The gym is expensive, and sitting in traffic to get there can be a drag. If you don't have the time or funds for a health club, no worries -- you can get an effective workout without leaving your front gate. If you're on a weight-loss mission, be warned that your diet affects fat loss even more than exercise. Pair your workout routine with a healthy eating plan that includes plenty of fresh fruits and veggies as well as whole grains and lean proteins.
Aerobic activity should make up the bulk of your routine. Pencil in at least 150 minutes of moderate cardio per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous cardio. For even better fitness, double those numbers. Moderate activities you can perform around the house include dancing and walking briskly. Swimming is another option if you have a pool. For vigorous cardio, go jogging, pop in a high-impact aerobics DVD, perform jumping jacks or jump rope. Choose whichever activity you enjoy the most -- the best exercise is the one you stick with.
Strength-training moves focus on building muscles for toning and increased metabolism. Fit these exercises in two or three times per week for 20 to 30 minutes at a time. Exercises that fit cozily into your home include pushups, crunches, supermans, leg lifts, squats, lunges and planks. Work all major muscle groups: legs, hips, stomach, chest, back and arms. Avoid pounding the same muscles two days in a row -- they need at least 24 hours to heal.
Scrubbing and mopping do more than just get your house sparkling clean -- these activities double as exercise. If you feel your heart beat faster as you work, you're benefiting. On average, house cleaning burns about 214 calories an hour if you weigh 150 pounds. Outdoor chores have even more calorie-torching effects: Raking melts more than 300 calories per hour, mowing the lawn with a push-mower burns nearly 400 calories an hour, and shoveling snow incinerates 430 calories in that same time span.
The extra calorie burn expedites weight loss, and exercise also supports your overall health in some important ways. Aerobic activity helps beat cardiovascular disease, the number-one killer of both women and men. Exercise also increases insulin sensitivity and helps you process glucose more efficiently, leading to reduced diabetes risk. Weight-bearing moves such as walking, running and most strength-training exercises help you maintain or even increase bone density, lowering the odds that you'll develop osteoporosis later in life. Exercise is even good for your psyche, fighting stress and depression.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How Much Physical Activity do Adults Need?
- American Council on Exercise: Top 25 At-Home Exercises
- MayoClinic.com: Fitting in Fitness: Finding Time for Physical Activity
- American Council on Exercise: Seasonal Chores That Turn Up the Heat
- IDEAFit.com: The 25 Most Significant Health Benefits of Physical Activity & Exercise
Nina K. is a Los Angeles-based journalist who has been published by USAToday.com, Fitday.com, Healthy Living Magazine, Organic Authority and numerous other print and web publications. She has a philosophy degree from the University of Colorado and a journalism certificate from UCLA.