Whether you’re looking to save on monthly membership costs or Covid-19 is making you rethink the whole “sweating in close quarters with strangers” thing, you should know that it’s a lot easier than you would think to achieve a great workout right from the comfort of your own home. And the best part is that you can do it all with little to no equipment.
An all-encompassing, effective workout plan includes each of the following: warmup, cardio, flexibility, strength training, and cooldown – all of which can be done without stepping inside of a gym or using any equipment.
Warmup and Cooldown
Warming up and cooling down before and after any workout are vital processes because they help to keep your muscles from becoming too stiff or sore, improve your athletic performance, reduce stress on your heart, and lower your risk of injury.
A warmup can be as easy as a slow 5-10 minute walk or lightly jogging in place for a few minutes. After a cardio session, you can cool down with the same cardio activity you were doing, but at a less intense pace, for 5-10 minutes.
Cardio is an essential piece to any workout for numerous reasons: it aids in calorie burn and weight loss, strengthens your heart and increases your lung capacity, reduces your risk of many diseases, and lowers your stress levels.
Cardio is what most of us think of when we hear the word “exercise,” and includes anything that increases your heart rate and helps you break a sweat. Running, swimming, power walking, biking, aerobics – all of these activities will get your heart pumping. If you don’t want to create your own workout, there are tons of online classes that offer everything from virtual kickboxing to energizing Zumba.
Aim for 30 minutes a day of moderate cardio or 20 minutes a day of vigorous exercise, five days a week. When it comes to cardio though, even doing a little goes a long way and produces plenty of benefits.
Also known as weight or resistance training, strength training is key to an overall workout plan. It benefits your heart, strengthens your bones, improves your balance, prevents the natural loss of muscle mass that comes with aging, and helps you lose weight. A solid strength training workout should incorporate all major muscle groups from your upper body, lower body, abs, and back.
Proper strength training can be as simple as doing sit-ups, squats, crunches, lunges, Russian twists, and pushups, or holding planks. You can also work with small dumbbells, weighted or medicine balls, and bands. Try to do three sets of 15-20 repetitions of each exercise.
Increasing your flexibility is invaluable to your overall health and happiness. A strong, flexible body means less pain and injuries, improved posture and balance, better strength and physical performance, and a relaxed, positive mind.
Including flexibility movements into your workout routine is as easy as doing a few simple stretches and some basic yoga poses. Think in terms of downward facing dog, spinal twists, child’s pose, or sun salutations. Make your body and mind happy by adding a few of them to the beginning or end of your daily workouts.
Remember that when it comes to the health of your body and mind, exercise is as important as eating and sleeping, but it doesn’t have to be difficult to be effective or fun.
Get creative with it and you’ll look forward to your gym-free workouts in no time at all!