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Simple - and Free - Ways to Get Exercise Indoors

April 9th, 2020

We’re all stuck indoors – thanks to the global pandemic and the orders that many of us are under to stay home to help stop the spread of the Corona Virus. It can be difficult to get the daily exercise we need to stay healthy – and sane – during these unusual times. Not only is exercise important for maintaining your cardiovascular health, keeping your weight in check and preventing heart disease, stroke and diabetes, it’s also key in fighting back against depression and anxiety while we’re practicing social distancing. 

If you already like to work out a home, you’re probably not fazed by the need to work out indoors. But if your typical exercise includes a weightlifting or yoga class at your local gym, here’s some inspiration to get your heart rate up! 

Keep it old school.

There’s a reason why people keep coming back to simple exercises – they work. Old school calisthenics – think push-ups, crunches, leg lifts, squats, lunges and calf raises – can be done anywhere with no equipment. Body weight exercises are great for all fitness levels from beginner to elite athlete. As you establish a new routine, start with just 10 reps of each exercise with little to no breaks between each set. Increase your reps by 5 to 10 each week, or add on sets. Four rounds of 20 reps each will definitely leave you out of breath and sweaty! 

Stay motivated with these simple exercises by creating a challenge with friends and family members. How much you do is up to you, but it’s definitely more fun when you know you’re competing to keep up with your daily squats, lunges or sit ups.

Jump like a kid again. 

How long has it been since you’ve jumped rope? For many of us, elementary school was the last time you’ve tried this heart-pumping exercise. The fact is, skipping rope is cheap, effective and fun. For a few dollars, you’ll have a tool that can provide a serious cardio workout that’s a great alternative to a treadmill or other cardio machine. By engaging all your muscles, regularly jumping rope will improve muscle tone in both the upper and lower parts of the body. And in addition to burning major calories – as much as running a mile in just 10 minutes – jumping rope helps improve stamina, coordination and focus.  

Plank it out.

What’s the most effective way to strengthen your core muscles? Even though crunches or sit-ups are the most common ab exercise, planks give you the biggest bang for your buck. Benefits of a strong core include improving your stability and reducing your risk of a back injury. Secondary benefits of performing planks regularly include improving your balance, your posture and reducing back pain!

Even though the move itself is simple, this exercise really makes you feel the burn. To start, get into the push up position. Make sure your body is perpendicular to the ground with your elbows directly under your shoulders, being careful not to let your bottom sag. Hold this position from your hands or your elbows and keep your body still by contracting your muscles throughout your core and legs. It will be easy for the first few seconds but gets increasingly difficult. Aim for three 30 second planks, allowing for one minute of rest between each plank. Increase your time by 5 seconds each week, for a total of three one-minute planks each day. 

Dance like nobody’s watching. 

One really easy – and fun – way to get your heart pounding is by dancing. It’s an activity you can do at any time, with a partner or alone. It’s reported that a person who weighs roughly 170 pounds will burn nearly 400 calories for an hour of dancing, which is similar to the amount you’d burn swimming or biking! How hard or intensely you dance and your body composition will determine the number of calories you burn. The most effective types of dancing for weight loss are belly dancing and Zumba because both are designed to use your entire body. We do know one thing – the more you’re into it, the more you’re going to get out of it! So turn up your favorite tunes and get moving!

Clean like you mean it. 

Have you ever used cleaning house as an excuse not to exercise? Although not as strenuous as going for a run or lifting weights, cleaning for exercise can help you burn some serious calories. In fact, you can get your house sparkling and kick up your heart rate at the same time if you do it with intention. Just like with dancing, how ‘hard’ you clean determines how many calories you’re likely to burn. Doing household chores incorporates some of the same movements that you’d do in the gym – squatting, reaching, bending and more.  

Vacuuming is a great place to start by incorporating your upper and lower body (be sure to switch arms halfway through). You can also pick up the pace when mopping floors. Put on some comfortable clothes, turn on some fast music, and see how much you can get done in one hour! You’ll have done good work toward your daily exercise goal and tidied your space – that’s a win-win! 

Find a free online class that inspires you. 

Many people need the external motivation to exercise that comes from an in-person class – and that’s ok! If you don’t know exactly what to do or how to do it, there are many free online resources sure to fit your interests and athletic ability. Love yoga? There’s a reason that Yoga with Adrienne has such a huge following. Her relatable, practical and easy to follow routines will help reignite your daily yoga practice. 

Leslie Sanson’s Walk at Home is the perfect for those who don’t have an established workout routine and need to build up cardiovascular endurance. She keeps you moving for the entire time and even incorporates interval training into the workout. 

Fitness Blender is also a great option – with more than 500 videos to choose from (ranging from 10 minutes to more than an hour), it’s no wonder they have more 4 million subscribers to their channel. 

If these aren’t your speed, a quick search of Pinterest or Youtube – yoga, bootcamp, boxing, high intensity training, Pilates, barre or plyometrics – will give you many options to choose from. And since there’s no shortage of workouts and teachers, choosing different instructor-led videos each week will keep your routine from growing stale and motivate you to keep going!  


How are you staying motivated to exercise? 

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