You may think you need gym equipment to help you get in your best shape. Think again… Things that you have around your home can make some unlikely devices that double as fitness equipment. You’re not alone if you have an aversion to gyms. Some people prefer working out alone, outdoors, or (let’s say it…) for free. Some social circles may not accept you if you don’t have the local gym’s membership card attached to your keys, but there are other ways to incorporate exercise into your weekly routine:
Want legs that stay firm and look good without the aid of jeggings? A heavy and solid (read: unbreakable) wooden coffee table or ottoman can help. Put some felt pads under the table legs. Lie on the floor with feet against the top edge of the table and press away. Be sure small pets and children are not within squishing distance.
Don’t want to use the table? That’s OK. This exercise will work those same leg muscles, and some others (abs, lower back, and butt). Stand with your back against a sturdy wall and walk your feet forward about 2-3 feet (depending on your height). Start sitting down as if you had a chair underneath you, and slide your back down the wall. Hold for as long as you can, in the position where you feel challenged—progress to the point where your hips and knees form 90 degree angles. (Tip: make sure your feet are right under your knees at the lowest point of your squat.)
Chair or Table Top Bridges
Use a sturdy chair or table (again, one that is unbreakable) that can’t slide away to do this exercise. Lie down on your back with your feet and ankles resting on the table or chair top, with your knees slightly bent. Squeeze your butt cheeks together, flatten your lower back (imagine tucking your tail between your legs and point your tailbone toward the ceiling), and press your hips up toward the ceiling. Slowly lower and repeat. This will firm the back of your legs (including your bum), abs, and lower back.
Kitchen/Bathroom Counter Push-Ups
Want firmer arms? Lots of women are mavens of multi-tasking, so while you are waiting for your soup to simmer, rock some push-ups against that counter. Safety tip: stay a safe distance away from pot handles, hot stove surfaces, and open flames. You can also try some single arm push-ups against the bathroom counter while brushing your hair.
Gallon Bottle/Bucket Rows and Arm Curls
Most of us have running water at home, or gallon containers of liquid in the fridge or cupboard. If you lift them enough times, they’ll feel pretty damn heavy. Grab that heavy container, or fill a bucket with water (don’t waste it; water the plants with it after you’re done), or bags of sugar and/or flour, potatoes, or anything weighty. Then, lift, arm curl, or carry around the weight while you go up stairs or lunge across a room. Doing so will tone your shoulders, core, and your limbs as well.
This exercise will help strengthen all of the muscles in your mid-section. Hold push-up position (butt in the air is not a modification…it’s not the precise way to do it—not even close—just wrong) with your tailbone tucked under, stomach held in tight, and shoulders drawn back. If your shoulders, hips, knees, and toes form a straight line, you are doing it right. To modify this exercise, keep your knees on the floor.
These are just a few exercises that you can do at home, besides the old standbys—jump rope and stairs. Skip the gym and get your workout on at home. Be safe, and be creative. You may notice your clothes will fit better, and you will have some money to spare.
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