One of the biggest obstacles to achieving personal fitness “Getting Fit” is going to the gym. For some people, it’s too costly. For others, it’s an embarrassment, particularly if you’ve gotten really out of shape. And for still others, it’s just inconvenient, whether because they live too far from a gym or their schedule doesn’t permit it.
Whatever your reasons are, skipping the gym doesn’t mean you can’t get fit. And you won’t have to invest in a lot of expensive exercise equipment for your home, either.
Read on to learn how you can get in shape on your own, with nothing but a bit of knowledge and the body you already have.
Aerobic exercise is important for your cardiovascular health. These exercises put your muscles to work, but the main goal is to get your heart pumping, which is important for maintaining its health into old age. Since you’re not going to invest in a stationary bike or elliptical machine, you’ll have to get your cardio workout elsewhere. Jumping jacks and jogging in place are cardio exercises that don’t require leaving the house.
If you’ve got stairs, quickly climbing and descending them repeatedly is also a great aerobic workout. If you can, hit the road and do some running.
You can spice up your running with things like interval training, in which you jog for five minutes, sprint for one, then jog for one, then sprint for one, repeating 5-10 times. Jumping rope is another cardiovascular exercise you can easily do in your home. Maintain a brisk pace and jump for 10-15 minutes.
You’ll know these exercises are working when you feel your heart racing. They’re also great for weight loss.
Arms and Chest
You don’t need weight training to get a buff upper body. Your body’s weight can be used to achieve the same resistance effect you look for in weight training, and if you’re just looking to get in shape, you won’t need massive weights (yet). Pushups are one great chest and arm exercise. On your first day working out, do as many as you physically can, keeping count. Halve that number, and when you exercise again, do three sets of that number with minute-long breaks in between. Make sure your form is on point:
keep your back completely straight, lifting with your arms, and go down far enough that your chest touches the ground.
Dips are another great body weight exercise. Sit with your back to a chair or bench, placing your hands on the edge. Extend your feet out in front of you, so your body weight rests on your arms, and lower yourself to the ground so your arms are bent at a 90-degree angle, then lift yourself back up.
Repeat as many times as possible, then use the method described for pushups to determine how many you’ll do in each set.
You will need a small amount of equipment if you want to really increase the size of your biceps. But installing a pull-up bar is easier than you’d think. And you can also substitute gallon jugs of liquid or backpacks full of books for weights if you’d like to experiment with curls, but don’t want to invest in barbells.
You can target your lower ab muscles with leg lifts. In this simple exercise, lay completely flat on your back with your palms flat by your sides and elevate your legs, with your knees locked, as high as you can.
Keep them elevated for 30 seconds, if possible, then lower them and rest. Repeat as many times as you can. Crunches are another popular core exercise that require no gym equipment (although a mat can reduce discomfort if you’re working out on a hard surface).
A good variation: start with your arms all the way behind your back and slowly bring them forward as you come up to a sitting position. Rushing through crunches makes them easier, but actually works your core less. These exercises can also help with weight loss.
When you learn to exercise with minimal equipment, anywhere can be your gym! Put these exercises into practice and start getting in shape today, with no membership required.