CAN'T GET TO THE GYM? NO PROBLEM WITH THIS BEGINNER’S HOME WORKOUT PLAN
Has it been a while since your last workout? If you answered “yes,” you’re not alone. From cold weather to holiday celebrations, the winter season can present many potential gym deterrents and distractions. Luckily, there is an effective, time- and money-saving option: your home!
Exercising at home is a convenient way to help maintain your physical health — and it’s an option that combats most excuses one may find to skip working out. One of the top reasons people don’t work out at home is because they’re not sure where to start. We’re here to help; this guide will cover some key tips and tricks for getting active in your abode.
HOW CAN A BEGINNER START WORKING OUT AT HOME?
Whether you’re an exercise novice or an advanced gym-goer, creating your own home workout routine can feel like a daunting task. It’s important to understand health recommendations and physical activity basics before embarking on your fitness journey.
WHY SHOULD I EXERCISE?
If you’ve decided to start exercising at home, you likely already understand some of the benefits of physical activity. Exercise is often referred to as “the magic pill,” with studies showing that regular physical activity can help to prevent diseases, alleviate stress, and improve overall mood and quality of life.
While the positive impacts of exercise are popularized, what may not be as well known are the significant negative effects of insufficient physical activity. From muscle loss to weight gain, low physical activity can take a heavy toll on your body. Winter and the pandemic have both proven to be times of decreased physical activity, so it’s as important as ever to be proactive about your health.
HOW LONG SHOULD A BEGINNER HOME WORKOUT BE?
The CDC recommends that adults looking to improve their health should aim to complete 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity per week. In addition to aerobic activity, the CDC advises muscle-strengthening activities on at least two days a week.
“Moderate” and “vigorous” may seem arbitrary, but there are some key differences you can keep in mind when understanding intensity levels. According to the Mayo Clinic, you’ll know you’re performing moderate intensity exercise when:
Your breath quickens
You break a light sweat after 10 minutes of activity
You can talk, but you can’t sing
Examples: brisk walking, yoga and light bodyweight exercises
On the other hand, you’re likely exercising vigorously when:
Your breath is rapid
You break a sweat in only a few minutes
You can only say a few words before needing to take a breath
Examples: running, jumping jacks and circuit weight training
The recommendations above can be customized to accommodate a wide range of schedules, skill levels and abilities. The workout possibilities are endless — a fact that can be both exciting and intimidating. Whether you’re ready to start exercising or on the search for a refreshed workout routine, our team can provide individualized exercise plans and fitness tips.
HOW DO I GET STARTED?HOW TO SET EXERCISE AND FITNESS GOALS
The most important step in any workout plan — aside from working out — is goal-setting. Clear goals will help to guide your exercise choices and keep you motivated, which can be especially vital to success while working out at home. Goals can be a guiding light along your fitness journey and help you overcome tempting distractions to keep moving and pushing forward.
When setting goals, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind. Your goals should be:
Specific and measurable: The more specific your goal, the more likely you are to stick to it. Effective goals often include a measurement and timeframe; these elements help you better visualize your end point, envision steps to get there and track your progress along the way.
✗ “I want to lose weight”
✓”I want to lose 3 pounds in one month”
✗ “I want to become more flexible”
✓ “In two weeks, I want to be able to touch my toes”
Positive: Avoid negative goals, such as “stop being lazy” or “never eat sweets.” You’ll see greater success with goals framed in a positive light, like “achieve a previously difficult yoga stretch” and “eat more vegetables.”
Realistic: It’s important to understand what your body is capable of and to set realistic expectations for yourself. Our physical therapists can help to identify attainable fitness goals, create actionable steps and develop a plan for your success.
EXERCISES TO DO AT HOME
When creating your at-home workout routine, you’ll want to focus on exercises that can be done indoors and do not require an excessive amount of equipment. Luckily, there are plenty of free, at-home workout videos and articles online. In fact, given the current high demand for home-friendly exercise, some paid platforms are temporarily operating free of charge or offering free trials.
Your fitness routine should challenge you, but it should also be enjoyable. Explore your options to find movements or instructors that excite you and focus on creating a well-rounded plan to prevent boredom. Below are some common forms of at-home exercise to mix into your workout program.
At its core, cardio is any exercise that elevates your heart rate. There are two types of cardio: aerobic and anaerobic. Aerobic exercise is the same pace and intensity throughout the workout, while anaerobic exercise focuses on intervals. As mentioned earlier, running is a form of aerobic training. An example of anaerobic training is high-intensity interval training, or HIIT.
During strength training, you work your body using some form of resistance, such as dumbbells, resistance bands or even your own weight. Bodyweight exercise is a great option for at-home routines, especially if you don’t own any equipment. Pro tip: Cardio and strength training can be combined for a killer workout!
Flexibility training incorporates stretching to improve mobility, increase stability and build strength. Flexibility training can range from relaxing to challenging and includes yoga, pilates and barre.
HOW TO GET IN SHAPE AT HOME WITHOUT EQUIPMENT
Despite what the latest commercials may tell you, you don’t need fancy, expensive equipment to get a great workout at home. In fact, one of the greatest benefits of working out at home is cost-savings.
Depending on your preferred workout format, you may only need to purchase one or two pieces of inexpensive equipment. Basic home workout equipment can include:
Mats: A mat is the first piece of equipment you’ll likely want to buy. Mats provide a comfortable space for anything from planks to jumps and do not take up much room, helping convert most places into safe exercise spaces.
Free weights: The use of free weights, including kettlebells, dumbbells and medicine balls, can build muscle and increase exercise intensity.
Resistance bands: Light but mighty, resistance bands can provide versatile strength training. Plus, they’re easy on the joints.
HOW DO I STAY ON TRACK WITH MY FITNESS?
Believe it or not, starting an exercise plan tends to be the easy part — it’s the consistency over time that can be the most difficult! It’s normal to lose your initial wave of motivation and begin to wonder if exercising is “worth it.” Below are some ways to combat any doubt or fatigue and stay fit.
REVISIT YOUR GOALS
Remember those goals we talked about earlier? Within them is your “why”: why you started working out, why you invested in equipment and why you have fought through those hard workouts. Connect with your original purpose, and your motivation will be reinvigorated.
LEARN YOUR LIMITS
We often hear the phrase “no pain, no gain” when it comes to exercise. While the phrase may hold some truth, there is a difference between challenging yourself and hurting yourself.
Exercises and movements, when done incorrectly or with poor form, can lead to injury and set you further back in your fitness journey. Listen to your body, enjoy rest days and don’t be afraid to take unplanned breaks if you’re in pain. It will do you more good in the long run!
If you’ve been dealing with a strain, sprain, ache or pain, schedule a complimentary injury screening with us. Our licensed physical and occupational therapists will evaluate you and provide recommendations on how you can get back to your best.
CELEBRATE THE SMALL WINS
The journey to achieving your fitness goals is a marathon, not a sprint, and you deserve to celebrate each milestone you hit along the way. Perhaps your goal for the month is to complete 20 push-ups in one minute, and in two weeks you’ve improved from 10 push-ups to 14 push-ups. While you haven’t yet reached your goal, you’ve made progress and should take pride in your win!
WE’RE HERE TO SUPPORT YOUR HEALTH — IN-PERSON AND ONLINE
From providing tailored exercises and tips, to celebrating your milestones, our team is here to support you throughout each step of your physical health journey. We offer in-clinic and online PT appointments. Take the first step today to getting back to your best. Call us at 847-786-2014.