Exercises You Can Do Anywhere
Health is important. Without it, life can be rough. But sometimes, we forget about health. And exercise is not on the list of daily priorities.
The good news is, exercise doesn’t have to be a miserable, dreaded chore. You don’t have to have a gym membership and feel guilty about never going. You don’t have to buy all kinds of crazy workout equipment you'll never use or schedule more activities to your already overloaded schedule.
You can maintain your overall health by incorporating simple exercises into your everyday life. All it takes is some creativity to get healthy (and stay healthy) for free. At any age.
Why You’ll Love This Exercise Program
Sure, a little bit of physical activity enhances the quality of life. But no pain, no gain isn’t for everyone. This exercise program is for people who are too busy to exercise.
Forget about training for the Olympics, a triathlon or even a hot dog eating contest. We just want you to feel a little better every day. All those aches and pains? Exercise can alleviate them. Maybe even make them disappear.
If you feel better, you’ll treat others a little better. And that can make the world a little better. So we all win.
1. Make Your Bed
Start your day with an accomplishment. Making your bed is not the most grueling thing you will do, but even if you don’t do anything the rest of the day, at least you can come home to a made bed. Which is nice.
To add a challenge, time yourself when you’re making your bed. Lower your time monthly, weekly, daily. Whatever pace works best for you.
2. Find a Tree
If you’ve ever read Shel Silvetstein’s "The Giving Tree," you already know the value of a tree. Well, now you can add another gift to the list since a tree branch serves as an excellent exercise bar.
Just find a solid branch, grab the branch with both your hands, lift your feet off the ground and hang. If you can straighten your legs and hang, even better. If not, bend your knees. Hanging will stretch your neck, spine and back. As you build strength, add some pull-ups. As many as you can do in a set. Do this daily. Before long, you will be pumping out pull-ups like a pro.
You might think that tree can’t hold your weight, but trees are stronger than you think. And they can make you strong. One more example of how a tree gives.
3. Carry Your Groceries
You’ve heard of the food chain. Here’s an easy way to get higher up on the food chain.
Next time, you go to the supermarket to do your grocery shopping, carry your groceries in a basket. Instead of pushing them in a shopping cart, give your arms a workout.
To increase the level of difficulty, curl your basket of food as you walk around the market. The more food you get, the bigger the burn. Alternate arms. As you progress, get a basket for each arm.
Grab a basket every time you go to the market. If you need to get a cart, walk to the market and carry your groceries home. If you can’t walk to the market, add extra grocery bag curls when you get home. If you can't get to a market, curl whatever kind of bag you have: backpack, suitcase, duffel bag, purse.
You’ll be jacked in no time.
4. Play With Your Kids
Children have a lot of energy. As a parent, just taking care of all their basic needs can wear you out. Embrace the work.
When you take them to the park, look at all of the playground equipment as workout opportunities. Do the monkey bars with them. Climb around on the jungle gym. Run around with them.
At home, they also can double as weights. Start when their babies. Use them as dumbbells to do bench presses or military presses over your head. Throw them up in the air, and catch them. Work your triceps, biceps, shoulders and pecs.
Remember, they grow up quick. Make the most of the moments when they’re young. Strengthen your bonds with your kids while you strengthen yourself. What’s better than that?
And if you don’t have kids, wait until you do. Or borrow some. Just get permission from the parents first. And please don’t drop them.
5. Do Burpees
Think of burpees as advanced, full-body push-ups. A standard burpee has five steps.
- Begin in a standing position.
- Bend your knees and drop to squat position with your hands on the ground.
- Extend into a plank, or push-up, position.
- Do a push-up.
- Hop up to your feet.
Repeat. Do as many burpees as you can come. They are great for strength training and aerobic exercise, but they are challenging. They are an exercise of choice for Navy SEAL training. If you have to start slow, begin with simple push-ups, and work your way up to burpees.
To increase the level of difficulty, time yourself. For example, do 30 burpees in 90 seconds, or as fast as you can. It might not sound like much. But you will be amazed by how quickly you can get in shape and strengthen your whole body by doing 30 burpees a day.
Good news. Walking never goes out of style.
When you're a baby, walking is one of the biggest developmental milestones, and the low-impact activity remains an effective cardio exercise throughout your lifetime.
You can burn calories by walking. The brisker the pace, the more calories you can burn.
As you grow older, you learn how to run. You don’t have to be a marathon runner or have the endurance of World Cup soccer player. Just put one foot in front of the other, at whatever pace is comfortable for you, for as long as you can.
You can run anywhere, anytime, and running is a great cardio exercise that will help you burn calories. As you get stronger, increase your pace, and run longer.
Running provides a unique opportunity to clear your head and collect your thoughts. It’s also fun to run with friends or a dog, and a wonderful way to see the world at a different speed.
8. Do Lunges
Another great exercise. The lunge focuses on the legs, and works the core. You can do lunges at home, work or walking around the block. Anywhere, really.
Do sets of as many as you can. They are great for building lower body strength and power. Keep your upper body straight, shoulders back, face relaxed, looking ahead, with an engaged core. Your hands can be on your hips. Then, step forward, lower your hips and bend your knees to about a 90-degree angle. Return to the starting position with the weight in your heels, and repeat.
The black diamond version of a walking lunge is a jumping lunge. If you want to impress friends, families and strangers, do jumping lunges walking backward.
9. Do Dips
Want to develop your upper body? Dips will work your chest, triceps and shoulders.
You can do them using your bed, a chair, a bench, a staircase or even a pair of dressers.
Find a place where you can put your hands underneath your shoulders and lower yourself, or dip. Then, push yourself back up.
Repeat, and do as many dips as you can.
10. Strengthen Your Core
The core is your center, or midsection, and includes front, back and side muscles in that area. These muscles stabilize your entire body, so make sure your core is strong.
Sit-ups help, but an effective core workout involves more than crunches. Different types of leg raises will strengthen your core to limit back pain, ensure good balance and provide fluid side-to-side rotation.
Be good to your core, and your core will be good you.
11. Jump Around
As the hip-hop group House of Pain taught us, "If you’ve got the feeling, jump across the ceiling."
Jumping jacks. Kangaroo jumps. Plyometric jumps. Jump rope. Jump rope without a rope. Jump up and touch a basketball rim. You name it. Any kind of jumping is good for the heart and will get your blood pumping.
If you have access to a trampoline, more power to you — jumping on a trampoline is great cardio exercise.
So get out your seat and jump around.
12. Take the Stairs
Stairs or elevator? Whenever possible, take the stairs.
Climbing stairs will help your legs and knees remember what they’re supposed to do.
The more action they get, the better.
The same goes for any kind of climbing.
Trees, poles, ladders, fences, walls, ropes, whatever.
Climbing keeps you young.
Grab a broom, and sweep the floor. Sweeping won’t be the toughest cardio you’ve ever done. Just a nice, simple, aerobic exercise that will keep your rooms clean and dust-free.
For bonus points, imagine the broom is a dancing partner or musical instrument, and let the good times roll. Movement is good for the body and soul.
The same holds true with a mop, vacuum or any type of house cleaning.
15. Take a Hike
The great outdoors is a great gift. Find a nice trail or nature preserve for a walk. Hike up a mountain. Go rock climbing.
There’s no shortage of activities. Nature’s playground is natural medicine for the soul. It's nice to experience with family, friends, pets or alone.
Just remember one simple rule: Respect the wild, and leave it better than you found it.
16. Jump in a Lake
Swimming isn’t just great for recreation. It’s great exercise.
Swimming can burn fat and strengthen muscles as well as provide a cardiovascular/aerobic workout.
The best part, swimming is low impact, and the lake is a natural pool.
17. Hit the Beach
The ocean provides more than just swimming opportunities. Ocean currents and waves add increased resistance. And you can body surf the waves for extra fun.
But swimming is not all the beach offers for exercise. Dig a deep hole in the sand. Use your hands as shovels. Build a nice, natural pool or hot tub or sand castle. You might get dirty, but it’s all good, clean, family fun.
If swimming or playing in the sand isn’t your bag, go for a run on the beach. Or even just walk.
It doesn’t get much more peaceful than the beach.
18. Cultivate a Garden
Plant a seed. Grow food. Feed the world. Plant flowers. Feed animals. Beautify the world. Or plant a tree. Produce oxygen. Remove carbon dioxide from the air. And help the environment.
If you don’t have your own garden, a community garden is a good option. Get your own little plot of land, and cultivate something. It’s an amazing feeling to sustain life and help it grow and develop.
On top of that, gardening is nice physical activity that gives back to the earth, which in turn benefits us humans. The circle of life.
All you need are a few minutes. Find a quiet place. Stand still. Close your eyes. Put your hands at your side, palms facing outward. And melt to the ground, bending your knees until you’re sitting on the floor, or lying down.
Then, empty your mind — free it of all the clutter. Think of nothing. Embrace the peace. Give thanks for the calm.
In these hectic times, a little quiet time for the mind can do wonders for the body and spirit.
20. Cook a Meal
Another low-impact, physical activity that is good for the soul. Working in the kitchen, preparing food, can be therapeutic.
If you like to cook, but have not been making the time, change that. If you don’t like to cook, give it a shot.
Making a meal and sharing it with loved ones is one of life's greatest joys.
Don’t forget to work out your brain. Just as your body needs physical exercise to stay healthy, so does your mind.
Reading — consuming words that make you laugh, cry, think — is the best way to work out your brain, and keep it running at optimal levels.
Take a break from your digital devices, and read something on printed paper: a book, magazine, newspaper. Digital detox is a good way to reduce stress, reconnect with the physical world and be social. The old-fashioned way.
The older you get, the tighter your muscles, tendons and ligaments get. Stretching is an important form of exercise to keep the body flexible and increase muscle control and range of motion.
When you are sitting around for long periods of time, at work or home or on the road, get up and stretch for a few minutes. From head to toe. Your body will thank you.
The body needs sleep to recharge. Healthy sleep equals a healthy heart. For growing kids, 10-12 hours of sleep a day is recommended. For adults, at least seven hours is necessary.
The recommended daily requirement is not always possible. On those days, do the best you can.
Everyone’s body is different, but it’s tough to get too much sleep. Not enough is all too common nowadays.
The key is to get as much rest as you can so you can function at your best. Life takes work.
And we got to do this all over again tomorrow.
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