your home… no fancy equipment needed! Here’s how:
1. Set aside 15 – 30 minutes of your day for home fitness. Doing this simply means that you allocate that time to personal health – you may just stretch, dance, do a few crunches, or even run in place… the point is, you begin creating habits that will last.
2. Designate a space for exercising. Clear a space in your home that you can use to exercise – make sure you have enough space to stretch and move around freely. Doing this will mean that you begin training your mind to associate that space with fitness and health. The benefits of this will be astronomical in the long term.
3. Get mentally ready. Yep, that’s right. Get yourself excited about the prospect of getting fit, healthy, and happy. Rome wasn’t built in a day, so set yourself reasonable goals, aim to reach them within an achievable time frame, and remember that mistakes may happen. Just have fun – that’s what matters.
Those three steps out of the way, it’s time to take a look at some of the very simple exercises you can start incorporating into your home workouts. It may be snowing outside, but these moves will turn up the heat!
Bodyweight exercises cannot be understated – not only to they rely on nothing but your own weight to create resistance, they also do a fantastic job of creating strong muscles and posture. And all that means… yes, you guessed it…. a pain free, healthy life!
I’m sure you’ve heard of these before, but my guess is that’s because they are one of the best types of exercises you can do at home! Not only do they strengthen your leg muscles, but when done correctly they go a long way to maintaining good posture and a healthy back.
1. Make sure your back is straight and that your legs are spread shoulder-width.
2. Bring your hands together at your chest and bend your knees slightly.
3. While maintaining a straight back, continue to bend your knees, thereby allowing your buttocks to lower to the floor.
4. Before touching the ground, return to a standing position without curving your back.
5. Repeat 10 times.
*For more challenging squats, try holding the squat in position close to the floor – make sure you don’t convert the weight to your ankles; your thighs and lower back need to be engaged at all times.
Another great exercise for your legs is the humble lunge. Again, this move strengthens your leg muscles and core muscles, thereby promoting strong back muscles and a great posture.
1. Ensure you back is straight and that you stand with your legs slightly apart.
2. Move one leg out in from of you and bend the knee slightly.
3. Maintain a straight back and lower your body to the ground, all the while focusing on your balance and back posture.
4. Create an 80 degree angle with your outstretched leg.
5. Being your body back and repeat the move with the other leg.
6. Repeat 10 times.
*For a more challenging variation of the lunge, try doing it sideways. If you happen to have a bottle of water or heavier item around, pick that up and hold it close to your chest whilst lunging – this will increase the resistance through your legs.
This exercise is great for strengthening the core muscles – and if you’re not sure why that’s so important, check out one of our other posts related to core muscles health.
1. Lie on your back and bend your legs.
2. Make sure your hands are flat at your side and that your back is flat on the mat.
3. Lift your buttocks and back off of the floor, making sure to keep your shoulders firmly on the mat.
4. Bring your pelvis up to align with your bent knees, thereby creating a ‘plank’ effect.
5. Hold this pose for 15 seconds at a time, thereafter returning to the mat and repeating the action 10 times.
*For a more challenging variation of the glute bridge, straighten your legs one leg at a time when you’re in the ‘plank’ position. Keep your leg out straight for 5 seconds at a time, making sure your core muscles are engaged and that your back muscles remain supported.
Home workouts can be an invaluable resource to your health, and creating ones that challenge and invigorate you doesn’t have to be impossible. If you’re at a loss about where to start, if you’re worried about pain, or if you’re nervous about which exercises may be right for you, we invite you to chat to one of our hands-on, professional physical therapists for advice and help. We’d be happy to help you on your journey to health with tailor made exercises and stretches, as well as treatment for existing pain and stiffness.
Don’t let the winter weather stop you from living the fittest, healthiest life you can. For more information on optimizing your home workouts, stretches, and fitness regimes, contact us today!
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