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Finding ways to exercise can be a difficult task during the winter months in the Midwest.
If you have a gym membership, awesome. Use it.
Getting one, however, can be expensive and there are plenty of ways to get a good workout in at home.
If you’re wanting to get more exercise, but are having trouble finding ways to do so, here are some simple workouts you can do at home that will be beneficial to your physical and mental health.
Obviously, if you own exercise equipment — like a treadmill, squat rack or dumbbells — that makes working out at home much easier. If you don’t have any exercise equipment and don’t feel like purchasing any, no problem. There are great workouts you can do using just your body.
There are numerous body weight exercises that will help strengthen your core. Two very simple ones are situps and planks.
When doing situps, make sure the rest of your body still is. This will put more pressure on your abs. As for planking, your toes and forearms should be the only things touching the ground. As you face the floor, keep your body as parallel to the ground as you can. Again, you want your core to do the heavy lifting, so staying in the proper plank form is key.
If a regular plank is too easy for you, there are other plank exercises that will give you a greater challenge. These include side planks, alternating shoulder tap planks and leg raise planks. If you search “different plank exercises” on Google or YouTube, you’ll find a variety of plank workouts to try.
If you’re wanting to try some less common core exercises, nutrition coach Catrina Yohay wrote a great article titled “The 15 Best Core Workouts You Can Do at Home, No Equipment Necessary.” She addresses the specific muscles that are being strengthened in each exercise and also provides the reader with a visual of each exercise.
If you feel like going for a run when it’s 10 degrees outside, go for it. Many of us, however, would much rather get the heart pumping in the 70-degree comfort of their own home.
That’s just fine too, and there’s a lot of different ways to do so without any equipment. Burpees, for example, are a great full-body workout that will have most people gasping for air after doing just 10 to 15 reps. A couple replacement options for running include running in place and running up and down a flight of stairs several times. If you challenge yourself, these will have you breathing hard pretty quickly.
Another place to find some great equipment-less cardio exercises is fitness writer and editor Zoe Weiner’s article “15 at-Home Cardio Workouts That Will Make You Want to Cancel Your Gym Membership.” In this article, she thoroughly explains each exercise, so you can give each one a try even if you’ve never heard of some of them.
If you’re looking to do more weight lifting rather than cardio, there are a number of lifts you can do without equipment or added weight.
For example, a substitute for bench press could be pushups. Both lifts strengthen the pectoral muscles. If regular pushups are too easy or too hard for you, there are plenty of other options. For example, incline pushups are easier than regular pushups, while decline pushups and close grip pushups are more challenging.
If you don’t have access to a squat rack or squats with added weight, you can do body squats and still feel the burn in your thighs after a good set. It may take more reps to do so, but body squats are a great substitute. You also can spice your workouts up with some jump squats, which will not only strengthen your quads but will help with your explosiveness and vertical jump as well.
If you push yourself and do as many as you can, they’ll have you feeling like you just ran a marathon.
Pushups and squats are just two good body weight lifts that don’t require equipment. If you want to discover more good body weight lifts that work various muscles such as the biceps, triceps, shoulders, hamstrings, and calves, read “Body weight Alternatives For Common Gym Exercises” and you’ll find some great replacement workouts with no equipment required.
Setting goals isn’t a priority when working out, but it can be a helpful motivator. Your goals can be short-term and long-term.
For example, you could set a goal to do 100 pushups in a 15-minute span. A long-term goal, on the other hand, could be increasing the number of pushups you can do in one sitting in a certain amount of time. For example, if you can do 10 pushups at a time, you could set a goal to be able to do 15 at a time by next month.
It can be really tough to motivate yourself to exercise, so setting goals may be that extra motivator you need to get your body moving.