All of us have had days when we hit the snooze button, and missed our gym time. And after that, we kept missing the morning workout boost.
“Even on days when you have other exercise plans, get out of bed and make a bee-line for a spot on the floor where you can spend as little as five minutes—60 seconds per move—to distribute blood flow to muscles, lubricate the joints and boost your metabolism,” advises Kimberly Watkins, a NYC based fitness expert, who’s also the CEO of inSHAPE Fitness and inMOTION Exercise on Demand.
In short, take a simple workout routine up a notch. You can do this by simply increasing the amount of time you spend on each move. Also, you can incorporate multiple sets, work with resistance equipment or add challenging variations.
Here are exercises you can easily do at home and your body will thank you for!
Squats create an anabolic environment that encourages body-wide muscle engagement. When done properly, Squats trigger the growth hormone to improve both your lower and upper body strength. Not to mention, they give you a major leg up in terms of calories burned. They also increase the flexibility of your hips. For every pound of muscle that you put on, your body burns another 50-70 calories per day.
Squats are also a form of function exercise. This means, they help your body perform day-to-day activities (that do not include operating gym equipment!) efficiently. In fact, having strong legs is crucial to preventing falls and other forms of muscle injury as you grow older.
Lastly, squats act as a catalyst in the regulation of insulin sensitivity and lipid metabolism. As a result, your chances of getting diabetes, obesity and various cardiovascular diseases are reduced. So, don’t forget to give your glutes the extra workout every day!
For variety, try a basic squat with side leg lift, sumo squat with lateral leg lift or a squat with a forward kick.
As a full-body strength training exercise, burpees lend your body the ability to burn 50% more fat than average exercises. They also speed up your metabolism during the day. As a result, you’ll continue to burn calories the entire time, even after your burpee session is done with. So, if you’re not a big fan of the elliptical machine or the recumbent bike, add some burpees to your routine to work on your arms, hamstrings, abs, chest, quads, and glutes.
Burpees are great for developing endurance. So, you’d notice your heart rate going up really fast. But don’t worry, once you get used to their fast-paced, dynamic pace, you’d be reaping a ton of benefits before you know it.
So, whether you’re looking to get back in shape, training for a triathlon, or trying to learn a new sport—burpees are worth the try. Mix them up with pull-ups, box jumps, or knee-ups to keep things fun and intensive. You can add burpees to literally any of your other workout exercises, as long as you’re ready to be creative!
Lunges are a compound exercise. They ensure that you consistently engage multiple joints (hips, knees, and ankles) and muscles to complete a movement. As a result, the primary muscle groups of your legs are activated. This dramatically increases the flexibility and motion span of the hip joint. If you’re a victim of lower back pain, lunges can be a blessing in disguise!
Since lunges are a single-leg exercise, only one side of your body is under duress as opposed to double leg squats or deadlifts that force both sides to be active during the workout. For those suffering from muscular imbalance, this is really helpful. As you are more dominant on one side than the other. (For example, if you’re a right-handed individual, you’re more likely to use the same side to complete most of your tasks.) Focusing only on only double-armed or double-legged exercises can make things worse. So, in the long run, lunges improve your body’s overall symmetry. They also prevent injuries that are oftentimes prompted by muscle imbalances.
Most people find lunges pretty uncomfortable. You may experience a slight pull in the front hip area of their back leg. However, this is a common and completely normal occurrence. When you add lunges to your workout, you’re stretching your hip flexors(that are connected to your quads, and thighbone). Hip flexors become chronically tight when you spend your days sitting at a desk or leading an inactive lifestyle. So, take a big step forward (literally!) and experiment with forward, backward, TRX Suspended and TRX Balance lunges!
Are you constantly hunching, and almost never stand straight? Bad posture is a very common problem amongst the masses. And overtime exerts a lot of unnecessary pressure on your spine and hips. Practising planks requires your back to be completely straight. This can initially cause discomfort. However, once your body adapts to the new exercise routine, you’d slowly see a drastic improvement in your posture and muscle strengthening.
Additionally, planks increase your athletic performance (especially, if it includes running); ability to lift weights; metabolism; flexibility of the shoulders, collarbones, and hamstrings; and overall core-definition. Since you’re balancing your entire body on your elbows and toes, planks can be instrumental in helping you find your center of gravity and adjust your coordination for the better.
The recommended duration for performing a plan is one minute at a time. They should be done at least ten times a day for maximum benefits. Try planking in sets, so you’re able to perform more reps at a time. You can also dabble in side-planks and include hand presses in your routine to switch things up.
Regardless of whether you’re a beginner or an expert in the fitness world, doing the aforementioned exercises a few times a week will really help you maintain your range of motion, energy, and strength. Considering that most of them incorporate the fundamental movements of pulling, pushing, strengthening, squatting and lifting, you can rest assured that you’re doing more than enough during your daily functional workout.
After all, if you love your body, what better way to take care of it than taking a little time out from your daily schedule and putting it to work?
For more information on all the different gyms and fitness activities (CrossFit, Yoga, Zumba, etc), you can try out in your city, check out Fitato. Fitato is your single membership to various gyms & fitness studios in your city. So what are you waiting for? Download the app now.