A body weight workout is perfect for people on a budget, who travel often, who prefer home workouts, and who want to add variety to their regular exercise routine. The best part about it is no expensive equipment is needed.
Start your workout with a 5-10 minute warm-up. This can be walking, marching in place, or stepping side to side. The goal of the warm up is to get your blood circulating and raise body temperature to prepare for exercise. Then pick your favorite “no equipment necessary” exercises to create your own custom workout plan. There are many examples below. Cool down with five or more minutes of stretching.
- WALKING or JOGGING IN PLACE (cardio): If the weather isn’t nice, you can just as easily get an effective workout walking in place at home. If you would like, there are many DVD’s with walking/jogging routines for indoors. The only equipment you will require is a good pair of shoes to eliminate stress to your legs.
- JUMPING JACKS (cardio): They are great cardio and good for warming up, too.
- DANCING (cardio): Dancing is great for your heart and can lift your spirits as well!
- STAIRS (cardio + legs): Using steps in your home do repetitions and tone your leg muscles.
- SIDE LUNGES (legs): Stand with feet wider then shoulder-width, toes turned slightly outward. Sink into your right leg as deep as you can without moving your left foot. Then, push yourself back up and repeat the movement with your left leg. Alternate side to side until you’ve completed 10 reps per leg. Keep your chest lifted up.
- WALL SIT (legs): With your back against a wall, and your feet about 2 feet away from the wall, slide down until your knees are at a 90 degree angle. Hold as long as you can.
- PUSH-UPS (chest): Hands are a little wider than your shoulders, put your toes (or knees) on the floor, raise up into an arms-extended position. Slowly lower yourself until your chest hovers above the floor, return to the starting position and repeat. (Pushups can also be done standing and leaning forward into a wall for those who are not comfortable on the floor).
- CLOSE-GRIP PUSH-UP (triceps): ADVANCED Do these the same as you do the regular push-ups, except bring your hands closer so that your thumbs and index fingers form a triangle beneath your chest. As you descend, your elbows will point outward; once your chest comes in light contact with your hands, slowly return to the starting position and repeat.
- CHAIR DIPS (triceps): You’ll need a chair, (or a bed and a chair or a counter, etc…) for this one. Sit on the chair with your hands palm down and gripping the edge of the chair. Slide forward just far enough that your behind clears the edge of the chair and lower yourself so your elbows are at 90 degrees. Do as many repetitions as you can.
- REVERSE CRUNCH (abs): Lie on your back with your hands out to your sides, and bend your knees. Bring your knees toward your head until your hips come up slightly off the floor (don’t rock). Hold one second and repeat.
- PLANK (total body + core): Get into push-up position on hands and toes, or on elbows and toes. Contract your abdominal muscles (and core). Keep your back straight (don’t collapse in the middle) and hold this position for as long as you can.
If you are motivated and a little creative, you can get a full body workout anytime, anywhere.
**Check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program and always listen to your body.