Winter’s icy roads and sub-zero temperatures can make it difficult for you to get your daily exercise. Instead of staying cooped up on the couch, turn your living room into a gym! Build muscle and break a sweat with these six exercises that can be done at home without any fancy equipment.
Stairs. Few exercises get your heart pumping and blood moving faster than a good stair workout. Pop in some headphones with an upbeat song and get moving, going up and down the first one or two steps on your staircase. Or, put those old phonebooks to use by stacking them and creating your own stairs in front of the TV. For a solid cardio workout, move up and down the steps for at least 20-30 minutes. Try stepping forward, backward, and sideways to really give those leg muscles a good stretch.
High Knees. Too cold for a run? Try marching instead. Take a walk around your house or march in place by bringing your knees to your chest or as high as they will go. Make sure to keep your back straight while swinging your arms to give your upper body a hearty workout, too. To really get your heart pumping, march at a brisk pace to an upbeat song for 15-20 minutes.
Dance. Whether you’re home alone or spending time with family and friends, crank up your favorite CD or radio station and jam. Fitday.com estimates the average person burns 150-175 calories for every 30 minutes spent dancing at a moderate pace. If freestyle isn’t your thing, check out Zumba Fitness on YouTube for step-by-step dance moves, designed to help you burn fat and build muscle.
Water Weights. No dumbbells? No problem. Use filled water bottles to work the muscles in your arms and shoulders. For a harder workout, fill up quart- or gallon-sized milk jugs to use as weights. To avoid getting bored, try standing and doing bicep curls during the commercials of your favorite TV show.
Squats and Lunges. Forget fancy machines. You can strengthen the muscles in your legs just as well the old-fashioned way. To perform a squat, begin by standing with your feet facing forward, shoulder-width apart. Then, bend your knees and lower your body as if you are about to sit down in a chair. For balance, try holding your arms straight out in front of you. To avoid injury, keep your back straight and only bend as far as your body will let you. To begin a lunge, take a large step forward, keeping your feet facing forward and your front leg bent at 90 degrees. Make sure your back knee is hovering a few inches above the ground and your front knee doesn’t bend past the edge of your front toe. For a leg-strengthening workout, alternate squats and lunges. Four sets of 10 reps for each exercise will get you feeling the burn in no time.
Planks. While it’s a more difficult move, this pose will work out your entire body. Start by getting into pushup position. Instead of bending your arms and lowering your body, hold your body up with your arms straight for as long as you can. To make the move a little easier, prop your legs up with pillows or position them on a steady piece of furniture, like your couch. Performing three planks for 30 seconds each will help strengthen your arms and your core.