Heather Black, CPT is a NASM-certified personal trainer and owner of Heather Black Fitness & Nutrition where she offers remote and in-person training and nutrition coaching.
You don’t have to get a gym membership or join a workout studio to stay active. In fact, home workouts have become a popular way for everyone from stay-at-home parents to people who work from home to meet their fitness goals. They're especially beneficial for those with time or budget constraints.
Plus, at-home workouts are simple, fun, and effective. You can incorporate elements of gym and studio workouts—such as yoga, pilates, cycling, strength training, and more—into your home workout or create a routine that is unique to you and your goals. Check out our motivation tips and full-body workouts to help you get started on your home workout regimen.
Motivation is one of the biggest challenges that people who work out at home face. Without the accountability of a gym buddy or a class to look forward to, you may find yourself struggling to stay motivated. To improve motivation and reach your goals, try logging your workouts in a fitness journal, using an activity tracker like a smartwatch, and be sure to find workouts you enjoy. However, don’t be too hard on yourself. If you’re struggling with motivation, it may be time to reassess your goals and your routine.
Working with a personal trainer can be incredibly helpful for beginners. But, when you exercise at home, that may not be an option. Other ways for beginners to learn the ropes is turning to online resources like videos and articles. You can also take workout classes from home by streaming them online.
Working out from home can save you time and money. After all, gym memberships and studio fees can get expensive. And although purchasing your own equipment requires some investment up front, over time, it’s usually more cost-effective. At-home workouts may also save you time because there’s no need to drive to and from the gym, check in at the front desk, or wait on equipment to free up.
If you’re worried about injuring yourself when working out from home, there are a few precautions you can take. Always wear the proper attire when working out from home and handle equipment, like machines and weights, carefully. Additionally, avoid doing any heavy lifting without someone to spot you nearby. Stretch before and after a workout to reduce the risk of injury.
Working out from home requires ample space, so you’ll need to find a place in your home that is suitable for exercise. This can be inside, such as in your garage, a dedicated home gym, or even your living room. Some people enjoy outdoor workouts.
If you work out inside, you may want to protect your floors from heavy equipment with floor mats. But if your workout plan doesn’t require heavy machines or weights, you may only need a yoga mat, light dumbbells, and other miscellaneous pieces of equipment that you can store in a closet or basket when not in use.
Planks are abdominal exercises that increase core strength, but you may also feel them working your arms and shoulders as well. To perform a plank, begin in a position that is similar to a push-up. You can hold the plank position on your palms or forearms. For beginners, try lowering your knees to the mat to make it easier. Hold the position for as long as you can. Some people begin with a goal of 30 seconds.
Squats are a lower-body exercise. You can perform them with bodyweight or make it more challenging by adding weights. There are different types of squats including box squats, goblet squats, pistol squats, wall squats, and more. Experiment with different types of squats to determine what is right for you.
Lunges target the muscles in the lower body. To perform a lunge take a step forward and place your foot flat in front of you. Your front knee should be bent at a 90-degree angle. Your back leg is slightly bent on the ball of your foot. Performing lunges will help you tone and strengthen the muscles in your lower body. You can even add dumbbells to your lunges to make them more challenging.
Squat jumps take regular squats up a notch. Start in a squatting position and explode up in a jumping motion. Return to the starting position and repeat. This exercise warms up the lower body and increases core strength. It also gets your heart rate up. If you really want to push yourself, you can try doing a 30-day squat challenge at home.
Doing cardio at home can be difficult with limited space, but high knees are a good exercise to do at home if you want to get in more cardio. To do high knees, start in a standing position. One at a time, lift each knee to your chest and alternate between legs while swinging your opposite arm forward. As you gain speed, this exercise starts to look like running in place. Doing this exercise targets the lower body and core and is relatively easy to add to a home workout.
Strength refers to the measure of a person’s physical exertion. In exercise, it usually refers to lifting weights. Strength training and weight training are the primary ways to increase physical strength.
Cardio is short for cardiovascular exercise. It’s also another word for aerobic exercise, which is when the body requires more oxygen to complete movements. Examples of cardio include running, brisk walking, jogging, swimming, and cycling. Cardio also gets your heart rate up and blood pumping and can improve cardiovascular health, lower all-cause mortality rates, and support weight management goals.
Flexibility is used to measure a person’s range of motion when performing an exercise or stretch. Stretching is one way to improve your flexibility, which makes it easier to perform certain exercises. Flexibility also comes in handy in your daily life. For example, if you drop something in the backseat of your car, flexibility helps you to reach around and grab it.
Nystoriak MA, Bhatnagar A. Cardiovascular effects and benefits of exercise. Front Cardiovasc Med. 2018;5:135. Published 2018 Sep 28. doi:10.3389/fcvm.2018.00135
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