Tips to Do Cardiovascular and Strength Workouts at Home
Time Constraints and Workouts
Our day to day demands may leave little time to visit a gym for a workout. Work duties sometimes follow us home. Friends require attention. Then, there are the children and spouse needs. Such is the modern life.
Avoiding staring eyes at gyms may be another motivator for not exercising. Knowing people are watching us can cause us to stay at home. Or we might just be shy. Nevertheless, we can still participate in exercise; we just approach it differently. Here are some ways to get a good cardiovascular and strength based workout without leaving your home. As always, check with your physician before beginning any long-term exercise program.
Cardiovascular Activities You Can Do at Home
- Although you may prefer doing one of these exercises, try to do a combination of these activities. Starting out may be difficult, but you want to do your cardiovascular workout for at least 20 to 30 minutes. The purpose of cardiovascular exercise is to ramp up your heart rate while you burn fat and calories. These exercises will help you with that goal without you having to go to the local gym. I often do these exercises when I can’t get to my regular exercise facility:
- Jumping Rope – Jumping rope has several benefits. It’s a high pace activity that really gets your heart going. Also, jumping rope helps with coordination. This activity forces the brain and mind to predict and estimate when to move. This exercise also assists with balance for your body.
- Running in Place – This gives you almost the same benefits that a treadmill gives you without the moving treads. More importantly: You can do this anywhere in your home (providing you are not in a second or higher floor apartment; then you have neighbors to consider.) But your heart rate increases while your breathing is enhanced. If you have a backyard, enjoy the scenery as you workout.
- Jumping Jacks – Moving your hands and legs out and then together like a pair of scissors is a good way to get a cardiovascular workout going. This exercise helps with timing and coordination as well as balance.
- Dancing – Turn on music and flow with the rhythm. Make up your own steps. (For this activity, you can include a spouse or other family members. You could have fun dance contests together.) This activity has numerous benefits: increasing your comfort with others around while you are exercising; increasing your flexibility and strength, and keeping you motivated to workout.
Strength Based Workouts You Can Do At Home
Strength based exercises involve using resistance during the workout. Lifting weights is one example of a strength based exercise. People normally focus on increasing muscle (body building) or toning up. It depends on the individual. A key part of strength training is repetitions (reps) and sets.
A repetition is when you move (pull or push) the resistance one or more times. For instance, many people may do 10 repetitions. A set can be thought of as the total number of repetitions. For example: 10 reps is one set. Knowing these terms will help you when you do strength based activities. Below are some strength based exercises which can be done at home.
•Using an Inner Tube – To work your upper arms and chest muscles, use a bicycle inner tube (shown in the photo). This exercise also strengthens your upper back and shoulder muscles.
Step 1: Place the inner tube over and around a steady pole or a tree. Leave it at a height which allows you to remain standing.
Step 2: Grasp the inner tube with both hands and pull until you feel the resistance. Stretch the inner tube as far as you can.
Step 3: Let the inner tube retract to the starting point slowly with your hands still on it.
Step 4: Repeat as many reps as you can. (I usually do 20 reps and 3 sets.)
•Pots and Cans – Pots aren’t only good for cooking. Cans filled with vegetables aren’t only good for opening and placing the contents in a pot. Load a pot with cans of soup or other food (shown in the photo). Use a scale to weigh the contents to get an idea of how heavy the combined weight is. These exercises are helpful for your arms and chest. You may want a “spotter,” a person to observe you when you do these for safety initially (a family member, friend, etc.)
Step 1: You are using the pot and cans like free weights. Sit in a chair, placing the pot and pans in your lap.
Step 2: Place both hands on the pot, one on each side. Lift straight up pass your head.
Step 3: Do as many reps as you can. (I usually do 3 sets at 15 reps.)
•Now, let’s use the pot and cans for our lower body. This exercise overtime strengthens the lower abdominal muscles and your legs.
Step 1: Sit on the floor, stretching out your legs in front of you.
Step 2: Place the pot and cans on your legs near your feet.
Step 3: Lie back on the floor with the pot and cans on your legs.
Step 4: Lift your legs with the pot and cans for as many times as you can. (I usually do 3 sets of 10)
Of course, these are not the only cardiovascular and strength exercises available. They are limitless. However, these should give you a good start from your home if you don’t have time to go to a gym or build your confidence to visit one at some point.