Fitness

Mind and body - Fitness starts at home

Push-ups: A wonderful exercise that shapes the upper body. Photo: S. Ramesh Kurup  

You must incorporate strength exercises to keep fit. Once you start including strength training exercises into your workout, you are less likely to suffer from bone injuries or fractures. Conditions such as osteoporosis and back pain can also be prevented or reduced with regular strength training exercises.

You might not like working out at a gym for various reasons — distance, convenience, the time factor, loud music, overcrowded workout floors, and so on. The fact is, you can get into great shape without ever stepping foot into a gym.

Here are seven simple home exercises (all repeated to 16 counts) to work your whole body.

Workout Basics

Schedule your workout

Treat your home workout like a regular appointment. Pencil in your workout in your daily planner, otherwise you'll always find excuses to dodge your exercise session.

Tell your family this is your time off

This is not the time to help around household chores. Make it a rule — this is your time and space to look and feel good.

Switch on music that you enjoy

Music makes workouts more enjoyable and you don't realise how time slips by.

Home equipment

Two dumbbells or two water bottles (500 ml each)

A mat or carpet

A step or chair

Exercises

Push-Ups

A wonderful exercise that shapes the upper body.

Benefit: Strengthens the chest, shoulder and arms.

Place your hands on the floor under your shoulders (keeping them wider than shoulder-width apart) and keep your back straight. Bend your elbows as you bring your chest closer towards the floor and then return to starting position.

Calf Raise

Persevere with this exercise, because this is one of the quickest and most effective ways to tone the calves. In a month, you will see the difference.

Benefit: Shapes and strengthens calf muscles.

Stand tall, with shoulders back and chest lifted. Stand on a step. Come up on your toes and, balancing on the balls of your feet, lift your heels as high as possible. Slowly lower your heels.

Butt Bridge

This exercise targets the muscles of the hips, giving them a firmer and more sculpted appearance.

Benefit: Tones and strengthens buttocks and back of the thighs.

Lie on mat, feet shoulder-width apart. Contract your buttocks and slowly lift them off the floor. Gently lower your buttocks back onto mat.

Abdominal Crunch

Though this is a basic abdominal exercise, it is very effective. Concentrate on good form and be careful to avoid stress to the neck region, especially as you lift your shoulders off the floor.

Benefit: Tones and tightens abdominal muscles.

Lie on your back with your hands placed behind your head. Bend knees, with feet shoulder-width apart. Lift your shoulders slowly and feel your abdominal muscles contract. Slowly lower shoulders. Breathe out as you lift, breathe in as you lower.

Training Tip : As you come up, use hands only to support your head and not to tilt your chin towards your chest. You can also increase challenge by raising legs and bending knees to a 90-degree angle.

Reverse Curl

A great exercise addition to the basic crunch. The reverse curl places no stress on the neck or shoulders as they are resting on the mat. This exercise targets the same abdominal muscle as the abs crunch; but here you initiate the movement from the lower part of the abs.

Benefit: Tones and shapes the abs

Lie on your back with your hands by your side, palms facing down. Gently lift your legs off the floor, with knees slightly bent. Tilt your pelvis and slowly bring your legs towards you and return to start position.

Oblique Crunch

Aim to get the shoulder as close as possible to your knee. The closer you get, the better it is for your waist.

Benefit: Works the waist muscles.

Lie on your back, with knees bent and feet shoulder-width apart. Place your arms behind your head, raise your shoulders and twist, bringing the left shoulder towards the right knee. Then, twist to the other side, bringing the right shoulder to the left knee.

Back Extension

This exercise concentrates on strengthening your back, improving posture and body alignment. While doing this movement, keep your eyes focussed on the mat.

Benefit: Strengthens back muscles.

Lie on your stomach. Keep elbows bent, forearms on the mat. Slowly lift shoulders and chest off the floor and then lower.

Training Tip: Keep the head, neck and spine aligned while lifting. Do not strain neck muscles by lifting and tilting the neck backwards.

The writer is a certified Clinical Exercise Specialist, Lifestyle and Weight Management Specialist.

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Printable version | Mar 8, 2021 1:40:50 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/fitness/Mind-and-body-Fitness-starts-at-home/article15686926.ece

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