We all make plans to go to the gym, start swimming, or take dance lessons to get a good workout but after a few weeks or so, the enthusiasm fades and we skip a day here and a day there.
Unlike we initially planned – which was to exercise four to five times a week – we are down to twice or, at the best, thrice a week. This definitely wrecks havoc on your fitness plans and all your hard work to lose weight yields no results.
We’ve all been there and there is no reason to lose hope because it happens to everybody. Sometimes when it’s pouring rain or there is just too much work to finish, the last thing you want to do is head to the gym. But if you’ve made big fitness resolutions for 2016, skipping workouts just because you’d rather go out for a drink with your friend isn’t going to help your cause.
What I’ve realized is we can compensate for a busy schedule or simply laziness by adding some home workouts into our routine that will make sure you break a sweat without using a single piece of equipment. Try these at-home exercise routines and you may never set foot inside a gym again, though I recommend you only use these as temporary options and not permanent alternatives.
First up, try a combination of climbing stairs, jump rope, and dancing to a song. This shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes but at the end of it, you’ll be sweating like never before. First climb stairs for five minutes, taking a 10 second break between one set that is a once up and down of around 15-20 steps. Then grab a skipping rope and enjoy being a child again for the next five minutes, again resting for 10 seconds between each set that is 150-200 jumps. Then at the end of this, dance away to your current favorite item number.
This exercise is ideal for early mornings when you want to have a quick, energetic start to your day. Try doing this at least three times a week, alternating with some strength training. This quick cardio fix burns at least 300 calories and you won’t have to berate yourself if you don’t make it to the gym after work.
Also as women, we are familiar with those tricky trouble zones that take a little extra work to tighten and tone. After a lot of exercise trial and error, I’ve finally found a couple of exercises that help me shape up and feel confident in in a crop top or a sari. I enjoy these exercises and recommend it to anybody who asks for my fitness tips.
Discovering planks is perhaps the best thing that has happened to me exercise-wise. I’ll let you in on a little secret: This exercise is my secret weapon to help tighten and shrink my waistline. It works the deep abdominal muscles that many other abs exercises don’t reach. And it’s so simple and basic that you’ll be surprised. Simply lie on your left side with your knees straight. Prop your upper body up on your left elbow and forearm. Raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from your ankles to your shoulders. Hold this position for a minute, though beginners can start with just 30 seconds. Turn around so that you’re lying on your right side and repeat. Repeat if you can, otherwise even a single set is enough for a day. You can also try the elbow plank as an add-on to the side plank. The trick here is to support your whole body by your elbows and forearm while lying face down and not on your sides.
Another exercise I absolutely swear by is the stepups. This exercise targets the muscles of your glutes and hamstrings to create leaner legs, and a tighter rear. Again this is very basic and simple. Stand in front of a bench or step and place your right foot on the step. Make sure you are exerting maximum pressure here. Doing this and push your body up until your right leg is straight. Lower your body down until your left foot touches the floor and repeat.
Keep in mind that you aren’t leaning forward or too far back but have your chest up and core tight throughout the exercise. Do this on one side for 15 times and repeat with the other leg. This is one set. You can choose to start with a single set and then take it up to three to four sets. Before long, you’ll have legs you’ll want to flaunt all without hitting the gym.
There is one other exercise that I do every single day without fail and recommend that you try it out too. Not only is this exercise a great way to reduce the appearance of cellulite, it also activates your core and tightens it. Doing a shoulder stand or putting your legs up the wall for five minutes every day is the perfect way to put all your lower muscles to use.
To do this, first lie down on your back and lift your legs and hips off the ground. Then bring your legs up over your head until your toes touch the floor behind you. Place your hands behind your back and extend legs straight up in the air. Make sure your body is in a straight line from shoulders to ankles. Keep your neck relaxed and hold the position for one minute. Relax and repeat for five minutes. This might be a bit tough initially but with regular practice you’ll get there and love it.
These are some home exercises that I have come to enjoy and do on a regular basis. Now, with even just three days of cardio at the gym, I don’t have to worry about my fitness plan falling apart because doing these home workouts ensure that I’m on the right track. I recommend you do the cardio bit for three days a week and on the other days try the strength exercises while doing the shoulder stand every day for five minutes. I guarantee you’ll have a body you are proud of in no time.
If you have any home workouts that you’d like to share The Week would love to hear from you.