Some people are just turned off by the idea of going to the gym. To many, the idea of pushing your body to the max, heart racing with sweat spraying everywhere is not how they want to spend their evenings after a hard day at work. Exercise doesn’t always have to take such extreme forms, though. By combining low-intensity exercises with a balanced diet, it’s still possible to take care of your health and even get that coveted beach body.
Rather than getting your heart racing and potentially doing damage to your knee joints while doing your daily workout, why not explore some different ways to do it? Elliptical trainers have less impact on your knee and ankle joints, and with the right settings you can burn those calories and feel like you’re simply treading water. Just put your favourite movie on and forget that you are doing exercise altogether! If you do decide to use a treadmill, a simple walk every day on an uphill setting can be enough to keep you looking trim. Use a couple of dumbbells to work out your upper body while you’re at it.
Tai Chi and yoga are great low-impact, low-intensity exercise that you can do at home. Gentle, fluid movements ensure you tone your muscles without overly stressing your joints. Do Pilates to strengthen your core, too.
Work out doing chores
Perhaps the easiest way to get a workout at home is to get stuck into the household chores and jobs that need doing. You can build strength by pulling up weeds in the garden, chopping and carrying logs for the fire, carrying home the groceries on foot and countless other ways. Mop the floor with a wet cloth, rather than a mop. Get down on your knees and extended the cloth back and forth in front of you, scrubbing the floor clean and working out your abs and shoulder muscles.
Anything high up that needs cleaning or dusting, such as light fittings, fans and so on, you can do in the normal way, but in order to make it more of a work out, step up and down from the chair which gives you the height you need. You will basically be performing step-up and stretch over and over. If the thing you need to clean doesn’t have the height to warrant using a chair, you could use this an opportunity to get some calf-raises into your workout. Basically all you need to do is position your feet together and stand on your tiptoes, working out different muscles in your legs.
The kitchen and washrooms over ample opportunities to do some squats. When emptying the dishwasher, washing machine or fetching things from a low-down shelf or cupboard, we usually stoop down, grab as much as we can hold and take it to where we need it. This type of moving can cause back injuries and doesn’t exactly give us much of a workout. In order to maximise the benefit from doing such a chore, squat down each time you want to take an item. Take only one item at a time. If you’re emptying a full dishwasher, this could give you up to 100 squats without even thinking about it.
You can work out your obliques by sitting on the floor when you are ironing or folding clothes. Once an item is finished, hold it with both hands and turn to one side and let it go. Be sure to make use of both sides – you could use this to sort clothes between different owners.
Other tips include performing lunges whilst vacuuming or mowing the lawn, adding bicep curls whenever you find yourself carrying groceries or rubbish bags, wiping the windows in circular motion (as Mr. Miyagi recommended in the film Karate Kid – in fact his advice was to wax the car and paint the fence, both of which you could do).
You can always get in extra step ups when you have to go upstairs or downstairs and there are countless other ways you’ll find to do low-intensity exercise at home, once you’ve got used to thinking about it. So there’s really no need to feel guilty about not wanting to play squash or hit the gym after work anymore. You’ll be working out anyway!