What comes to mind when you hear the word “exercise”? Do you think of big equipment like treadmills, ellipticals, or heavy weight machines at a gym? Most people think that in order to lose weight, they have to join a gym. After all, that’s where all the necessary equipment is, right? On the contrary, you have everything you need to get a great workout right there at home, or in your neighborhood. Everyone needs to get some sort of exercise in order to lose weight. It is possible to lose weight by just changing your diet, but exercise is a major key in burning off excess fat.
Cardiovascular exercise is one major way to burn off fat. You should always start out slow, and work your way up over time. This goes for any type of exercise, cardiovascular or strength training. For a cardiovascular routine, you want to get your heart rate up for at least 20 minutes a session. If you’re a beginner, raise your heart rate by 55% to 65% over your resting heart rate. If you’ve been exercising for a while, raise it by 60% to 80%. Calculate your resting heart rate by counting your pulse for one full minute.
You Don’t Need A Gym
There are many ways to get a cardiovascular workout without the need of heavy equipment. All you need is yourself. Walking and running both provide excellent exercise. One of the great things about walking and running is that you can do it anywhere. You don’t need any special equipment. Walk or run around your neighborhood. Bring your dog along with you. Dogs make excellent walking and running companions. If it’s a rainy day, find an indoor running track and keep moving.
Another great way to get cardiovascular exercise is by taking the stairs instead of the elevator. If you work in a high office building, park at ground level and walk your way up. If you’re at the very top, then park halfway up, and go on from there. During your lunch break, do a quick flight or two. If you’ve got stairs at home, that’s a plus. Make a point of going up and down the stairs once every hour. You could “forget” something upstairs and have to go get it.
Swimming is great exercise for anyone that has physical limitations. People who suffer from physical disabilities that affect balance, or those that suffer from joint pain can get a good cardiovascular workout by swimming. Either by swimming regular laps, or taking part in an aquarobics routine, the pool is a great workout spot. Swimming is much easier on your joints than land based workouts, as it provides less impact on your joints.
If you have children, play with them. Kids expend a lot of energy just by playing. Have you ever watched a child play? They run, jump, chase one another, and contort their bodies every which way. All this movement burns calories and provides great natural exercise. Join in the fun with them. Play a game of tag in the back yard, or a game of Frisbee. Take them to the park and have fun moving around with them.
Not all exercise is cardiovascular. Strength training is also very important to lose weight. Strength training raises your metabolism, just like cardiovascular exercise, and allows your body to burn fat more easily. And just like cardiovascular workouts, there’s no need to join a gym or buy expensive equipment.
Household items can double as exercise equipment. Dumbbells and hand weights can be replaced by cans of food or milk jugs. An easy way to incorporate strength training is to tell yourself every time you open the refrigerator, you’ll do 10 reps of an arm exercise. They can be arm curls, front raises, or triceps extensions. Any type of arm exercise can be done with a couple a food cans or a full milk jug.
Body weight exercises, such as push ups, crunches, or sit ups, can be done easily at any time. It doesn’t take many crunches to build up strong abdominal muscles. A lot of people think that you need to do 100 crunches every day to get a flat stomach. But just 10 to 20 reps is all you need to tone those muscles. As long as you feel those muscles working and getting tired, they’ll get stronger.
The combination of cardiovascular exercise and strength training is important. Strength training helps to strengthen and tone muscles, and cardiovascular workouts burn the fat to show off those strong muscles. You don’t need fancy and expensive equipment in order to exercise to lose weight. You’ve got all you need right where you are. A little creativity may be needed, but that’s part of the fun. And yes, exercise can be fun. It’s all in how you go about doing it.
What do you do to exercise at home?
Photo by mikebaird