Rainy weather makes us all want to forgo the gym and pop in a movie complete with pop corn, soda and leftover candy from the holidays (you couldn’t throw it out, could you?). But that’s no excuse!
We all know that fitness is good for us physically; it reduces stress and keeps us at a healthy weight. But sometimes it can be hard to know where to start and how to progress your fitness level. Fitness includes many areas: cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speech, agility, balance, coordination and accuracy. We have the ability to increase any of those areas!
But, who has time? Here are a few short workouts at home that require little to no equipment. Everything can be modified so that all fitness levels can increase in just minutes a day.
Note: Before starting any of these listed below, check with your doctor to make sure that your heart is healthy enough for exercise. If you have knee pain, check with your physician before completing this exercise.
Exercise #1 Box Squats
Background: I love box squats because the nature of the exercise makes your body perform the squat correctly. I believe the most important exercise to do regularly is the squat. This variation of the squat can be performed at home and all you need is a stable chair. This is also an exercise that beginners and athletes can perform to strengthen knee stabilizing muscles and control at the bottom of the squat.
To perform: Start with feet close to chair or surface you are sitting on to. The chair should rest about the height of your knees.
- Pull your arms parallel to the floor.
- Lower your hips and sit them as far back as possible.
- Keep your back straight and weight on the heels.
- Look straight in front of you and keep your arms up and parallel to the floor.
- Once fully seated, stand up while keeping the knees pointed outward with arms fully extended in front of you.
- Do not use your arms to push off you knees – make your legs do the work!
Option # 1: Complete as many box squats in 5 minutes as possible. This one is easy to do during commercials or while watching the news.
Option # 2: Complete 30 box squats, take a 2 minute break, then complete 20 box squats. After taking a final 2 minute break, complete 20 box squats. Done!
Option # 3: If you want to progress the exercise, stop just before touching the seat and hover for a few seconds. Or, complete the exercise with dumbbells resting on the shoulders or a barbell on the back. Another way to increase the difficulty is to try 10 minutes of reps or 2 rounds of 5 minute reps with a short break in between.
Four Reasons Squats Rock:
- Squats work not only the legs; but the hips, back, abdominal muscles, and calves. It’s a while body workout with one easy movement.
- Keeping your arms raised maintains correct positioning of your back while also working the shoulder and arm muscles.
- Building muscle will burn more calories throughout the day, even when you are not being active.
- Toning the muscles that support the joins will help decrease pain in the knees, hips, back and help prevent injuries down the road.