Not everyone has the time, money or location to go to the gym, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t get into shape and stay healthy. Try these activities to keep the blood flowing without the need of an expensive gym membership.
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Before you zip up your sweatshirt, however, please note that the exercises I’m listing assume that you are healthy enough to stand up and perform some basic movement. If you’re unable to do the exercises below comfortably, consider seeing a doctor or trying simpler exercises first, like walking regularly.
These are exercises designed to aid in mobility and promote good health with minimal strain using normal day-to-day movement. Stretches are not included nor are they necessary, but light stretching before any of these exercises won’t cause any problems.
Jumping jacks is a great starting warm-up exercise because it loosens up your shoulders, knees and hip joints as well as your calf muscles and ankle tendons, which helps prevent injury during other exercises.
To perform a jumping jack, stand straight with your heels touching and your arms at your side. Hop in the air, spread your legs to a little over shoulder length apart (more if you can handle it) and raise your arms above your head (you can clap if it helps).
To finish, jump again and return to the starting position. Start slowly and do as many as you can in two minutes. (If you suffer or have suffered from a rotator cuff injury or want to prevent one, you can perform a half jack instead. Just raise your arms to halfway above your head instead of all the way).
This simple but effective exercise helps build the vital muscles that provide your balance in everyday activities. To start, stand with your legs shoulder length apart. Slowly flex your calf muscles and stand up on your toes, then slowly make your way back down.
Stop when you start to feel any burn with this exercise, as overworking these muscles and tendons can cause problems if you plan to do any more activities for the day. If you can do between 10 and 20, take a break and do more later.
It might sound silly, but a great way to loosen up your arms, chest and back is to throw a few punches. There’s no need to hit anything and a heavy bag or other boxing trainer might hurt your wrists if you’re untrained. Just do your best Rocky impersonation for a minute or so.
Go For A Walk
While a treadmill is the ideal tool for this, especially in colder weather, taking a walk around outside is just fine. Make sure you have proper footwear and above all, it’s important to start very slowly. Start at a mile a day and add another five minutes on to your walking time each time you go out, and stop once you get to an hour. Try to get in at least three days a week, but don’t do more than five days in a week.
Get On The Bike
If you experience pain due to walking and running, consider riding a bike around flat areas (or use an exercise bike, which is ideal). A bike uses different muscle groups and you may find the experience more comfortable. The same rules as walking apply: start slowly and work your way up.
Go For A Swim
Taking a few relaxing laps around the pool works more muscles than you realize and the cool water helps keep you performing nicely. Just be careful not to overdo it. Never swim alone (or without a lifeguard), and keep track of how long you’ve been in the water.