Importance of Exercise
In the era of Ola and Uber, people are becoming increasingly obsessed with travelling only in a vehicle and walking on foot is considered to be a waste of time. Nearly 50 years ago, when owning an automobile was a luxury available only to a few, cycling or walking were the most popular options for travelling short distances. But in today’s fast paced world, people have time for everything except their health. In the rat race, we don’t even realise the toll our body is taking due to sitting continuously for long hours and not devoting any time to exercise. To add fuel to fire, other factors like stress, pollution, drinking and smoking, etc. are only making the situation worse.
Considering these factors and consumption of fast food in the fast paced world, it becomes all the more important to take out time from your schedule for exercising. Even if you can’t join Yoga classes or a health club, you can still do a few exercises at home with just your body weight.
Why Exercise at Home
You pretty well know the answer if you have joined a gym before and left it after sometime. And if you don’t, then the simple reason to exercise at home is that you won’t be able to give an excuse to yourself about not having the time to go to a gym or a park. You don’t have to wear fancy sports gear and you can do pretty simple exercises at home in your shorts or boxers.
Exercising at Home for Beginners
If you are a beginner, starting with easy-to-do exercises for a few minutes every day is advisable. Most of the exercises can be done without any special equipment and for a few of them you may need simple equipment like a small bench, a skipping rope or a pair of light dumbbells.
Choosing the Right Place
Try to fix your exercise schedule early in the morning. Choose an airy, well-lit place, and open the windows to let some fresh air in. You would need an area which is adequate to easily move your body parts and if you have space constraint at home, then you can move that small piece of furniture, capture your balcony or even choose the roof of your house.
Start with Stretching Exercise
The thumb rule before starting the main exercise routine, is to start with stretching. While exercising if the body is stiff, then it will be prone to muscle and nerve injuries; hence, it’s important to stretch, twist and turn your body a few times within your comfort limits before you move on to the main workout.
Exercise at Home for Beginners – Men
The exercises mentioned below are our top picks for the men at home who are beginners. These are easy-to-do activities and would show visible results if you can practice them for 15-20 minutes at home regularly.
Also known as press-ups, this is an effective exercise for growth and strength of multiple muscle groups including chest, arms and shoulders. This easy-to-do exercise prepares your muscles for more complex exercises in the gym like bench-pressing, shoulder-press, etc. To do this exercise, you need to get down into a push-up position and place your hands shoulder-width apart. The back should be stiff and flat while your body forms a straight line from your head to the heels. Now slowly descend your body till your chest is about an inch away from the ground and then pull back to the previous position while completely extending your arms, this completes one rep. Start with 4-5 reps per day and increase the number of reps after a week.
Simple squats help build strong calf, hamstring, ankles and buttocks and give strength to the entire lower body. To start with, stand straight with the legs shoulder-width apart. Keep the head up and shoulders straight, now inhale and slowly sit in squat position (heels touching the ground and don’t lean forward); exhale and get back up to the standing position. This completes one rep, aim for 5-10 reps initially and then increase gradually. You can also do this exercise while holding dumbbells in both the hands and the rest of the process remains the same.
Plank is an easy-to-do alternative for crunches which can help you get flat abs and a strong core as well as arms and shoulders. To start with, place forearms on the floor and get in the press-up position with your back straight and hold this position for 20 seconds to a minute. You can do 4-5 such reps depending upon your capacity; just ensure that you feel the tension in your abs. Once you are able to do simple planks perfectly, you can move to more complex planks like one leg plank, side plank, etc.
Relive the childhood memories and hold the skipping rope once again. Skipping is one exercise which you can easily do at home and get the benefits of cardio without even stepping out of your home. A study revealed that 10 minutes of skipping with a rope gives the benefit equal to a 10 minute jog. Grip the rope at both ends and use your wrists while you flick it around your body and jump to clear the rope while it hits the ground. Once you perfect the move, aim for ‘double unders’ in which the rope passes twice beneath you for every jump.
Crunches if done correctly, can give you amazing results in your abs area. Lie down flat on your back and bend your knees at 90°(you can also keep your legs straight if you are able to find something where you can stick your feet). Now push your lower back while you lift your shoulders and hands placed on either side of your head. The lower back should touch the ground at all times and tense the abs hard at the topmost point of the movement. Try 8-10 reps initially and then increase the numbers after a week.
Exercise at Home for Beginners – Women
Women, as beginners should try their hands on these exercises which are easy to perform and can be comfortably done on a yoga mat. These 5 exercises if done regularly can help you achieve strength as well as flexibility.
Front Raise to Lateral Raise
Stand up straight while keeping the distance between the feet equal to your hips and hold the dumbbells by your sides (you can use two 1 litre bottles filled with water if dumbbells are not available). Raise the dumbbells in front of you up to shoulder height while keeping the arms straight and the core stiff. Bring them down to the starting position and then repeat the process sideways. Stretch your arms while holding the weights to both sides and return to start. The entire process completes one lap; you can start with 8-10 such laps per day. This activity if done on a regular basis, results in strong arms and shoulders.
Lateral Step Out Squat
Stand straight and wrap a resistance band just below your knees (you can use an elastic in absence of a resistance band). Now grip your hands in front of your chest, take a big step towards the right, bend your knees and sit until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Ensure that your heels are touching the ground, press back to the starting position, repeat on the left side now. This completes one rep. Try 10 such reps and increase the number after a week. Lateral step out squat builds strong leg muscles and increases flexibility of the knee joints.
Get in a dog posture with knees under the hips and wrists under your shoulders. Now raise your left hand in front and your right leg behind, while you form a line from left hand to right foot. Hold for a second and then return to the starting position. Repeat the action with opposite hand and leg. Repeat the alternating for 30-60 seconds or 10 reps. This exercise strengthens the back, arms, legs and increases the flexibility in the body.
A fun-to-do exercise, toe touch increases overall flexibility and helps you get a strong core. Lie down on your back with the feet raised up while your body forms a 90° angle. Hold a dumbbell between your hands and raise it over your chest towards your toes and lift your shoulders. Now bring the lower back down to the starting position. That’s one rep. Complete 10 such reps and increase the number of reps gradually after few days.
Stand with your feet a little wider than hip width apart while your toes are pointing outwards at 45° and your upper body bent slightly forward. Hold a dumbbell with both the hands in front of you in a hanging position. Inhale while you bend your knees and go down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Exhale and get back to the start position while applying pressure on your heels. Doing this, you complete one rep. Complete 10 such reps and increase the number of reps or sets of 10 reps as per your capacity after a few days.
Exercise at Home for Beginners – Kids
Though kids don’t need any special exercise as most of the time they are physically active, playing and jumping. However, nowadays kids are increasingly getting glued to their mobile or laptop screen, which is resulting in a decrease in their physical activities. Mentioned below are few easy-to-do exercises for kids which can be practised by the little warriors at home.
For this activity, you need a low bench on which the kid has to step his right foot, then his left foot and then step down. Now repeat the action while switching the starting side with each rep. Kids would love to do this fun exercise and they can do it for 2-3 minutes. This exercise is a good cardio activity and also strengthens the lower body portion.
You can ask your kids to copy your push-up steps while you are doing this exercise. Let them do a few reps first and once they get comfortable with push-ups, they can increase the number of reps. This exercise will make their arms, shoulders and chest stronger.
Side Leg Raise
Ask your kid to lie on his side with both feet and hips stacked, forearms pillowed beneath the head or raise the head on your palm while aligning the shoulder parallel to the elbow. Now lift the topside leg straight up while keeping the foot firm and stretching the toes. Pause at the top for a few seconds before returning to the start position. This can be done 10 times before changing sides and repeating the exercise again for 10 more reps.
Children like jumping and they enjoy doing this. Now educate them about the squat jumps exercise in which they will be able to mix exercise with fun. Stand in a push-up position with feet apart (a little wider than hip width). Bend your knees and squat down till your thighs are parallel with the ground. Then jump straight up in the air, land back and quickly squat down with knees bent. Repeat this process 10 times. This exercise will help to build a strong lower back and leg muscles.
Eat Healthy and Stay Fit
While exercising at home is a no-nonsense way to stay fit, but this doesn’t allow you to start gorging on junk, oily or fast food. If you are a foodie, then limit the intake of oily, spicy and heavy meals to 1 or 2 times in a week. Never skip your breakfast or any meal including lunch and dinner. If you have the urge to eat something tasty in between, invest in an air fryer and you can fry nuts, popcorn, millet, etc., mix some salt and chaat masala and enjoy healthy snacking at home. Also, include fruits, green leafy vegetables and curd in your daily diet.
Don't Let the Lockdown Become an Excuse for Not Exercising
If you had recently started exercising and the lockdown forced you to stop your exercise routine, then let it not be an excuse for not exercising any longer. This BP Guide has shown you simple exercises for beginners which you can do at home to stay fit. We hope you would have loved this BP Guide. Stay at home, stay safe and connected with us for more such engaging content.