Easy Exercises for Amateurs and Couch Potatoes
If you’re like me, you do not like to work out. I have some friends who look like bodybuilders, and they seem to genuinely look forward to going to the gym every day. Not me; those few times I’ve had a gym membership, I loathed going, and made every excuse I could not to before eventually cancelling. At the end of the day, I had a hard time motivating myself to keep going, and my weight and health has suffered for it. But that might be because I tried to do too much too fast. I’d go from a few weeks of hard weightlifting and several miles of running on the treadmill to doing mostly nothing for months or years. If your workout routine is something that you hate to do, then you will find ways of avoiding it. Instead of launching into a crazy routine to try to lose a lot of weight, it might be a better idea for you to find lighter workouts, less strenuous ways to exercise. If it’s not something that you dread, then you’re more likely to keep with it, and all of the incremental progress counts. Eventually, these lighter exercises might get you to a point that you actually enjoy the activity, and then you can start to intensify your routine. Here are a some lighter, easier exercises that you can start with.
Doing some aerobic exercise every day is extremely important for your long term health. Aerobic exercise gets your heart rate going, which boosts your cardiovascular health, leading to a healthier heart and better blood pressure. Aerobic exercises also will burn lots of calories, since you get a lot of your body into the action, and targets weight loss around your core, where dangerous belly fat accumulates.
Believe it or not, simply walking more will give you some great benefits if you live a sedentary lifestyle. Getting exercise at all just means moving your muscles around and utilizing the energy in your body so it doesn’t stagnate. If you’re already pretty far gone into obesity, try going for a walk every day, unaided, to start the path towards healthiness. Adding more walking into your day will help at nearly all weights, though; three half hours of hardcore working out a week can be pretty effectively cancelled out by sitting at a desk or on a couch the rest of the time. Regularly walking will keep your body in calorie burning mode.
Driving past those motivated individuals chugging away on the side of the road, you might wish that you had the gumption to be the same. The thing is, going for a jog doesn’t need to be a 10k every day. It’s great if it is, but if you just go for a jog around your block and back, you’re still burning calories. If you like running but get exhausted every time you go, try starting really small, and widening your scope every time you jog. You might find distances previously unattainable to get easier and easier.
A nice form of aerobic exercise you can do by yourself in your living room with no materials or preparation, jumping jacks are the perfect burst energy exercise. Think about tossing some jumping jacks into your day into spots when you won’t mind them. Do a few jumping jacks in between commercials, or after you’ve been working on a project for hours and need a break; your heart will thank you.
Not everyone has access to somewhere to swim, but if you do, take advantage of that. Swimming is one of the most effective forms of aerobic exercise when it comes to losing weight, since you get your whole body into the movements every time, and beyond that, for many of us, swimming is just plain fun. Check out if your town has a public pool or, if you live in warmer climates, see if there are any safe local water holes.
Strength training doesn’t necessarily mean lifting weights or using a workout machine. Especially when starting out, you’re likely to get just as much benefit from using the weight of your own body as you are from a gym’s accoutrements. Plus, if you’ve convinced yourself not to workout before because it was raining or another such excuse, you can never make excuses when the only weight you need is your own body.
The push-up is pretty simple, but it’s easy to mess up, too. Lie down on the ground, then prop yourself up with your hands. Lower your upper body to the floor, bending your arms at the elbows, then push yourself back up. The most important thing to remember is not to cheat; you have to keep your body completely straight while you push up and down. It mostly will tone your arms and shoulders.
The plank takes much the same form as the push-up, but instead of working your arms and shoulders, the plank works on your core. Prop yourself up like you would for a push-up, but hold yourself on your forearms instead of your hands. Lower yourself like you’re doing a push-up, and hold yourself there as long as you can. Like the push-up, you have to stay totally straight.
When you’re doing a squat, it’s pretty much like you’re sitting in an invisible chair, and then standing up again. If you have trouble doing on your own at first, that’s ok; you can have a hand on something nearby for support. Try not to lean forward at all, and keep your spine totally straight. The squats will work your gluts and thighs.
Lunges are exactly what they sound like. Stand with one foot a running stride ahead of the other, and then lunge forward, putting your weight on the forward foot, holding for a few seconds before coming back to neutral. Don’t move either foot when you’re doing this, and make sure that you keep your back straight. The lunges will work out your thighs, hamstrings, and calves.