Some days, like today in Chicago, it’s just really difficult to go outside, especially in the winter months. It can be rainy or cold, and the sun may already set by the time you get off work. So what are you going to do to get some exercise, especially if you don’t have a gym membership to rely on or want to stay healthy and exercise at home on a budget?
Here are some of my favorite ideas for ways you can exercise indoors at home: I recommend 3-4 sets of 12-15 reps for most. You beat the winter blues and you get your fitness routine in: legit awesome.
1. Jump Rope
My roommate recently bought a jump rope, and I couldn’t help but laugh because it reminded me of elementary school. I always thought jump ropes were for kids, but boy, was I wrong!
About a minute into jumping rope, I was literally out of breath. I only made it a few minutes, and my calves were killing me the next day.
If you want a good cardio workout in a matter of minutes, try a jump rope.
2. Stair Stepping
Stair stepping is a great exercise to do in your home, even if you don’t have a set of stairs available. Find the biggest book you own (or a sturdy chair), put it in front of the TV, and step up and down while watching your favorite show. You may not work up a sweat like you would with a jump rope, but you will be keeping your body active and healthy.
3. The Plank
If you don’t have a lot of time, but you want to build up your core muscles, this is the exercise for you. Get into a push-up position, but instead of bending your arms and moving down towards the floor, hold the position with your arms extended. Start off holding the position for 30 seconds, and add an additional 10 seconds every day. See how long you can go for – it’s definitely not easy! This is one of the most challenging exercises, but it’s also one of the of the best for your core.
In college, I dated a really quirky and fun girl. She would get bored with normal workouts, so she started to have dance parties: I eventually joined in the fun. Once a week, we picked out different music and just danced to our hearts’ content.
Dancing is an excellent way to burn calories, and get your heart rate going while having fun. If you are in the privacy of your own home, there is no need to look like a pro or impress anyone.
I was in a workout class a few weeks ago, and one of the exercises was to do lunges down the hallway. Instead of stepping back into place, we would step forward, and we would continue until we made it all the way down the hallway and back. I could always feel the intense burn in my legs with this workout.
You can do the same thing in your home. Try it whenever you go down the hall, or from room to room. If that gets too easy for you, hold weights in your hands to make the lunges more challenging.
6. High Knees
I really love running, so I tried to run in place in my home one day when the weather was bad. While it was great that I was able to keep my body active, running in place was very awkward. My heart rate did not get very high either.
Instead of running in place, I’ve found that high knees can really get your heart pumping, especially if you go double time. To do this exercise, march in place or down a hall, and bring your knees as high as they can go.
7. Jumping Jacks
This is another elementary school throwback, but it offers a great cardio workout. If you are watching a TV show, get up during the commercials and do a round of jumping jacks.
Note: these are always more fun with a buddy or two. For guys, I recommend adding a dose of push-ups for strength training. A solid 25-30 minutes of this routine should be enough for most folks to break a sweat and feel the burn. Stay warm, Chicago!