We have attempted to tackle the reason why people either don’t start exercising, or they start and somewhere along the way, stop. I have spoken to quite a few people who, for one reason or another, do not want to go to a gym to workout, and they do not have workout equipment at home.
Neither of those (we will call them excuses for now) should prevent you from exercising. There are so many exercises you can do in a 30 – 45 minute workout routine (3-4 times a week), that can get you in pretty good shape, without the aid of a gym or expensive exercise equipment.
The first step to any exercise program is to get clearance from your doctor. Our audience is typically the over 40 crowd, and as we are well aware, the older you get, the more health risks there are. So, it is always a good idea to make sure you are healthy enough to start an exercise routine.
The second step is to set a goal. What do you want to accomplish? Do you want bigger muscles? Do you want a thinner waistline? Are you preparing for an athletic competition or event? Your goal will determine what type of exercises you should be doing and how you should perform those exercises.
For simplicity sake, let’s assume you want to lose some weight, firm up some body parts that for whatever reason (gravity), have begun to sag a bit, and get in overall better health. All good reasons.
Here is a partial list of some really good exercises you can perform, without weights, kettle bells, dumbbells, bands, machines, etc.:
- Air squats – one of the best all around exercises
- Side planks
- Floor bridge
- Push ups
- Balance drills
- Yoga poses
Weight bearing postures can actually build muscle, which is important to anyone over 40, as we lose a certain percentage of muscle tone each year. You could add some dumbbell exercises to your routine to assist in strengthening certain muscles. All it takes is a couple of 5 or 10 pound dumbbells to get started. Heck, you could even start with a jug of laundry detergent, anything to add resistance. It is funny, but since we sold our house, I don’t have any exercise equipment in my new living space. I used a jug of detergent the other day to do shoulder raises. It weighs about 8 pounds and did the trick. You can get creative here, but make sure the weight is correct (not too heavy for a particular exercise to where you may injure yourself), and it allows for the proper form (also to prevent injury).
Once a good routine is designed, make time in your schedule to exercise. Put these times in your calendar and treat them like an important business meeting. In other words, set a high priority to exercising and try not to miss a session. Once that first session is skipped, it is easy to blow off others and before you know it, you are back to being a couch potato…don’t miss!
You can find information online about the exercises I mentioned above, or you could seek the help of a Certified Personal Trainer to get started. Blend in some weight resistance as I mentioned above (push ups, air squats, both of which are body weight resistance), or dumbbell work such as shoulder presses, bicep curls, and bench press exercises. Include core work to strengthen the all important stomach and back muscles. These include the plank, side plank, air squats, and floor bridge exercises mentioned above. And don’t forget to elevate your heart rate with some cardio work (walking, running, jumping jacks, bike riding).
Once you get the routine down, you can add resistance as you get stronger. This will continue your improvement and build your strength and endurance, which in turn will reduce the chances of injury performing daily tasks, tone up your muscles, and most likely reduce that waistline.
Give it a try and good luck. Remember, we want fitness for a lifetime, not just until that big event that we want to look good for.