It’s Saturday morning, and I’m rolling over in bed for perhaps the third time. I know I should get up, but the down feathers in my comforter have swaddled me in a cocoon of comfort, and I’m finding it extremely hard to get up. Last night’s forecast promised snow, and I’ve already made up my mind that although today is gym day, I’m not going.
It’s easier to be motivated when you don’t have to warm your car up for 20 minutes, drive on roads that haven’t been plowed or salted or bundle up as if you’re getting ready to go skiing. I’ll be honest, my “namastay in bed” days aren’t just weather-related. I’ve chose to not go to the gym because I’ve had cramps, been on my cycle, under the weather or just had zero desire to be out in the elements, but I didn’t allow any of those things to prevent me from working out.
I’ve always been involved in sports since I was a little girl; everything from ballet, gymnastics, cheerleading captain, track and field, to basketball and powder puff football, so I understand the importance of exercise. It makes you feel happier, it can help with weight loss, increase energy, it’s good for your muscle and bones and it can also help improve your skin health by producing natural antioxidants in the body that help to protect cells. Regular to moderate exercise can also help your brain health and memory, reduce pain, promote a better sex life and help with relaxation and sleep quality.
I’m not just rattling off stats, I’m telling you all of this because although your Egyptian cotton sheets may give you 1,800 reasons why you shouldn’t go to the gym, I’m going to give you some effective, easy workouts that you can do from the comfort of your own home that require little to no equipment at all.
First up is a yoga mat. If you have one, perfect. If not, the bare floor works just fine as long as you’re comfortable. I typically stretch for 10 minutes just to loosen my muscles and also as a warm-up; not just physically, but mentally as well. I try to detox my mind from any negative thoughts, and I think of all the things I have to do for the day from a positive perspective.
- Spread your legs as far as they’ll go in shape of a V. I usually face my bed when I do this so I can use the base of my frame to grab onto and pull myself closer, which increases the intensity of the stretch. This can also be done facing a wall. Place your hands behind your butt or on each side and gradually scoot closer to the wall. Hold the position for 15 seconds. This helps loosen up your thighs, hamstrings and glutes.
- Place both legs together in front of you and try to grab your ankles. If this isn’t possible, hold on to your calves or bend as far as you can. Hold the position for 15 seconds. This helps stretch your upper and lower back. If you flex your feet towards you, it will also release any tightness that maybe lingering in your calves from leg day.
- From stretch #2, bring in your left leg so that your foot is touching the inside of your right thigh. You can also extend your right leg out to your side in a half split. Hold the position for 15 seconds and then switch. I like to make sure my back is up straight when I’m doing this, as it improves my posture and stretches my upper back. You can also lean towards the leg that is extended and try to get your face as close to the mat or floor as possible.
Like I said, these are basic stretches that I do just to warm up. Feel free to incorporate any yoga practices that you have in addition to or replacement of the aforementioned.
Now we get into the fun part. I’ve combined a simple 60-minute workout that targets abs, quads, biceps and triceps.
Abs 5×25 (five sets of 25)
- Scissors = Lie face up with your hands behind your head. Gently lift your shoulders and head off the floor. Use your abs to lift your legs slightly off the ground in a scissor kick motion. Be careful not to strain.
- Leg lifts = In the same position as the scissor kicks, place your hands under your lower back to support your core. Slowly lift your legs to a 90-degree angle and lower them back down to the floor without allowing your heels to touch the ground.
- Cross-body climber = Get into a high plank position and lift your right leg and draw right knee toward left elbow. Return right leg to plank and lift left leg and draw left knee to right elbow. Continue to alternate.
- Mountain climbers = From a high plank position, lift your right foot and draw your right knee to your chest between your hands. Make sure your body is straight and your hips are level. Alternate as quickly as possible.
- Roll-ups = Lie face up with your legs extended. Inhale as your roll up, and exhale, squeezing your abs as you go down.
- Sumo Squats = Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your toes pointing out. Bend your knees and deeply lower your hips then rise back up straightening your legs and squeezing your glutes.
- Jump Squats = Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Get into regular squat position, squeeze your core then jump up. When you land, you’ll return to normal squat position completing one rep.
- Body weight squat = Get into basic squat position, feet hip width apart, squat down to where your knees are at a 90-degree angle and push yourself back up through your heels.
- Pulse Squats = Basic squat form except instead of coming back up like you would in a normal squat, only come up half way then lower back down. Repeat multiple times to create a pulsing action.
Biceps and Triceps 3×20
- Dips = Position yourself on a secured bench, table, or stable chair. Slide off the front of the chair with your legs extended in front of you. Bend elbows slightly while still keeping your arms straight. Slowly bend your elbows to lower your body toward the floor. Be sure to keep your back close to the chair. Elbows should be at about a 90-degree angle. Once you reach the bottom of the movement, straighten your elbows by pressing down into the chair to lift yourself back up. This completes one rep.
- Bicep curls = (Can be done with actual dumbbells or you can get creative and use canned goods). Stand up straight with a dumbbell in each hand at arm’s length. Keep your upper arm stationary and exhale while curling your bicep then inhale and slowly lower back to starting position. Make sure to use weights that you are comfortable lifting.
Exercising doesn’t have to feel like a chore, especially when you’re at home. If you have small children, curl them instead of a dumbbell, kissing their cheeks each time you raise your arm. If you want a little weight when you squat, use your baby! Need a workout partner? My Yorkie, Charlie, is always accepting new clients as she watches my form to make sure I’m doing everything correctly. Turn on some music and work up a sweat. No matter what you do, have fun with it and be safe!
I am amongst a plethora of hardworking women who feel as though 24 hours in a day just isn’t enough. We have a lot on our plate and not enough Tupperware containers to store the rest, but I’m hoping that the small tips I’ve shared help you breathe easier and still workout even when you don’t feel like going to the gym. Now go hit the shower!
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