Access to a large health club with your favorite exercise machines isn't necessary to get rid of flab and sculpt your muscles. You can get or stay fit at home without equipment if you get off the couch and move your body. Commitment, effort and a no-excuses attitude is all you need to work out at home and reach your fitness goals.
As anxious as you might be to get started on your workout, it's important to spend five to 10 minutes warming up your muscles and increasing the blood and oxygen flow through your body. Instead of being a time-waster, warming up prevents you from being sidelined on the couch due to injury. Spend five to 10 minutes walking around in the house. After a few minutes, start lifting your knees higher as if marching to further warm up and loosen your muscles and joints.
Get Your Heart Pumping
If being a couch potato has led you to a state of flabbiness, you can start shedding the fat at home without having to miss any of your favorite TV shows. March or jog in place for 30 to 60 minutes to get your heart-pumping and burn calories. Pump your arms like there's no tomorrow, and you'll feel your heart rate increase. You can also get your aerobic workout in while doing strength-training exercises by doing a circuit-training workout. Alternate three minutes of jumping jacks or running, walking or marching in place with 45 seconds of a strength-training move to burn fat and sculpt muscles.
Get Sleek and Toned with Strength Training
Your own body weight provides all the resistance you need to sculpt and tone your muscles. Work out your upper body with any variation of pushups, such as regular pushups, modified or wall pushups. Work your core with ab crunches, side and front planks, and the Cobra pose. Perform the Cobra by lying on your stomach with your hands resting below your shoulders. Push up to bring your upper body off the floor. Hold the position for 20 seconds, and then lower with control.
Work your booty, hips, thighs and ankles with squats and lunges. You can also slim your inner and outer thighs by standing or lying down while doing leg lifts. It's best to take a day off between strength-training sessions so your muscles can recover. Shoot for two to three sessions per week that last about 20 minutes each.
Cooling down after your exercise session helps your body recover from the workout. You can walk around the house again for five minutes, but you should also stretch your muscles to prevent soreness or stiffness the next day. Stand by the wall while resting your hand against it for balance. Lift your right foot toward your tush and grasp the ankle with your right hand. Hold the stretch without bouncing for 20 counts to lengthen and loosen the muscles of your thighs and butt. Once you're finished, stand up straight and alternately reach your straightened arms across your chest to stretch out your arms and back. Then, stand on your tiptoes and reach for the sky to stretch your ankles, calves, back, chest and arms.
- American Council on Exercise: At-Home (No Equipment) Workout
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: Warm Up, Cool Down and Be Flexible
- Columbia University: Working Out at Home
- Georgia State University: Lower Body Strength Training Exercises
- Georgia State University: Upper Body Strength Training Exercises
Mary Ylisela is a former teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and mathematics. She has been a writer since 1996, specializing in business, fitness and education. Prior to teaching, Ylisela worked as a certified fitness instructor and a small-business owner.