We’ve all heard warnings from health experts about how important it is to stay active to enjoy short and long-term health benefits. However, despite good intentions, coupled with those frequent recommendations to get on the move, many of us are far too sedentary.
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Part of the reason is because numerous jobs require desk work so that may mean the majority of most weekdays are spent sitting. However, besides the sedentary lifestyles many people have, it’s also hard to find the time to work out. Between work, family and social obligations, it’s no wonder it’s difficult to fit in a workout, too. Fortunately, this six-move workout is one you can do in 10 minutes, so having lots of free time isn’t a requirement to start improving your fitness.
Start by dressing in comfortable clothes and sturdy shoes. A good soundtrack of upbeat music may be helpful for making you feel more motivated. It’s also important to have realistic expectations. This workout won’t likely be all you need to get bikini ready, but it will help reverse the effects of a sedentary lifestyle, and most importantly, demonstrate it’s easier to fit fitness into your routine than you may think.
Details of each exercise are explained below, which means you won’t need to hire a personal trainer to ensure you’re doing the moves correctly. Furthermore, you can perform all the parts of this workout without any equipment. That makes it a smart solution if you live in a small house or are trying to maintain a workout regimen while traveling.
The Deep Squat
This is an exercise that gently stretches the legs and helps you achieve better hip flexibility. If you are starting from a point of very limited flexibility, don’t worry. Even if you cannot manage a full squat at first, you should notice improvements in as little as a few days.
Begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, and bend your knees as deeply as possible, preferably until your thighs are resting on your calves. Make sure each foot stays firmly planted on the floor as you complete the bend. Once you are in the position with your knees bent, hold the pose for 30 seconds, and then rise in a controlled movement. Repeat the squat until you are exhausted. While squatting, you should be able to feel a gentle stretch in your tendons, quadriceps and hamstrings.
This exercise challenges the gluteal muscles that are part of your backside. Like the previous exercise, it should make your hips more flexible, but it also stretches your back. The latter benefit could be especially important if you sit frequently throughout the day and don’t have the best posture.
To start this exercise, lie on your back with your knees bent so your feet are resting flat on the floor. Keep your hands at your sides and your head on the floor. While maintaining that position, raise your hips off the floor as high as possible. When you reach your uppermost point, contract your gluteal muscles, and hold the position for three seconds. Slowly lower your body so it returns to the starting position, and do at least 10 repetitions. Keep in mind that some people tend to put pressure on their necks when they are trying to raise their hips. Avoid doing that, because it could cause pain. Instead, let your shoulders bear all the weight.
If you sit for prolonged periods most days, you probably have tight hamstrings. The good news is, this simple stretch can restore flexibility. Even better, you can do it either sitting or standing. Once you have decided whether you want to stand or sit for this stretch, get into the chosen position. Then, prop one foot on a high surface and make sure the placement is secure. Next, bend at your hips and get as close to touching your toes as possible. Hold your bent position for 30 seconds to one minute before rising. Also, try not to feel too discouraged if you can’t get close to reaching your toes yet. By doing this workout routine, you’re already on a good path to fitness, and your flexibility level will improve steadily over time.
As the name suggests, this movement is a workout for your calves. Stand comfortably with your feet a few inches apart. Then rise so your heels are off the floor. As you get to the highest point of your movement, squeeze your calf muscles, and then lower your heels until they are on the floor again. Keep doing the calf raises until your muscles are too fatigued to continue. When you start feeling confident about this exercise and think you need to try something harder, do the calf raises while standing on one leg, and then switch sides.
The Elbow Plank
This plank-position exercise will strengthen your core muscles, along with your glutes and shoulders. Hold your body off the floor as if you were doing a standard push-up, but bend your elbows so your forearms rest on the floor. Hold the position for as long as you can. Ideally, you should aim to stay in the position for a maximum time of three minutes. When your muscles start to get tired, you’ll find your hips start sinking. However, keeping your glute muscles contracted helps prevent that from happening. If possible, get someone to keep an eye on your position and ensure your body remains in a straight line from your head to your heels. Using a timer can be encouraging because it can help you verify you’re steadily able to hold the plank position for longer duration’s as you keep practicing.
Since you start from the push-up position when doing elbow planks, this final exercise should be simple. In fact, you probably started doing push-ups years ago during physical education classes in grade school, so just consider this a refresher. Get into the push-up position by going onto your hands and knees. Stretch your legs out straight and support yourself on the balls of you
r feet. Your hands should be shoulder-width apart. Lower your body down until it nearly touches the floor and then come back up. Continue doing push-ups until you are too fatigued to go on. You should get a workout in your arms and shoulders, plus your chest.
As your push-ups improve, experiment with putting your hands at various distances apart. If your hands are moved closer together than what was instructed above, you’ll get a harder workout for your triceps. Alternatively, moving your hands further from each other makes the exercise more challenging for your shoulder muscles. For another variation, put your feet up on a chair. That will make the push-ups harder to perform though, so just give that a try once you’re feeling confident in your abilities.
Hopefully, these exercise descriptions have proven anyone can start getting fitter without going to a gym or using equipment. If you stick to these exercises, you should start to notice gains that make you want to continue.