There’s no doubt about the fact that choosing a healthy lifestyle is popular for many people, but joining a gym or exercise class is still not at the top of everyone’s list. Whether you are on a budget, have restricted time or access, or just don’t feel comfortable in the gym environment, exercising at home or in the great outdoors is a great alternative.
It would be very easy for personal trainers to simply hand out a couple of easy at-home-workouts and tell you give them a go, but there are a few secrets for successful and sustainable ‘selfercise’ that you should know about.
HOW TO SUCCEED WHEN EXERCISING AT HOME
Before you begin, there are some important factors to consider to ensure you get the most from your new regime exercising at home.
Identify and set some specific personal goals. Do you want to gain strength, lose body fat, tone up, run a marathon, look your best at a family occasion? Small achievable goals are the best for making sure you remain on track and motivated. Don’t forget to make them realistic and commit to a time frame – writing them on your calendar or making your goals known to friends and family can also help keep you accountable.
Ask yourself how much time you can regularly commit to exercising at home each week. It might only be 15 minutes during a break from work or when you settle your toddler for a nap, but you need to be consistent with your programme. An advantage of exercising at home or in your office is you don’t have to factor in time for transport either. Just push some furniture aside to make a space (or slip out into the garden) when you get a spare half an hour. Walking to the park or beach can be the perfect warm-up for a rewarding exercise session in the fresh air too.
To fail to prepare is to prepare to fail. Arm yourself with a workout programme, including warm up, cool down and stretching – even if it’s just a scrap of paper or on your phone. This means you won’t waste precious time figuring out what exercises you are going to do next. Ideally, your programme should be relevant and tailored to your goals. If you are entering a 5k run, increase your endurance by doing some high intensity intervals. If you want to improve your strength, perform bodyweight or weighted exercises. If you’re looking for fat loss, choose an intense Tabata workout.
It’s wonderful to have the freedom to work alone with your own agenda, but always make sure you have studied the correct form for your stretches and exercises first. The ideal way to learn is to invest initially in some one-to-one sessions with a personal trainer as they can observe your movements closely and identify and correct any weaknesses and imbalances. There are also countless resources online which will illustrate proper technique and progressions for exercises. In addition, make sure your surroundings are conducive to a safe session, looking out for any hazards, and always ensure you wear suitable clothing.
You may be faced with many possible distractions when exercising at home, from inquisitive pets to enquiring passers by. Hone your concentration skills, develop some discipline and keep your eyes on the prize.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking complicated exercises are the most beneficial when it comes to fitness. A perfectly good total body workout can be made up of simple movements like star jumps, squats, lunges, bridges, flutter kicks, dips, step-ups and press ups – needing no equipment other than a safe flat surface and perhaps a step or park bench. High intensity interval training (HIIT) is another simple, time effective training method and can be performed virtually anywhere. As long as you are placing a demand on your body it will adapt to the exercise stimulus, increasing the efficiency of your internal organs, lubricating joints, preserving muscle and bone and burning body fat.
Record your distance, repetitions, times and measurements. Only by doing this will you know how you are making progress and getting nearer to accomplishing your goals.
As you start to get stronger and faster, you need to challenge your body to do more. Gradually work your way up to harder versions of exercises by changing your position against gravity, increasing your speed or weight, or reducing your rest time in between movements. Vary your workout by introducing new movements and look for portable equipment such as resistance bands or weights to take your workout to a new level.
Once you decide to commit to an exercise routine it’s easy to fall into the mistake of going mad, exercising full-on every day to achieve your goals. But, if you put in the effort, your recovery days are equally as important as your workout days. Your body needs time to repair, adapt and become the stronger healthier improved version of you!
EAT AND HYDRATE
Ensure you are eating nutritious energy-giving food and drinking plenty of water to give your body the best chance of adapting before, during and after your session.