If your New Year’s resolution is to exercise regularly, consider this scenario: It’s a typical winter day with temperatures hovering around freezing. You’ve had a long day at work, you’ve eaten dinner, and you haven’t worked out yet. Are you really going to get bundled up, go warm up the car, scrape ice off the windshield, and drive to the gym? You might have the resolve to fight through your fatigue and brave the cold a time or two, but the first time you decide it’s not worth it and spend the evening binge-watching your favorite show, you’ve broken your resolution. And having given in once, you’re likely to do it again. Another New Year’s resolution gone by the wayside.
You shouldn’t feel bad or disappointed with yourself. After all, it’s really hard to expend a lot of energy after you’ve had a stressful day at the office. That’s the problem with resolutions - they don’t always fit in with your lifestyle … unless you make them fit. That’s why working out at home is such a great option. It’s convenient, it’s comfortable, and you never have to wait on that guy who always hogs the bench press. Here are some effective, yet easy-to-do exercises that’ll help you stick with your resolution.
One of the best ways to get a good cardio workout while building muscle is to do bodyweight exercises. You don’t need equipment or a lot of open space, just a few square feet in your rec room, basement or garage. Bodyweight training combines exercises like jumping jacks or knee lifts with lunges and squats, working every muscle group while you get a really good sweat going. Fifteen minutes of high-intensity exercise burns more calories in less time. You’ll feel great and lose weight - exactly what you resolved to do!
If you like to have some fun while you work out, dancing might be your best option. Getting your groove on gives you an excellent cardio workout. You can expect to burn up to 250 calories with a dance routine of about 30 minutes. People who love to dance often say they do so because it makes them feel good. That’s because the physical exercise releases neurotransmitters in the brain, which make you want to keep on dancing. Find a few vigorous dance videos on YouTube and you can go all night.
Release your inner child
Remember when you and your friends used to spend hours seeing who could jump rope the longest? Remember how much fun it was? Well, it’s still fun, and it’s good for you. You’ll need a bit more space, but you can still easily do it at home. Ten minutes will give you a terrific aerobic workout and burn calories at a rate roughly equivalent to running a mile in under 10 minutes.
What better way to “cool down” from a hot workout session than with yoga? Yoga is a meditative discipline combined with a series of movements that stretch your muscles; it also helps build a strong mind-body connection. You’ll achieve a sense of inner peace as you wind up a very long day in quiet contemplation working out the kinks and processing the frustrations of work stress (not to mention commuting stress).
Setting up a home gym will make it a lot easier to get the workout you expect. And it’s not that difficult or expensive to do. You can put together a nice gym with some dumbbells, a yoga mat, resistance bands, a Bosu Balance trainer and any other items you think might help you optimize your daily workout.
There’s no need to feel guilty about not getting to the gym when you’re too busy or tired to go elsewhere to work out. A medium-sized room in your own home can easily become your own well-equipped, customized gym. Now you can keep that resolution.
Jason writes for StrongWell and enjoys creating fitness programs that cater to the needs of people over 65.