Nothing beats a good workout when it comes to invigorating the body and giving it that extra oomph or get up and go kind of energy we all crave and sometimes fall short of. There is no doubt, that the body is a well-structured vessel that needs to be put to work because when we switch to a sedentary lifestyle, we often witness the discord it creates in our bodies. So why is exercise essential?
Exercise is not only great for maintaining our bodies in good shape, but it is also great for sharpening the mind as well. Just try it! You can start by easing into it. A week of consistent exercise will often get you feeling so invigorated that you will wonder how you ever got on without it.
Many Ways to Exercise Your Body without Equipment
Often when the word exercise pops up, we think of gyms and workout equipments, but that is not necessarily what we need on a day to day basis to qualify as exercise. Various acts around the house and outside can help us maintain our bodies in a well conditioned state. I’m sure you have noticed how vacuuming the entire house can sometimes result in you working up a sweat. And it doesn’t just end there, the variety of stretches that are involved in cleaning around the house can leave you feeling like you have put in some exercise time. In a sense what I am trying to say is that our body is happier when it is in motion and able to move about in a variety of ways whether it is through natural movements (i.e. stretching, walking – any form of exercise without the use of equipments or via mechanical means (use of workout equipments). I am more so a fan of the former than the latter; I prefer a stroll or jog, with the occasional bike rides, as opposed to gym or stationary workout equipments.
There are so many fun and easy ways to exercise or move your body, that it truly can be done on a daily basis and every bit counts – all things considered, it is a plausible venture. The best way to approach this is to look at it as if you are trying to develop a good habit. Good habits are totally worth it, but do take time to develop, so set your mind to it that you will be in it for the long run (pun intended) and remind yourself that even baby steps count, so keep it moving!
Here are some of the many ways you can incorporate exercise into your daily schedule a little bit at a time:
> Do a 5-minute stretch 30 minutes after waking up (to give your body time to adjust and get things flowing/more fluid). You can build on from there up to about 15 minutes.
> Take a 5-minute walk around your building at work during lunchtime (preferably, a 10-minute walk if time permits).
> If applicable, take the stairs instead of elevator, especially during lunch or at the end of the day.
> Take time to move about every 2-3 hours if your job involves a lot of sitting (every hour if possible, as long as productivity is not affected) – take about 5 minutes or so to stretch at your desk or walk around (use your foreknowledge of your workplace environment and immediate surroundings, as to not cause any distractions or issues with coworkers).
> Choose 1 or 2 days out of the week and park far away from the entrance to your building and do some walking.
> Do lunges when you vacuum and stretch your upper body as much as you can as you reach to move the vacuum around – the same can be done when sweeping or clean and dusting.
> Dancing to your favorite music is a fun and easy way to get in some exercise with the added bonus of relaxing your mind and releasing stress even faster. Plus it can be incorporated into doing chores around the house, like vacuuming. If you would like a more focused approach to dancing as a form of exercise, then there is always Zumba!
Exercising with an Equipment
When it comes to working out with an equipment, the choices are endless. There are basic, complex, and equipments that fall somewhere in between the aforementioned. Starting off with the basics, here is a list of equipments and or tools that when used correctly can give you a great workout and in some cases, a total body workout.
1. Punching Bag – an awesome way to get a total body cardio workout, punching bags are definitely an old, but good way of getting a great full-body workout, especially if you incorporate all the right moves (whether at home or at the gym).
2. Stability Ball / Swiss Ball / Yoga Ball – whichever name you choose, these balls are tools you can use for building core strength, but can also be used to work the upper and lower body.
3. Medicine Ball – these are weighted balls used in strength training and are commonly used in sports medicine, but can be a beneficial addition to anyone’s personal workout plans.
4. Step Platform or a set of stairs – find a set of stairs at in your neighborhood or if you live in a two-story home, then make use of those stairs. Using the stairs at home (six or more times a day) can help improve heart rate.
5. Jump Rope – this is a super cheap way of getting a great cardio workout and can be very beneficial to improving your cardiovascular system (your heart and blood vessels [arteries, and veins]). It is also beneficial for working out the lower body (i.e. toning up your legs).
Other tools and equipments that can be used for working out includes the pull-up bar, kettle bell, great quality dumbbells, resistance bands, Bosu Balls, and even a chair, which is a great for a total body workout – from stretching to light or low intensity aerobics.
Gym and At Home Gym Equipments
Among the myriad of equipments built for working out, there is always good ‘ole faithful – the treadmill. But if your want to venture beyond this, then the following might just be for you.
1. Elliptical – great for low intensity workouts; the gliding motion is easier on the body, and can prove a worthy venture for those who suffer from back pain.
2. Air Bike – great for HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), this bike gets your legs and arms moving for a full body workout. It uses wind resistance to moderate your workout intensity, in other words, the harder you pedal the more resistance you get from the fan. Great for low impact (easy on the body, especially your joints) workout, plus you have the added bonus of the built in fan to help circulate the air as you work out.
3. Rowing Machine – great for working out the lower body, but can also be used to work out your back, arms, core, and not just those legs muscles especially if used correctly.
4. Recumbent bike – a great equipment set apart from a regular exercise bike due to its reclined backrest with a bucket seat to boot. It can be a fantastic equipment for strengthening the lower body and improving cardiovascular system if used properly (moderate to high intensity is beneficial). The reclined position of this bike make it a great option for those with neck or any upper body issues that prevent or make it difficult for them to stay in an upright position.
5. Chest Press Machine – as the name implies, it is great for working out your chest primarily. Provides a great strengthening workout for the upper body with the added bonus of toning the shoulders and of course, arms.
6. Leg Press Machine – great piece of resistance equipment for toning up your legs with less likelihood of injury, as it ensures proper positioning of your back, as well as, legs during your workout sessions.
Easing into an Exercise Regimen
Follow the golden rule and start small and work your way up; after all, you don’t want to over exert yourself before you’ve even gotten started on your newfound chapter to building a healthier you through exercise. A good start would be 15 minutes every other day – 5 minutes of stretching before you begin and 10 minutes of a low intensity workout. But, be sure to listen to your body and adjust accordingly. Typically, around week 2, your body will be acclimated to your 15 minutes session of low intensity workout and you may then push forward by adjusting your time frame by 5 minute increments (up to 10 minute increments if you feel up to it). Do this for at least 2 months and you will be well on your way to building a habit of exercising, so much so, that you will be able to adjust your routine to include both low and moderate intensity workouts and move onward to even high intensity workouts within 4-6 months (12 at the most), that is if high intensity workout is your goal. Otherwise, stick with moderate intensity workouts and keep your body in motion with a regular, weekly exercise schedule. Just remember, you don’t have to stick to the same ‘ole routines, keep it interesting and switch it up every 2 weeks or so and create a series of exercise routines you know you enjoy.
If you have made the decision to include exercise in your health routine, rest assure there are plenty of options out there whether an exercise machine or a basic tool to help you meet your fitness goals. You are bound to find something that works for you! The choice is up to you on what you choose to do exercise wise, but there is no doubt that a sedentary lifestyle benefits no one and often times proves to be detrimental to one’s overall health. One of the major keys to improving and maintaining a good health is exercise; it is essential!! And we have plenty of opportunities and ways to exercise, as well as reasons.