Does winter weather have you camping out on the couch? It's time to join the ranks of the physically active. Studies show everyone from children to older adults can benefit from home-based exercise programs.
This season, stay in shape with your own at-home boot camp-style workout - no personal trainer, fancy equipment or gym membership required. The secret to this trendy tone-up is mixing calorie-burning cardio intervals with moves that build strength using the weight of your own body. Here's how.
The warm-up: Start with five to 10 minutes of easy motion, such as walking in place or riding a stationary bike.
The moves: Choose eight to 10 strength-training moves that work all your major muscle groups: legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms. Here are a few favorites:
- Push-ups - for your arms, chest and shoulders. Make sure your palms are flat and your hands are shoulder-width apart. Slowly lower your body to the floor, bending your elbows. Push back upward against the floor until your arms are fully extended. Repeat 12 to 20 times. If you are a beginner, start with knee push-ups. Knee push-ups are performed in the same manner as the standard push-up except you are on your knees instead of your feet.
- Bridge - for your abs, glutes and hips. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Contract your abs and glutes, exhale and lift your hips off the floor. Inhale and lower slowly down to starting position. Repeat 12 to 20 times.
- Squats - for your hips, thighs and glutes. Stand in front of a sturdy, armless chair. Place your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Extend your arms in front of you. Slowly bend your knees and lower yourself down until you're almost seated, taking care not to extend your knees past your toes. Slowly rise back to a standing position. If this move is too difficult, you can use your hands to push up from the chair for help. Repeat 10 times.
Note: the number of reps you do for any exercise should be based on your ability to do them without compromising your form.
The intervals: After every two strength-training moves, do 60 seconds of cardiovascular exercise. This could be anything that gets your heart pumping, from jumping rope to dancing to jumping jacks.
The cool down: When you're done, do another five to 10 minutes of gentle motion to lower your heart rate.
The payoff: This type of workout can burn up to 600 calories an hour, according to a study by the American Council on Exercise. It also strengthens your muscles and improves your endurance. Plus, you'll have fun in the process.
Note: The amount of calories you burn will still depend on your weight and your exercise intensity level. The estimated burned calories cited here are based on a 150- to 160-pound person.
As with any fitness routine, check with your doctor before beginning if you're 35 or older, obese, have heart disease or another chronic health condition, or have recently had surgery.
Sharp HealthCare offers a number of exercise courses throughout the community. Find one near you.