Exercising at home doesn’t need to be complicated. In fact, studies show that the more complex an exercise routine becomes, the higher the dropout rate. Exercise offers too many benefits, both physical and mental, to quit! Maybe the answer is to simplify your routine - and perhaps ask your canine companion to join you!
There’s No Place Like Home
Some people love going to the gym. They thrive on the activity and social aspects of working out with others, and that’s great. But some people would rather avoid the crowds and the intimidation of those power lifting workout gurus in designer spandex. Exercising in the privacy of your own home has its benefits. After all, your dog will never judge your ratty sweats or your abilities! And you can listen to your favorite music.
Here’s the good news, you can get a great workout at home, using just your body weight. A quick online search will reveal a variety of at-home workouts geared to beginner, intermediate and advance exercisers. To get you started, we’ve compiled the 8 best exercises for beginners that will provide a full-body workout. Complete two sets of 10-15 repetitions, with 30 seconds to one minute of rest between each move. The entire circuit should take about 20 minutes, but don’t worry if it takes you longer to complete. Proper form is better than speed! And if you have trouble getting down and up from the floor, don't worry - we have a solution. (See "What is PhysioBoard?" below.)
Lie on your back on the floor or on your PhysioBoard* with your knees bent, feet flat and your arms extended by your sides.
Pushing through your feet and engaging your core, raise your bottom off the ground until your hips are fully extended, squeezing your glutes at the top.
Slowly return to the starting position and repeat.
The bridge helps tone the glutes, provides a good warm up and can help alleviate lower back pain.
2. Chair Squat
Stand in front of a sturdy chair – facing away from the chair – with your feet shoulder width apart, toes pointed slightly out.
Hinging at the hips and bending your knees, lower back and down until your bottom touches the chair, allowing your arms to extend out in front of you.
Push up through your heels and return to the starting position.
Chair squats are great for building important leg muscles like your quads, hamstrings and glutes.
3. Modified Knee Pushup
Pushups can be challenging for many people. For beginner’s, a modified knee
pushup will help you build strength.
Get into a high plank position from your knees on the floor or on your PhysioBoard.
Maintaining a straight line from your head to your knees (no sagging bottoms!), bend your elbows to lower yourself to the ground like a standard pushup. Keep your elbows at a 45-degree angle.
Push back up to start.
The knee pushup activates muscle groups throughout your upper body, including your triceps, pecs, and shoulders.
4. Stationary Lunge
From standing, split your stance with your right leg in front. Your right foot should be flat on the ground, and your left foot should be up on its toes.
Bend your knees and lunge, stopping when your right leg is parallel to the ground.
Push up through your right foot to return to the starting position. Repeat for desired number of reps, and then switch legs.
To increase the difficulty, you can hold light weights in your hands.
Stationary lunges target your glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings, but also help your balance.
Lay face down on the floor or on your PhysioBoard with your elbows bent and your hands underneath your shoulders.
Push up into plank position, keeping your core engaged and your body in a straight line from your head to your feet (no sagging bottom or middle!). Be sure to keep your neck in a neutral position with your gaze on the floor. (Note: The plank can be done with straight arms or on your forearms if your wrists bother you.)
Hold for 15- 30 seconds, working up to 60 seconds.
The plank works the core muscles, including the transverse abdominis, rectus abdominis, and internal and external obliques.
6. Bird Dog
Get on all fours on the floor or on your PhysioBoard, making sure your hands are directly underneath your shoulders and your knees are underneath your hips.
Keeping your neck neutral (gaze on the floor), extend your left arm and right leg, keeping your hips square to the ground. Hold here for a 2-5 seconds.
Return to start position and repeat with your right arm and left leg.
The bird dog exercise works the spine, rectus abdominis and glutes, which allow for stability of the whole body. It's a great exercise for people with low back issues and can help with balance and posture.
7. Leg raises (Side-lying hip abduction)
Lie on your left side on the floor or on your PhysioBoard, with your left leg straight and your right leg resting on the ground.
Lift your right leg up, maintain the position of your body (upper body should not move). Make sure your hips don’t open up.
Return to the start position. Repeat for 10-20 reps, and then repeat on the other side.
Side lying leg raises target the outer thighs and the hip abductors. Strengthening hip abductors is especially important for those of us who sit most of the day at work.
8. Bicycle Crunch
Lie on your back on the floor or on your PhysioBoard and bring your legs to a tabletop position. Bend your elbows and put your hands behind your head. (Note: Never pull on your head and neck. Make your abs do the work!)
Crunch up and bring your right elbow to your left knee, straightening your right leg.
Release the crunch slightly. Bend your right leg and straighten your left leg, then bring your elbow to your right knee.
Repeat for the desired number of reps.
You'll be working your core in all of the above exercises, but bicycle crunches target both the abs and the obliques.
Over time, as you build strength, you can increase the number of repetitions and/or add exercises to your circuit. It’s also important to do some stretching at the end of your workout to increase flexibility, and add some cardio exercises, such as walking, jogging, or swimming to your routine.
*What is the PhysioBoard?
Many people have difficulty getting down and up from the floor, which makes doing exercises such as these impossible. But that doesn’t mean they can’t benefit from them! PhysioBoard solves the problem. It’s a lightweight, yet sturdy board that transforms your bed into an effective exercise surface. Exercising on a mattress is not ideal as it doesn’t provide a firm enough surface to use and maintain proper form.
With PhysioBoard, you simply put the lightweight, padded board on any bed and then exercise as you would on the floor. Crunches, planks, bridges, bird dogs, leg raises and other floor exercises can now be done effectively on a raised surface. When you’re done, store the PhysioBoard behind a door or in a closet.
People who have used PhysioBoard love it! Check out the testimonials at www.physioboard.net and start exercising safely and effectively!