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While many of us prefer heading to the fitness center or gym for our exercise, it’s not an option for everyone. Lack of cash or lack of time can make it hard to keep that commitment. But don’t worry – we’ve got the solution for you!
You don’t need expensive gym memberships or fancy equipment to get a good workout – you can get all the cardio and strength training you need right in your own home, using items you have around the house!
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You know, exercise doesn’t have to feel like a chore – high intensity dancing can be a really good aerobic workout – and it’s fun! Just put on some of your favorite high octane dance music and cut the rug for 20 to 30 minutes.
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Yoga is one of those exercises that can really benefit you no matter where you do it. All you need is a large towel or a yoga mat to take advantage of yoga’s stress reducing and body toning benefits.
If you’ve been taking yoga classes, you may already know a routine to do at home – if not, there are DVD’s and online videos that can help you get started.
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3. Hula Hooping
This is another choice that’s so much fun it doesn’t seem like exercise! You might be surprised to learn that 30 minutes of hula-hooping can burn up to 200 calories!
What’s more, it works your entire core – and when you’re done, just toss your “hoop” under the bed until tomorrow.
4. Jumping Jacks
You’ve been doing them since grade school, and they’re just as effective now as they were then.
Fit jumping jacks in any time you’ve got a few minutes to spare, like during the commercials of your favorite show, or while you’re waiting for the microwave to finish popping your popcorn!
5. Jogging In Place
This is a favorite of mine – I stand and jog in place while watching my favorite TV show. It’s a great cardio workout, and the time passes quickly while you’re distracted with something else.
If you’re looking to tone your thighs and butt, you can’t beat squats. Stand with your legs shoulder width apart, and squat down like you’re trying to sit on a chair. Lower yourself until your thighs are perpendicular to the floor, then raise yourself back up to stand. 8-12 repetitions per leg will get your legs looking trim and tight in no time.
You can increase the intensity of basic squats by holding onto milk jugs, soup cans or other weighted items. Add variety to your squats by raising one foot up on a step while squatting, making sure to keep your weight evenly distributed. You can also go hardcore by resting one ankle on the opposite knee to try one-leg squats.
7. Climbing Stairs
You can get a great cardio workout by using the stairs. In fact, it only takes 13 minutes of running up and down stairs to lower cholesterol and improve heart health, according to the American Council on Exercise.
You can add variety to your stair climbs by alternating walking, running and taking two steps at a time. But be sure that you always place your whole foot on the step and avoid lunging forward if you want to prevent any injuries to the back, hips, knees and ankle. It’s also important to stand up straight and keep your knees aligned over the ankles. Don’t cheat yourself by pulling up on the railing! If you can’t manage the 13 minutes, try doing five minutes 3 times a day, and build up to longer periods.
8. Water Bottle Weights
Need to tone your arms and shoulders? Water bottles make a great substitute for free weights. You can adjust the amount of water to get a weight that feels comfortable for you while still providing enough resistance. Use milk jugs if water bottles are too light.
Combine water bottle weights with lunges or squats, and you’ll really increase the intensity of those exercises.
Don’t worry – we haven’t forgotten your abdominals! One of the best workouts for a flat, toned stomach is the crunch, and they’re easy-peasy to do at home. You don’t have to sit up completely – just raise your chest enough to feel the muscles in your abdomen tighten.
Zumba is as easy to do at home as popping a DVD into the player! It combines dance moves with a real workout that will tone your legs, arms and butt. And it’s just as effective done at home as it is done at the gym.
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