You know summer is coming, but you’re dreading pulling out your shorts and tanks, not to mention your bathing suit. You’ve been meaning to lose that extra five or 10 pounds you put on over the winter, but you’ve been so busy, you just haven’t had time to hit the gym. How is it almost summer already?!
Sound familiar? If it does, you’re not alone! Most of us get caught up in our busy schedules, and before we know it, summer is almost here. We all want to look good in our bathing suits by the time beach weather arrives, but most of us don’t have the time or money to commit to a gym membership.
Don’t worry, because you can still get in shape and shed those extra pounds with these six simple exercises you can do at home to get ready for the summer. Why go to the gym when you can burn calories while your kids nap or play outside? You can even do these exercises during commercial breaks of your favorite TV series. These six easy exercises you can do at home will save you time and money while helping you get the summer beach body you want.
Four Components of Effective Exercise
According to the NIH (National Institutes of Health), there are four types of exercise: Endurance, Strength, Balance, and Flexibility. Incorporating each type of exercise into your routine will make your program more effective and reduce your chances of injury.
- Endurance activities target your cardiovascular system and increase your heart and breathing rates. Things like walking, jogging, dancing, some types of yoga, and even yard work all count as endurance exercise.
- Strength exercises build muscle usually through resistance and repetition. Examples are movements using resistance bands, your own bodyweight, or even lifting groceries, small children, or climbing stairs.
- Balance exercises help prevent falls and tone core strength muscles used to stabilize your body during activity. Tai chi and yoga are great activities for improving balance, but even standing on one foot while brushing your teeth will help increase your balance.
- Flexibility is important to prevent injury and increase the effectiveness of your exercise program. Stretching your muscles helps them perform better and recover faster with less soreness. Easy forward bends, calf stretches, and yoga routines all help improve flexibility and muscle health.
The following six exercises you can do at home to get ready for summer incorporate all four components of a healthy exercise program.
6 Easy Exercises You Can Do at Home
This is a win-win! You have to do housework anyway, so why not think of it as part of your exercise program? A 2017 international prospective cohort study found that any type of physical activity, including household chores, lowers your risk of serious health conditions like stroke and cardiovascular disease. As little as 21 minutes of moderate activity per day provides these health protective benefits.
Activities like vacuuming, laundry, and deep cleaning can serve as endurance, strength, and balance training activities. You can also take your program outside — yard clean-up, raking, mowing your lawn, and gardening can all be effective exercise, especially if your heart and breathing rate increase within a healthy range.
Walking or Running
Walking is one of the easiest exercises you can do at home! Most of us walk every day – around the house, the grocery store, walking our kids to and from school. Research shows that even 30 minutes of walking along with a healthy diet can help you lose weight, body fat, and increase your cardiovascular fitness!
You can increase the endurance enhancing benefits of walking by making it a brisk walk – increasing your heart and breath rates – or by alternating walking with intervals of jogging or running. Research shows that high-intensity interval exercise – short bursts of aerobic activity (like running) followed by periods of rest or low impact activity (walking or resting) – can help you lose weight and abdominal fat. Programs like the Couch to 5K (C25K) program are free to download on your smartphone and can help guide you through a gradual increase in walking and jogging intervals.
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You can also wear a heart rate monitor and workout based on you heart rate. Heart zone training is a form of training in which your heart rate guides the intensity of your exercises. The monitor will tell you whether you need to speed up or slow down your exercise to get the most out of it.
Squats are one of the best exercises you can do at home to build strength. You don’t even need equipment – your bodyweight is plenty to make this exercise effective!
To perform a bodyweight squat, stand with your feet parallel and about shoulder distance apart. Begin by flexing your knees and hips while sitting back as if you were going to sit down on a chair. Continue squatting until your knees are bent to a 90 degree angle, if possible, and then reverse, coming back to a standing position. If you are performing the exercise correctly, you should not feel pain in your knees. You should be working your thigh, hip, and buttock muscles including the quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteal muscles. Programs like My Peak Challenge and Bodybuilding.com provide instructional videos and advice on how to perform a bodyweight squat properly.
The plank is one of the most effective exercises you can do at home to increase core abdominal strength while also working your arms, shoulders, back, and legs!
To perform a static plank, lie face down on the floor in the push up position. Your hands should be level with your shoulders. Flex your feet and curl your toes under while using your hands to press your body up, as if you were doing a push up. Now, hold this posture while drawing your belly button in towards your spine, tightening your buttock muscles, and looking at the floor to keep your neck in a neutral position. Try to maintain this posture, with your body in a straight line, for at least 10 seconds. Over time, you can try building up to 30 seconds, 1 minute, 2 minutes, or even more!
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Yoga is a wonderful exercise you can do at home. With so many online class options, like Yoga Journal, CodyApp, and Do Yoga With Me, you can have an at-home yoga class right at your fingertips! You can also find DVD and Blu-ray videos at your local library, or take a class at a local yoga center and build a home practice with what you’ve learned.
Research shows that yoga provides a multitude of health benefits including healthy weight loss. Yoga touches on all four of the exercise components we discussed earlier: endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility. In addition, yoga practice can increase self-esteem and self-acceptance, reduce stress, and improve mood!
What’s your favorite sport? Tennis? Volleyball? Soccer? Golf? All of these activities can help you burn calories, lose weight, and increase your fitness level. And you don’t need a gym to do it! Often, you can find inexpensive sports equipment at garage sales, second-hand stores, or online.
Sports activities can be a great way to engage with your kids, family, coworkers, neighbors or friends! A backyard barbecue is even better with a game of volleyball, and warm, summer nights are perfect for an impromptu neighborhood baseball game.
Studies show that leisure time physical activity is good for your health, and sports activities definitely provide this! Plus, you’re having fun while getting in shape, so it doesn’t feel like work. So, go ahead, get out there and play!
Get Your Summer Beach Body Without Hitting the Gym
With these six exercises you can do at home to get ready for the summer, you can get in shape, lose weight, and be beach ready without leaving home.
Getting chores done around the house is a win-win if you make it part of your exercise program. Vacuuming, deep cleaning, and other heavy household chores can increase your endurance and strength. Walking or running, especially in intervals, can improve your cardiovascular health while helping you get fit and lose weight. If you want to increase strength, try bodyweight squats or planks to tone your legs, back, shoulders, and abdominal muscles. Improve flexibility, balance, endurance, and strength with yoga or your favorite group or solo sport. By incorporating these six exercises you can do at home into your routine, you’ll be ready for summer in no time!
Tell us what you do to incorporate exercises in your home in the comments below? We’d love to hear from you!