There are so many reasons why we should be doing everything we can to stay in shape. America’s obese population is rising every day, and everyone knows that being overweight increases your chances of having declining health. One of the biggest excuses we give ourselves is that we simply do not have time. Between juggling our jobs, our kids, our pets, our families or significant other, there is just no time for going to the gym and working out. Gym memberships is another one that I hear a lot. It is very true that gym memberships can be quite costly, but you must think about what all you get for the money. Many gyms offer personal training sessions and healthy eating seminars as part of their general memberships. Many people have small children and that is another huge reason why the can not get out.
If you are one of the millions of people who have a bottomless pit of exercise excuses, I’ve got the answer for you! Here are a few ways that you can squeeze in a few workouts without ever even leaving your home or your children. These exercises are very easy to do and can be done in a series or be broken up during the day to accomodate your full schedule.
Five Minute Crunches:
Ok, I’m with ya, five minutes seems like an eternity when you are zoning in on one area of your body, but it does not have to be a daunting thing! If you can not handle doing five minutes all at once, break it up into one or two minute sessions. You can complete the other three minutes throughout the day when you have a chance, and who does not have a minute to spare? For this exercise, you will want to lie on the floor on your back. Place your hands across your chest with your fingertips on your shoulders. Pull your heels into your bottom so that you have formed an inverted V with your knees. Raise your knees up towards your chest and cross your heels in midair. Now you are in position to start your crunches. Gently contract your abdominals muscles and lift your head and shoulders up off the ground. The goal is to do one slow and steady crunch and touch the tips of your elbows to your knees. Don’t get discouraged if you can not do this. Just get in a good abdominal contraction, release and slowly lower your shoulders back to the floor. Do steady and slow repetitions for one minute, two minutes or up to five minutes. Do not attempt to see how many crunches you can do in a minute, this defeats the purpose of the exercise. You should aim to do as many steady, slow and correct crunches you can in one minute. It is very normal to do only 10-12 crunches in a one minute period.
The Push-Up (5 Minutes)
Alright, I know I have already lost some people at this point! Push ups do not have to be your enemy! By practicing and doing them the right way, you can be on your way to upper strength in no time at all. Push ups can be done anytime during the day when you have the floor space. I know a woman who did five pushups everytime she went to the restroom during the day at work. Believe me, there are ways to work them in! If you are just starting out, I would recommend you start out slowly by getting down on all fours on the floor. (On all fours I mean hands and knees.) Practice maintaing a good position by supporting your weight evenly on your hands and knees and keeping your back straight. When you are ready, bend your elbows and slowly lower your upper body towards the ground, keeping your back straight. Lower yourselve until your shoulders are parrallel with your elbows, then gently push yourself back to the starting position. Repeat slowly. If you are just starting out, you may want to just start with five of these modified pushups. Slowly increase the number of modified pushups you can do as you gain more strength and confidence. When you feel that you are ready to move on to real pushups, I suggest you start on the baby level again. Get down in the traditional push up position, toes and hands on the ground. Practice maintaining a good posture, which means that your arms are flexed straight out in front of you and your ankles are about one to three inches apart. Keep your back straight, this is very important. Do not stick your rear end in the air and do not allow your back to sag. If you are having trouble keeping your back straight, I suggest that you practice doing more crunches and building up your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are what support you and aid in keep that back straight. Try holding yourself in this position to get used to supporting your weight in the traditional pushup position. Start with five seconds and work your way up to thirty and sixty seconds. After you have successfully built up your upper body strength, you will be ready to start doing real push ups! Start with just one or two pushups and ensure that you are doing them correctly. One proper push up is more beneficial than twenty improper pushups! Keep that in mind!
Jumping Jacks (5 Minutes)
Remember jumping jacks? We used to do those in elementary school during pysical training class! You will never believe it, but they are just as beneficial today as they were then! Jumping jacks are a great way to warm up before taking on a cardio session. They really get your muscles limber and get your heart racing. If you have a second hand clock close by, you can easily monitor your time while you start. If you have not been exercising regularly or are not used to getting your heat rate going, you might want to starty by doing ten jumping jacks and then resting in between sets. Eventually, work your way up to one minutes of jumping jacks, then two and so on until you can complete five minutes worth.
Leg Lifts (10 Minutes)
Remember the old “Jane Fonda’s”? These are really great and can be done anywhere that you can lie on your side! For these, lie down on your side. If you are lying on your right side, you will want to support your head with your right hand, elbow on the ground. Have your legs stacked on top of one another. Slowly raise your left leg as high as you can, hold for one second and slowly return your leg to the starting position. I suggest you start out with ten leg lifts and then switch sides. Build up to fifty to one hundred leg lifts per side.
Stretching (5 Minutes)
Stretching is a person’s best friend. It is suggested that you always spend at least five minutes stretching before and after your workouts, no matter how easy or strenuous. This helps prevent injury to your muscles and helps them relax after a workout.
So, there you have it. There is exactly 30 minutes of workouts right here for you that you can do at anytime during the day whether you are at home or at work! If you have children, encourage them to workout with you, you can even make a game of it for your more reluctant children. Remember that before starting any exercise program, you should consult with your doctor.