Updated: March 25, 2020
Between work, family and everything else going on, how can you find the time to exercise? We know it can be challenging — and we want to help! If you want to try some at-home exercises, we’ve got good news: You can do an entire workout from the comfort of your own home. Try one (or a few!) of these bodyweight workout moves to add more activity into your day and get your heart rate pumping, no fancy equipment needed. Once you get into the habit of working out, fitting in a few reps will feel like second nature. Let’s get started with these 9 simple exercises to do at home!
Remember to always consult your physician before starting a new exercise program.
Photo by PeopleImages on iStock
#1. Morning stretches
Just as you get out of bed in the morning, take 15 minutes to breathe deeply, stretch and try these yoga poses for beginners.
Why we love this exercise: Positions like downward facing dog, warrior 1 and warrior 2 focus on improving balance and flexibility while strengthening your leg muscles and your core.
Photo by Bruno Nascimento on Unsplash
#2. Take the stairs
Turn on your favorite song and walk or jog up and down your stairs until the song ends. Step in time to the beat, or take the stairs at your own pace and use the handrail — no need to rush!
Why we love this exercise: Climbing stairs is great for strengthening muscles--especially the glutes-- and joints and is an effective cardio workout.1
#3. Commercial break wall sits
While watching your favorite TV show, squeeze in exercise during the commercial breaks. Instead of sitting on the couch, do a wall sit! Stand with your back against the wall and slowly lower yourself into a seated position, with a 90-degree bend in your knees. Keep your back straight and flat against the wall during commercials. Start with a 20-second wall sit, then gradually work your way up to a minute. If you would prefer to do a plank, position your arms shoulder width apart and squeeze your glutes and core to maintain a straight spine.
Why we love this exercise: Get ready to feel the burn — in your thighs, calves, hips and lower abs, that is.2
Photo by laflor on iStock
#4. At-home circuit training
To try your own circuit training workout, you’ll decide on a few exercise “stations,” where you’ll do a different movement each time. Once you finish an exercise, you’ll move onto the next one, without taking a break in between.3 Some at-home exercises you can include in your circuit include squats, push-ups, lunges, crunches, and planks. Build on several reps of each exercise for a complete circuit.
Why we love this exercise: If you’re tired of repeating the same old workouts, circuit training is a quick way to add more variety to your day. Depending on which exercises you choose, you’ll work multiple muscle groups for a more well-rounded at-home workout.
#5. Chair dips
Want to tone your upper body and arms without hitting the weight-lifting machines or dumbbells at the gym? Try chair dips to target your triceps. Grab a sturdy chair in your home and make sure it won’t slide out from under you when performing the exercise. Keeping your feet flat on the floor, place your hands on the edge of the chair and bend your elbows 90 degrees to lower yourself toward the ground. Push yourself back up, being careful not to lock your elbows when straightening your arms. Do several reps to sculpt your arms into shape.
Why we love this exercise: Chair dips also work muscles in your shoulders, chest and back, making it an awesome upper-body move.4
#6. Jump rope
Dust off your jump rope for a super cardio exercise you can do at home or in your garage. Can’t remember any of your old, favorite jump-rope rhymes? You can blast a mix of heart-pumping workout songs and get jumping for a fun workout. Don’t have a rope? No problem! You can pretend to jump with an imaginary one to get the same cardio blast. Jump side to side, forward and back or simply up and down.
Why we love this exercise: Jumping rope can help to strengthen lower leg muscles and increase their elasticity, which could reduce your risk of lower-leg injuries, according to the American Council on Exercise.5
#7. Ab work: Ride a bike or climb a mountain
Mountain climbers target your core and can be done anywhere in your home. While in plank position, bring one knee up to your chest and then switch legs, as if you were running up the side of a mountain. Bicycle crunches also tone your core. Lying flat on your back, bring each knee up in a bicycle pedaling motion. Alternate touching your elbow to the opposite knee, crunching and twisting your abdominal muscles. Repeat these exercises for a solid core workout.
Why we love these exercises: A strong core helps to support several areas of your body, not just your abs. Check out these 8 core-strengthening moves.
#8. Take standing and walking breaks
Working from home? Don’t get stuck sitting down all day! Pace during phone calls, stand up while checking your emails and take a couple laps around the house during lunch.
Why we love these exercises: Even if you’re not breaking a sweat, any movement you can fit into your day still counts! Making small adjustments to your daily activity level can help you ease into exercise without disrupting your schedule.
#9. Fitness game night
Did you know that technology can help you get fit? Many of today's popular video games will get you off the couch and on your way to a workout, where you can try martial arts, biking and even dancing. Get your family in on the fun by trying a multiplayer game and see who can get the best score!
Why we love this exercise: Gamifying your exercise routine can turn physical fitness into a fun activity. And if you don’t have an exercise-focused video game, that’s OK! Wearing a fitness tracker to count your steps is a simpler way to help you visualize your efforts.
Don't let a busy schedule stop you from getting more active and reaching your weight loss goals. By creating an at-home workout routine, you can stay on track and continue working towards a healthier you, all while getting more active.
Exercise is just one part of healthy weight loss: You’ll also want to eat a healthy, balanced diet to fuel up after a great workout! Chat online with a Jenny Craig weight loss coach to get started today.
Briana is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Personal Trainer for Jenny Craig, based in Carlsbad, California. She is passionate about utilizing food as functional and preventative medicine. Guided by a simplistic and optimistic approach, Briana’s philosophy is to help people improve their health and achieve their goals through the development of sustainable habits to live a healthy life. In her free time, you can find her strength training, indoor cycling, coffee tasting, and at local eateries with her husband and two dogs.
Favorite healthy snack: peanut butter with celery alongside a grapefruit-flavored sparkling water (so refreshing!)
This article is based on scientific research and/or other scientific articles and was written by an experienced health and lifestyle contributor and reviewed by certified professionals.
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