How to workout around the home
As a busy parent, do you often find it hard to fit in workouts in your busy schedule? Well, lucky for you there are many ways to take advantage of being active while doing the housework! You can blast the music and dance while dusting, go outdoors and mow the lawns with a push mower, give your arms and shoulders a great workout by cleaning the windows or run up and down the stairs in your home if you have them.
There are also many household items you can use to strengthen your body. Listed below are a few ideas:
Recycled Water Bottles
Use recycled water bottles filled with sand and perform many of the same exercises as you would with dumbbells.
- Grab a pair of sand-filled water bottles; hold one in each hand as you bend your knees and squat to strengthen your legs.
- Use the bottles to perform arm curls as you bend your elbows and raise the bottles toward your shoulders to strengthen the front of your upper arm.
- Lift the bottles overhead to strengthen your shoulders.
- Just as with dumbbells, your water bottle exercise variations are plentiful and with a bit of creativity, will offer you a total body workout.
You can build your core muscle area and buttocks region with crunches and dips using your couch!
Crunches are a lot like sit-ups, except that instead of lifting your entire back off the floor, you only lift your upper back.
- Place your legs (bent) on the couch – 90 degrees.
- Beginner: Cross your arms over your chest instead of placing them behind your head to reduce the resistance during your crunch. (Remember; don’t pull on your neck if you place your hands behind your head.)
- As you crunch, exhale your breath on the way up while focusing your eyes on a spot on the ceiling (not your knees).
- Hold at top position for one second.
- Then lower to floor vertebrae by vertebrae…slowly while inhaling.
Keep your hips still during a crunch and only move your upper body. Don’t hook your legs under the couch, as if your abdominal muscles are weak or fatigued, you’ll begin to use your hip flexors (fronts of thighs), which will disengage your abdominal muscles.
Incline push-ups will give your chest and arms a great workout. Simply, put your hands on the arm of the couch shoulder width apart and perform push-ups (these are easier than regular push-ups). You will be building up arm strength and working out muscles in your chest area.
If you can do incline push-ups on the couch too easily, then do them on the floor. Remember contract your abdominals while breathing when you go down into a pushup and try not to arch your back.
Household walls can provide the perfect support to perform squats! A wall squat is great for your hips and quads (front of thighs).
- Stand in front of a wall (about 30cm / 2 ft in front of it) and lean your back against it.
- Slowly slide down the wall with your knees hip width apart.
- Slide down to 45 – 90 degrees. You must not go past 90 degrees.
- Hold that position for 10 seconds…or more.
- Then slide back up the wall. Make sure you are breathing though out the exercise. Come back to start and repeat.
- Hold the squat at different angles to work the lower body in different ways.
- For more intensity, increase the time of the wall squat – you could aim to ‘wall sit’ for 1 -2 minutes.
- Advanced: hold weights or squeeze a large ball like (netball) between the knees as you wall sit.
Stretching is an important part of exercise. Use rolled up bath towels to help you get the perfect post-workout stretch!
- Use rolled up bath towels from your bathroom to help you with stretching muscles. The towels will alter the angle of your body allowing you to effectively stretch each muscle. E.g. To stretch your calves, sit on the floor with your legs straight, loop a bath towel around the ball of one foot, and pull, resisting with your foot; repeat with the other foot.
Note: With all exercises, it is imperative to use good form and to not hold your breath as you exercise. Also, if you have an injury, please check with your Doctor/Physio/Osteo if you should be doing those exercises. They could possibly suggest modified versions for you.
Author: Monique Rana – Vitasoy Ambassador & Co-Owner of BodyTech Gym NZ.