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Home Exercises

by Sudha Chandrasekaran
(Coimbatore, India)

Home Exercises, A Convenient Way to Burn Calories!

"For most of us, health will depend not on who we are, but on how we live. The body you have at 20 depends on your genes, but the body you have at 40, 60 or 80 is the body you deserve, the body that reflects your behaviour."
- Dr. Harvey Simon

Several people live with the misconception that the only way to exercise is to join a health club or to go to a gym. However, it is not possible for all of us to hit the gym every day, owing to either busy or haphazard lifestyle. With insalubrious, sedentary lifestyle defining our being, workouts and exercises are the need of the hour. They not only keep us physically fit and healthy, but also mentally and psychologically sound. With the right attitude and without any equipment you can get a thorough workout within the confines of your home. Whatever may be your goal, being a follower of a fitness routine is a dedication and undertaking that fitness regime must be able to make changes in your body’s composition which, in turn, refers to making changes in your lifestyle, your diet as well as your fitness exercises..

Are you aware of the fact that in order to have a healthy heart and maintain an ideal weight, walking 10,000 steps everyday is important? At the first instant it may sound challenging but several chores done daily do add to some hundred odd steps or even thousand steps and more.

To maintain your health and make sure you achieve the 10,000 steps each day, here are some simple and easy exercises that can be done at home. Before beginning any exercise program at home, it is advisable to get a full physical check up done, to ensure that you do not end up harming your body, through any exercise. Make warm up and cool down exercises a part of your daily exercise routine. One of the best ways to workout at home is to get an exercise buddy, be it your spouse or your friend, as this would enable one to motivate the other and also put off the other from trying to cheat. Plan short-term goals for your workout, say weekly goals, and reward yourself when you reach them.

Stretching Exercises: Place both hands against the wall and put your left leg back such that your foot is flat against the floor. Hold on to this posture for a few seconds and repeat the same with your right leg as well. Yet another good stretching exercise is that of lying on your back, using both the hands, bringing up your right knee to your chest and holding it for a few seconds. The same is to be repeated with your left leg as well.

Curl: Lie on your back with both hands behind your head and raise your upper body. Repeat this move for 15-20 times.

Leg Lifts: Sit on the edge of a chair and place your palms down on the seat behind you. Your feet are to be set firmly down in front of you, with your knees bending at a 90-degree angle. Keeping the muscles of your abdomen tight, slowly lift your legs as high as they can go comfortably. Bring your legs down to their original position, without letting them touch the floor again. You have to breathe inside as your legs go up and exhale as your bring them down. Repeat this exercise for 10 times per rep. Do three reps.

Cord Jumps: are a quick way to add cardiovascular workout in your daily exercise routine. Take a cord and spread it on the floor. Stand on one side of the cord and jump over the cord with one foot and then, get the other foot down as well, on the other side of the cord. Move back and forth across the cord, making forward and backward movement, increasing your speed as you go along. Jump back and forth over the rope with either foot quickly, if you intend to do a high energy workout. Continue the exercise for a period of 10 minutes, or till the time you begin to sweat.

Squats: Position your feet about shoulder-width apart, keeping the back straight and the head up all the time. Now, squat down i.e. sit on your heels, with the top of your thighs parallel to the floor. Hold the position for a second and then stand up, exhaling your breath as you come up. Squats help build the thighs and shape the buttocks, apart from improving the endurance.

Lunges: Stand upright and spread your legs, one forward and the other backward. The distance between your feet should not be more than two feet. Keeping your abdominal muscles tight and chest high; lower your upper body, while bending your leg. At the time of bending, do not allow your knees to go beyond your toes. The same exercise is to be repeated with your other leg also.

Jogging In Place: You can jog in place at home while watching TV or listening to music, which is a great cardio exercise. All that is necessary is a good pair of shoes to eliminate any stress to your legs.

Push-Up: Lie face-down on the floor, with the hands shoulder-width apart and palms facing inwards and push up your body until the arms are straight. Lower the body and repeat the process. To raise the level of difficulty, place your toes on an elevated bench, while your hands are on the floor. Lower your body until your chest touches the floor, before going back to the original position.

Dips: You need to place yourself between two sturdy surfaces (chairs would be a fine option). Hold your head and body as straight as possible in the vertical position. Start by lowering yourself, until your upper arms are parallel to the seat of the chairs. Hold the position and then push up to the top, until your arms are fully extended again. Make sure you look straight while doing this exercise. Dips are a great workout and involve all the muscles in the body.

To keep the blood circulation flowing in your legs when you are sitting for long at the computer, try to press down on your toes in an up and down motion frequently. This action helps in the blood circulation.

In addition to all these, dancing is a wonderful cardiovascular exercise, which can lift your spirits as well.

Always do some stretching to warm up before starting any exercise routine to prevent injury and also to make exercising fun, you can play some music or watch the TV while doing exercises. Try to incorporate healthy activities in your routine life, like taking stairs instead of lift, walking down to the nearest market instead of driving out, going for a short walk after lunch or dinner, restricting the use of remote controls and intercoms etc.

Then again there are some drawbacks of home exercising: It requires a good amount of self-discipline; it is not a social activity where one gets the company of other participants; one is subject to distractions and interruptions from family members as well as phone calls; and also last but not least sufficient floor space is required.

Staying fit does not necessarily mean prevention of diseases but is something more than that. Regular exercise has been shown to build self-esteem and fight depression. Even 10 minutes a day would be sufficient to make a person look better, feel stronger and fitter, and increase his/her confidence. Ideally speaking half an hour workout a day would be the best. The exercises should be performed without breaks in between as it keeps the pulse rate up, which will help build endurance and stamina.

On the other hand, health clubs have the advantage of working out with other like-minded individuals. Health clubs provide environment for those types of persons who need inspiration from others. The disadvantages here include wastage of time driving to the health club, waiting in line to use the equipments and costly membership fees.

I personally like to work out first thing in the morning and exercise for me is not a social activity. Exercising at home is more practical as I want to burn as many calories and strengthen as many muscles as possible, at my own convenient time... If at first exercising seems difficult, do not be discouraged. Just do what works best for you. But let there be a definite ‘NO’ to skipping of exercises very frequently. It should be considered a part and parcel of our life. Happy exercising!

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