No matter how athletic and dedicated you are, making time to work out at the gym can sometimes feel like a struggle. Whether it’s a hectic day at work or a crazy day with the kids, gym time is usually first to fall to the wayside.
Incorporating some easy, at-home exercises into your routine can help to keep you active, even on the tough days.
1. Chairs – Not Just for Sitting
Grab a dining room chair and step up with both legs, and then down again, alternating which leg steps first. Do this with high intensity for 30 seconds, then give yourself a 30-second break. Next, turn around to perform triceps dips. With your hands on the seat of the chair behind you, your legs out straight in front, and your body flat, lower by bending your elbows until you almost hit the floor. Push back up so your arms and legs are straight. Do this also for 30 seconds.
Just by using one simple chair and doing these two exercises, you’ve successfully worked your glutes, thighs and upper arms, all while strengthening your core.
2. Use the Floor for Your Core
Planking is a great way to work your core in the smallest of rooms.
Position yourself on the floor just as you would for a push up, but rest on your elbows with your forearms and palms pressed into the ground. Hold the straight-body pose for as many seconds as you can, with the goal being 30-60 seconds before pausing to rest. Do 10 reps.
Once you’ve mastered planking, you can graduate to side planks and leg abduction planks. You can also alternate planking with push ups by doing six reps of holding a plank for 10 seconds and then doing two push ups. While you’re on the ground, consider flipping over for 30 seconds of abdominal crunches.
3. Step It Up
Get your heart rate up and work your legs and glutes with high knees. While running in place, lift your knees as high as you can toward your chest.
Combine doing lunges and squats with high knees to get a full leg workout. Start with squats for 30 seconds, then do high knees for 30 seconds, and end with 30 seconds of lunges.
4. Act Like a Kid
Who didn’t perform jumping jacks in P.E. as a child? In fact, for those with children, this is a great exercise to incorporate into family time.
Start with your legs slightly apart in line with your shoulders, and your arms straight down. Jump into a position with your legs spread wide and your arms up over your head. Repeat the movement at an intense level for 2 rounds of 30 seconds each, with a 15-second rest between.
5. Stretch Past Your Comfort Zone
Centre yourself, lower your stress, increase your flexibility and improve your strength with a daily dose of yoga.
Start by holding these simple poses for 30 seconds each. Begin with the mountain pose. Stand tall with your feet together and weight equally distributed. Take a deep breath and raise your arms straight up, palms facing each other and fingertips toward the ceiling.
Next, move into the tree pose. Standing with your arms at your sides, shift your weight onto your left leg and place the sole of your right foot on your left thigh. Inhale and extend your arms above your shoulders. Repeat with the other leg.
Transition into the triangle pose by extending your arms out and spreading your legs approximately three feet apart. Reach toward your right leg with your right hand, and toward the sky with your left. Look toward the ceiling. Balance things out by repeating with your other leg.
What are your go-to exercises for when you aren’t able to make it to the gym?