Boost Your Fitness—6 Exercises You Can Do at Home

When you want to get in some exercise but the weather is keeping you indoors, we have a workout that requires only some open floor space and you! You can do an indoor workout in your living room, bedroom or wherever you have space.

The American Council on Exercise recommends that your exercise routine(s) should include three exercise categories:

  • Aerobic Exercises

This gets your heart beating faster by using your large muscles. Walking, jogging, bicycling (or a stationary bike), swimming, rowing and dance exercises are good aerobic activities.

  • Strength Conditioning

These exercises work your muscles and make they stronger. Strength conditioning also helps your bones to become stronger. You can use free weights or your body’s weight.

  • Stretching Exercises

These activities stretch your muscles. They help improve your flexibility and joint range of motion.

Circuit Training?

Unfamiliar with the term? This involves doing a succession of activities that get your heart rate up. Circuit training incorporates strength training without breaks in between.

Here’s an example of a circuit training workout you can do at home. For strength training, you can use light free weights. If you don’t have free weights, you can fill one or two milk jugs or large plastic bottles with water and they’ll do the trick. Or you can skip the exercises with free weights. You’ll still get a great workout.

Warm up — It’s a good idea to warm up before working out. A good warm up ramps up your blood flow and stretches your muscles before you start. This can help prevent injuries.

Start by walking in place for a while. After you’re going, bring your knee up to your chest as you walk. Warm up until your body feels warm and you start to sweat. When you’re ready:

  • 15 leg squats — Keep your legs hip-width apart and your back flat. Slowly bend your hips and knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Return to starting position. Repeat 15 times if you can.
  • 15 shoulder raisesStand straight with your feet about hip-width apart. Hold the weights in your hands by your sides. Exhale and lift your arms out from your sides to about the level of your shoulders. Don’t bend your wrists. Lower slowly. Repeat 15 times if you can.
  • 15 lungesStand straight. Step forward with one foot. Bend your front knee and lower your hips until your front thigh is almost parallel to the floor. Your back knee, ankle and foot will also bend. Try to keep your back straight. Using your front leg, push back into the starting position. Repeat on the other side. Aim to repeat this move 15 times on each side.
  • 15 bicep curlsStand with a weight in one hand. Keep your back straight. Slowly bend your elbow and bring your hand with the weight up toward your shoulder with your palms facing up. Keep your elbows at your sides. Release and repeat on the other side. You can also do both arms at the same time with a weight in each hand. Do 15 curls on each side if you can.
  • 12 to 15 bent-knee pushups Start on your hands and knees. Your hands should be right under your shoulders with your fingertips pointing forward. Keeping your body and legs straight down to your knees, slowly bend your elbows so your chest moves toward the floor. Don’t let your back sag. Press with your arms to push yourself back up. If it is too hard to do from the floor, you can stand up and do pushups off the wall or kitchen counter until you gain enough strength to move to the floor. Make your goal to repeat 12 to 15 times.
  • 15 crunchesLie on your back with your knees raised and bent and your feet flat. Your heels should be about a foot away from your butt. Cross your hands in front of your chest. Exhale, tighten your abdominal muscles, and slowly curl up so your head, shoulders, and upper back are off the mat. Keep your chin tucked close to your neck and your lower back on the floor. Hold for a moment and then release. Repeat this 15 times.

Go through this routine once when you’re getting started. Over time as you get stronger, you can increase to two or three time through the routine.

If you’d like to boost the challenge, do 30 seconds of jumping jacks or running in place between each exercise.

When you’re done with your workout, give yourself a hearty congratulations! You’ve just reduced your risks for a number of medical problems.

How Often Should You Workout?

You can do a workout like this two or three times a week.

If you’re trying to lose weight, the American Council on Exercise notes you can burn more calories by working out more often. It’s important that you schedule one day off each week to allow your body time to recover.

Keep in mind that exercising muscles helps them burn more calories even when you’re not working out!

The American Heart Association and the American College of Sports Medicine recommend that you exercise moderately for 150 minutes each week. Moderate is defined as a level of intensity where you’re just about to break a sweat. Exercising for 150 minutes (two and one-half hours) a week is a great goal to aim for.

See Your Health Care Professional

Before you begin an exercise program, check with your health care provider. This ensures you’re fit to do the activities you plan.

Letting your health care provider know about your plans also gives you some accountability. Most of us won’t want to report on our next health care visit that we failed to follow through on our exercise plans.

More Information About Your Fitness and Health

As you progress in building your fitness, more professional guidance is available online. The Aurora Sports Medicine Institute is a great resource.

Check with Your Health Care Provider If…

Call your health care provider right away if during or just after your workout you:

  • Feel pressure or pain in your chest, shoulder, arm or neck.
  • Feel nauseous.
  • Have severe pain.
  • Feel lightheaded.
  • Have trouble breathing or shortness of breath even after you stop exercising.

Get more helpful health and fitness information on the Aurora Health Care Facebook page. Like us Aurora Health Care on Facebook. 

Additional resource: MedlinePlus from the U.S. National Library of Medicine

Meet the Author

Amy R. Ford, DO, practices Sports Medicine, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Aurora Medical Center in Summit, WI

Read more posts from this author

The information presented in this site is intended for general information and educational purposes. It is not intended to replace the advice of your own physician. Contact your physician if you believe you have a health problem.

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