One of the things that I miss the most during this lockdown is going to the gym. I don’t see them opening up anytime soon, so I’ve become creative to find things to do besides walking or running.
Ideally we should be doing something to raise our heart rate for at least 15 to 20 minutes a day, three to five days a week. In addition to that, adding strength training at least two days a week is really good for you.
There are many benefits from working out. It can make you feel happier, help with weight loss and increase your energy levels. Adding exercise to your life can reduce your risk of chronic disease, help your brain health and even make you sleep better. Strength training is great for your muscles and bones and balance.
You don’t need a lot of equipment. Think gym class in high school. For cardio, you can do jumping jacks, run up and down stairs if you have them, or simply walk march or run in place. Lifting your knees while you are walking in place will raise your heart rate even more.
To build muscle, you can do push-ups, squats and lunges and sit-ups. I have 5- and 10-pound weights that I use to strength train. I like to combine different exercises so I can work two muscle groups at the same time.
One of many favorites is to hold a weight in each hand at my shoulders. If you don't have weight, you could use half- or one-gallon jugs with water in them. The amount of water will adjust the weight for you. With your feet shoulder width apart, squat about 6 inches. When you straighten your legs, raise your hands over you head. This will work your legs, shoulders and arms. This can also be counted as cardio because it raises your heart rate.
Another great exercise that benefits your arms and back and chest is to bend slightly at the waist and, while holding a weight in each hand, raise your arms to your shoulder. Start out doing three sets of each exercise at least eight reps. Over time, you should be able to increase the reps to 12 or 15.
So get creative. Look around your house and you’ll be surprised at the things that you can use to improvise. So turn up your favorite music and start moving. You’ll love how you feel and look!
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