Stay At Home Fitness (Continued)
Of course, not everyone watches television. Does that mean that your at-home workout needs to be boring? Not at all. There are plenty of methods of burning calories that aren't the fitness equivalent of watching paint dry. For starters, your workout can have utility. Remember those household chores mentioned earlier? They burn calories, especially the more physically demanding of those tasks. So, mopping your floor, shoveling the snow from your driveway, raking those leaves from your lawn – they are all forms of at-home exercise.
Getting Fit At Home
Apart from household chores, there are a host of popular gym exercises you can perform at home with little or no fitness equipment. All that's required is a little ingenuity. To help get you started, here are just a few tips:
- Soup Can Press – Using soup cans in place of dumbbells, you can perform a variety of pressing exercises, including the military press, dumbbell press, and the French press. You can also use soup cans to perform bicep curls and lateral raises. NOTE: Be sure you have a firm grip on the soup cans, as they can slip. Weights and dumbbells are extremely affordable and may be a safer option.
- Chair Dips – Placing your hands behind you and firmly planted on the edge of a chair, slowly lower and raise your body to work your arm and chest muscles.
- Stair Climbs – Find a set of at least five steps and make repeated trips up and down the flight, working the leg muscles and improving cardiovascular health.
- Milk Jug Rows – Fill empty plastic milk jugs with sand, seal with duct tape, and use the bottles to perform a variety of rowing exercises, including the bent-over row, one-arm rows, and upright rows.
- Chair Stands – Start by sitting upright in a chair with your feet about shoulder width apart on the ground. Using your abdominal and leg muscles, take about three whole seconds to stand up, hold for one second, and then take three seconds to return to the seated position.
- Backpack Squats – If you are able to do several squats with more than just your own bodyweight, fill an old backpack with some relatively heavy items and then slip the backpack on. Squat with your feet slightly further than shoulder width apart, keeping your back as straight as possible.
- Milk Crate Bench – Place a long, sturdy plank over two milk crates. For padding, wrap the plank with an old blanket and secure it with rubber bands. This can be used during dumbbell presses and several other resistance training exercises.
- Body-Weight Exercises – Use your own body weight as resistance during such exercises as push-ups, pull-ups, squats, lunges, and the plank.
Whichever method you choose, be it the TV workout or the at-home version of the more traditional gym workout; don't let boredom and distraction get in the way of your progress. Even if you can only complete a portion of the exercises, your effort will still pay off with a reduction in weight and better blood sugar management. The key to any workout regimen, whether it involves watching TV or carrying one around over your head, is to stick with it.
Reviewed by Francine Kaufman, MD. 4/08
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