Get fit at home
You might think a gym, with all its equipment options, is a great place to exercise. However, you can also get a great workout using nothing more than your own body weight. And you can do it without ever leaving home.
All you need is a little bit of space, says Kristen Seymour, a certified fitness coach. Another important factor: “The ability to tune out distractions for the duration of your workout,” she adds.
Government guidelines recommend that older adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week.1 But any activity is better than none. Start small and build from there.
The key is to exercise regularly. And a great way to do that is to choose activities you like. “The best workout is always going to be the one you enjoy, because it’s the one you’ll do,” Seymour notes.
Before starting any new activity, talk to a health care provider to make sure it’s safe, says Jennipher Walters, a certified personal trainer. And listen to your body, she adds — stop if anything feels off or hurts.
Ready to start? Here are 5 ways to help stay fit from the comfort of your own home
1. Grab a buddy
Just because you’re working out from home doesn’t mean you have to do it alone. Exercising with a friend or alongside a virtual fitness class is a great way to help stay motivated.
2. Try a full-body workout
A good exercise routine is one that works the entire body — sometimes all at once. Walters recommends this sequence of 1-minute exercises. (Remember, it’s always important to speak with a healthcare provider before starting a new workout routine.)
The beauty of this 5-minute routine is that you pick the activities. Repeat it based on how much time you have to work out. Got 15 minutes? Do the whole sequence 3 times.
- 1 minute of cardio (jumping jacks, running or marching in place, burpees)
- 1 minute of upper body (bicep curls, push-ups, tricep dips using a chair)
- 1 minute of lower body (lunges, squats, wall sits)
- 1 minute of cardio (pick a different move, or the same one)
- 1 minute of core (crunches, sit-ups, planks)
3. Get your heart pumping
You don’t need a treadmill or stair-climber to do some cardio at home. Aerobic exercise is anything that gets your heart beating more quickly. So dancing around the living room and doing yard work, such as raking or mowing, counts.1
How can you tell if the activity is challenging enough? In general, you should be able to talk while doing the exercise, but you shouldn’t be able to sing.2
4. Work your muscles
Aerobic activity is key for heart health. But strengthening muscles is also important. Strengthening muscles can be done with hand weights, resistance bands or your own body weight.
Strength training is especially important as people age because it helps fend off muscle loss.3 Plus, it may help improve mobility. Aim for at least 2 sessions per week.3
“Having a set of light dumbbells and a set of heavy dumbbells will give you the ability to do strength training, right in your living room,” Seymour says. Or just do some push-ups, either against the wall or on the floor.1
5. When in doubt, go for a walk
Walking is one of the easiest ways to move your body. It can be done almost anywhere, anytime. And it’s easier on the joints. When you do it briskly — between 2.5 and 4.2 miles per hour — it counts as moderate-intensity cardio.4
Every good workout should also include a short warm-up and cooldown. “Dynamic warm-ups combine stretching with movement, such as arm circles or high knees,” Seymour says. They help “prep your body for movement and help prevent injury. Cooldowns can be gentle stretches or a slow walk.”
Even if you only have 5 minutes a day, make it a point to move your body. With these ideas, it may help make it easier to get fit without going too far from home.