Best Exercises to do at Home
When exercising at home, it’s best to perform stationary activities that don’t require specialist equipment, such as star jumps, pushups, lunges and stomach crunches. Yoga can also be helpful as it is a stationary activity.
Home exercise can be an effective way of building muscles or burning calories, and is useful for those who live busy lives with little free time. Because of issues of space and equipment while exercising at home, it is best to choose simple exercises that don’t require a lot of movement or specialist gear, such as star jumps, skipping, pushups and stomach crunches. Clinical evidence suggests that stationary exercises involved in yoga and tai chi are also useful for general health and weight loss – as these exercises don’t involve a lot of movement, they are perfect for performing at home.
The Importance of Exercise
Exercise is vital to the health of the body, and getting more exercise has a variety of health benefits. In addition to helping the body to burn off excess calories and lose weight, regular exercise has been found in clinical trials to aid treatment of not just physical ailments, but also mental illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease and depression.
While exercise is important, modern life can make it increasingly difficult to find the time to engage in a proper workout. The difficulties of travelling to a place where exercise can be performed, and the time constraints involved in doing so, mean that many exercisers prefer to stay at home to perform their workouts. This can be effective when done right, but it is easy to fall into lazy traps while exercising at home and not get the best workout possible.
Exercising At Home
For those who choose to exercise at home, there are various limiting factors in place which will affect the kinds of exercise that can be performed. Home exercisers won’t have access to equipment typically present in a dedicated workout space such as a gym, and will likely struggle with issues of space which may impede effective workouts.
With that in mind, it’s important to choose forms of workout that are effective without requiring bulky equipment, and which can be performed without a lot of physical movement.
Motivation can be difficult to maintain while at home – it’s easy to get distracted and lose focus, or to decide that working out can be skipped for a day, which can lead to a loss of momentum with weight loss and exercise. To combat this, it’s often useful to have a set workout schedule in place, and to stick to it regardless of circumstances so that exercise is definitely achieved and not postponed or abandoned.
Effective Home Exercises
The types of exercise that are effective while in the home depend on what the exerciser intends to achieve. For building and toning muscle groups, there are many of weight-related anaerobic workouts which are possible without moving from a single spot, but for weight loss and fat burning, exercises require greater amounts of movement and activity.
The most effective workouts blend some form of both aerobic and anaerobic exercise. These workouts don’t necessarily need to be particularly taxing or time consuming, as long as they are performed regularly enough to help the body maintain healthy levels of movement and activity.
A typical successful period of exercise at home can be as short as thirty minutes. In order to get the most out of exercising at home, it’s helpful to split workout sessions into two different ten to fifteen minute periods, which cover different types of exercises. Those who progress to a point where thirty minutes of exercise is becoming comfortable may wish to extend the periods they spend on each workout, or perform a second set of the two exercise groups once they’ve completed their initial set.
For cardiovascular work, it is recommended that exercisers perform a series of star jumps, squats, skipping rope jumps and other energetic movements for a period of ten minutes in order to increase heart rate and help the body to burn off weight while strengthening the heart muscles. None of these exercises require specialist equipment (except for a skipping rope, although this form of exercise can be omitted if one is unavailable) and can easily be performed in a small space as they do not require moving from off a single spot.
In the next ten minutes, exercises can be performed that tone and strengthen muscles. These can include press ups, stomach crunches, squats and lunges – these help to work out the muscles, helping to improve strength without building muscles too large. If a form of weights are available, these exercises can also include shoulder presses (which involve raising the weight high above the head and then lowering it again) and bicep curls (which involve lifting a weight at the elbow and then lowering it again). Again, many of these exercises don’t require specialist equipment and can be performed without moving around too much, so they’re perfect for performing while at home.
Alternatively, exercisers may wish to focus on a single group of either aerobic or anaerobic exercises during the time available for exercise – however, exercisers should be careful not to prioritize a single form of exercise too much, as this may lead to imbalance and the neglect of other forms of exercise which can be helpful.
It is very important that as part of a home workout session, exercisers undergo a form of warmup and cooldown – this is normally accomplished by performing a variety of simple stretches which help the muscles to prepare for their upcoming exertion, and then relax again afterwards. Failure to warmup properly can lead to injury, so it’s important to remember this step, especially when exercising alone at home.
Yoga at Home
Exercising at home doesn’t necessarily need to involve jumps, lunges and weights – there are other popular forms of workouts that are available.
One popular way that home exercisers like to work out involves yoga. The logic behind using yoga for weight loss is that through flexing the body in different positions, the body must exert energy which helps to burn off calories, but unlike other forms of exercise yoga is also calming and does not require excessive amounts of aerobic exertion. As no specialist equipment is required and the exercise does not take up a large amount of space, many exercisers find it a useful way of working out at home.
While yoga is popular, medical studies have often produced conflicting results regarding its effectiveness. A scientific review in 2013 aimed to collate and analyse data from a variety of previous trials to determine the effectiveness of yoga as a form of exercise. The study came to the conclusion that yoga is a ‘potentially successful’ form of exercise that will provide notable weight loss when performed over time.
It is unclear whether yoga provides a speed of weight loss which is in keeping with what users can expect from more intensive exercise – as a general rule, the more exertion exercise requires, the faster weight will be lost. Depending on the yoga positions undertaken throughout exercise, the user may burn a large amount of calories, or may have a session which will lead to a relatively small amount of aerobic activity.
In spite of this, yoga’s purported fringe benefits – such as relaxation and mental rejuvenation – may make it a preferred choice for some exercisers. There is also some evidence to suggest that regular yoga over an extended period of time has significant benefits for cardiovascular health and the prevention of symptoms of type-2 diabetes, which suggests that there are plenty of benefits to regularly performing yoga exercises.
To begin learning about different yoga exercises that are possible to perform at home, it’s worth enquiring at a local fitness class and undertaking a beginner’s class or seeing what books or online tools are available to help learn the basics.
For those exercisers who are older or who prefer a less strenuous form of exercise, it may be worthwhile to consider tai chi. A common form of exercise throughout the Eastern world, tai chi is particularly popular among the elderly as it provides exercise benefits without being too strenuous. Tai chi is not as effective as more energetic forms of exercise, but it is better than not exercising at all, which is why it proves popular with the elderly throughout East Asia, as they feel that performing some exercise, even if it is not too strenuous, will provide some health benefits.
Tai chi was originally designed as a practice which combines meditation and exercise to expel negative energy and embrace positive energy within the body. While modern science has found little evidence to support this, clinical studies have shown that there is a health benefit to tai chi, especially in the elderly. A review in 2011 analyzed previous studies into the effects of tai chi, and drew the conclusion that these existing studies ‘demonstrated consistent, significant results for a number of health benefits’ related to regular tai chi use.
The NHS advises that while the benefits of tai chi are often overstated, the exercise if particularly beneficial for those who are too old to perform a variety of more intensive exercises. For those wishing to being learning tai chi, there are a variety of tai chi classes taught throughout the world, and it is worth undergoing a beginner’s lesson to begin understanding how to make use of this form of exercise.
For those looking to workout at home, it’s best to choose a form of exercise that does not require a lot of space or specialist equipment. Those looking to workout to build muscle should focus on simple exercises lifting their body or weights, while those looking to burn fat should focus on aerobic exercises such as jumps and skipping. In addition to these exercises, there are clinically proven health benefits associated with stationary forms of exercise such as yoga and tai chi which are well documented – although these may require instruction in order to learn to perform the activities properly.
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