Exercising at home is a great option when you don't have time to get to a gym or just plain can't afford it. And if you it's your abs and thighs you want to work on, you probably have most of the equipment you need right at home. With some stairs and the floor, you've got it covered. Just bear in mind that if you're looking to tone up your abs and thighs and lose some extra padding, you're going to have to include at least 150 minutes a week of aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, to your agenda to see some real results.
Lie on your back on an exercise or yoga mat for some yogic bicycles. Bend your knees toward your chest and clasp your hands behind your head. Exhale and hollow your belly toward the floor. Lift your head and shoulders off the floor as you simultaneously bring your right elbow toward your left knee while extending your right leg. Inhale and return to the bent-knee starting position. Repeat on the other side. Complete 10 on each side to start and work your way up to 25 per side over time.
Stay on your back for a set of arm and leg lifts for your abs. Stretch your arms over your head and lay them on the floor behind you. Lengthen your back by angling your tailbone up. Exhale, hollow your belly toward the floor and lift your right leg and left arm into the air at the same time. Touch your right foot or anywhere on the lower right leg with your left hand. Inhale and return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side and work your way up to 20 per side over time.
Come onto all fours on a mat with your arms shoulder-width apart and your knees hip-width apart. Exhale, lower your head and raise your left knee toward your head. Inhale, lift your head and extend your left leg straight back until it is parallel or slightly higher than parallel to the floor. Perform at least 10 and up to 20 on your left side, and then switch sides.
Step your feet at least 3 feet apart and turn your toes out for a set of Sumo squats for your thighs. Lift your arms to shoulder height in front of you. Slowly lower down until your upper thighs are parallel to the floor. Keep your knees in line with your feet, not jutting forward. Rise back up to standing. Perform eight reps. When that becomes too easy, add another set of eight reps up to a maximum to three sets. For variation, try the Sumo squats on your toes.
Hold onto the back of a chair with your left hand for a series of one-legged squats that target your thighs. Lift your left foot off the floor and balance on your right foot. Lower down until your right thigh is parallel to the floor, or as far as you can until you build up your thigh strength. Keep your left foot off the floor. Return to standing. Do as many as you can on the left side and then repeat on the right. Work your way up to 10 on each side over time.
Put on your sneakers for a stair-climbing exercise at home. Even if you only have one flight of stairs to work with, you can add variety and speed to make this an effective exercise for your thighs. Warm up by walking up and down the stairs slowly a couple of times using the handrail for support. After warming up, increase your speed to a fast walk or run. Go up and down the stairs six to 10 times. Rest for a couple of minutes and then repeat. To mix it up, walk up every second step or step your feet to the outside edges of the stairs as you ascend and walk down the stairs normally.
- CDC: How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?
- Yoga Sanctuary; Shiva Rea; CD
- Kundalini Yoga; Gurmukh; DVD
- Kundalini Yoga to Detox and Destress; Maya Fiennes; DVD
- You Are Your Own Gym; Mark Lauren
- Bodybuilding.com: Using Stair Exercises
- Perform these at-home exercises for your abs and thighs for about 20 minutes, every second day.
- Check with your health care provider before beginning an exercise program for the first time, if you have been away from fitness programs for a while or if you have any chronic health issues.
Linda Kaban is a certified yoga teacher and professional life coach who specializes in helping people achieve their fitness goals. With a bachelor's degree in the humanities, Kaban has been writing since 1998 and has been published in YOGALife magazine along with other healthy living publications.