If getting to the gym is preventing you from working out, forget the gym and workout anyway! If you don’t want to exercise outdoors, get sweaty right in your living room, no fancy gym equipment required. Your own body weight easily provides all the strength training you need. And, exercise can help you reduce pain and get back to your life. Here are a few of the best ways to develop a home exercise program as a pain patient.
1. Turn your own neighborhood into Muscle Beach
Have you ever been to the famed original Muscle Beach in Santa Monica where parallel bars, rings, and other oceanside gymnastic equipment has been attracting gymnasts and body builders for decades?
If your city doesn’t quite have its own muscle beach, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create your own. Warm up by taking a jog to your neighborhood park where a workout could transition into pushups and lunges, perhaps using playground equipment to practice pull-ups.
2. Just dance
This one might be for the ladies, but gentlemen, feel free to give it a try. Turn on your favorite upbeat tunes for the most fun home exercise program—using YouTube videos or streaming music from Spotify if you don’t have much of a collection—and just dance. Jump up and down, shake those hips, and let it all go. You’re never too old or too young to have fun and dance.
Dance for five minutes, ten minutes, or longer, depending on how you feel. This is not only a great workout, but also a great stress reliever. Have fun!
3. Internet home workouts
Thanks to Internet-accessible cell phones, tablets, and laptop computers, you can access the world’s top trainers anywhere to create the best home exercise program. On YouTube, you’ll find a range of free workout videos that range from dance to cardio to strength building.
Other video workout sites include Grokker.com, which also offers free exercise videos, although signing up is required. Paid options include CodyApp, through which you can buy online streaming workouts and gain access to them for life. Choose from videos focusing on weight loss, strength building, yoga, or functional fitness and access them from your cell phone or computer any place that has Internet access.
4. Build muscle using body weight
Using the body’s own weight during a strength building circuit is an easy, fun way to stay fit. Feel free to get creative, using the stairs to assist with pushups, or doing lunges in your backyard or living room. Here’s a sample home exercise program you can try.
Why buy expensive fitness equipment when one of the best ways to exercise is to use your own body weight? Pushups are a perfect example of this. If you aren’t able to do a full one, try bending the knees and placing them on the floor to provide added support, or try the stair push-up mentioned earlier.
A great core strengthener and fitness move is plank pose. This shape resembles the top of a pushup. Keep the hands underneath the shoulders, legs extended behind you, toes tucked under to support the legs. Distribute pressure evenly through the hands, making sure not to dump all the weight into the wrists. Engage the abdomen, tucking the pelvis slightly to keep the body in a straight line.
Stay here for 30 seconds to three minutes. To modify this pose, rest on the forearms instead of using straight arms.
Another good exercise to strengthen the outer leg and hips is leg lifts. Come into all fours, hands under shoulders and knees under hips. Stretch the left leg straight behind you until it’s in line with the rest of the body. Hold for a breath or two before releasing and switching to the opposite leg.
To increase the strength-building aspect of this move, lift the alternate arm along with the leg—so you would extend the right arm with the left leg and vice versa—extending both limbs in a straight line with the body before lowering to the floor. Repeat ten times.
Next, work the legs and glutes with a wall squat or yoga’s chair pose. For people with limited strength and mobility, it is best to use a wall.
Stand a few feet away from the wall, and press your sit bones back. Use the leverage of your glutes against the wall to lean your back flat against it. Step your feet a few more inches out until your knees are in line with your ankles. Lower down to make the thighs as parallel to the floor as possible. Stay here for a few breaths, as long as you can, and then gently walk your feet back towards the wall and come out of the pose.
For chair pose, start from standing. Inhale, lift your arms up as you bend your knees, sticking the sit bones out behind you. Lower down as much as feels comfortable, keeping your heart open and arms reaching in one strong straight line towards the sky. Stay here for a few breaths and release. Repeat if desired.
Find a step, bench, or other elevated surface. Standing with your back facing the step, bend the knees until the hands are able to grasp the edge. Keep the fingers facing forward, bend the elbows to 90 degrees, keeping a line that extends straight back from the shoulders, not allowing the elbows to cave in or splay out.
Lower down, allowing the triceps to take the weight, before lifting back up to starting position. Repeat ten times.
Jumping jacks or rope
You might not have done jumping jacks since high school physical education, but they’re still one of the best ways to get your heart pumping. Be sure to wear supportive shoes and go for it. Start with the feet together and hands by the sides, then in a jump, spread the feet apart and lift the hands up high. Jumping again, come back to center and repeat 10 or 20 times.
To spice up your jumping, you may also opt for a jump rope. This works your heart and lungs along with your muscle coordination, giving the brain a workout, too.
This one works the abs and core. Coming onto the back, bend the knees so they rise directly above the hips. Bend the arms and rest the hands onto the back of the head.
Extend the right leg straight keeping it off the ground, twisting the torso and gently lifting the abdomen, pressing the right elbow toward the bent left knee. Switch to the other side, extending the left leg as you bring the right leg back in, rotating the arm position.
Repeat the bicycle for one to three minutes, taking your time to breathe and support the body with core muscles. Hold the head gently and without pressure, using the abdominal muscles to curl up instead of the head.
5. Use your own household objects
If you’re looking to turn your home into a fitness wonderland without spending a lot of money, it’s completely possible with a little creativity. Everyday objects that you might never have imagined could be used to build strength and flexibility hold the key to your greater health and well-being. Once you learn how to view everyday, home objects as tools for enhanced fitness, you’ll likely see potential everywhere you look. No one said a home exercise program had to be expensive!
Canned beans or soups effortlessly become light weights, perfect for building biceps and triceps. It may feel funny at first to grip such a wide object, but you’ll soon grow accustomed to it. The small weight is perfect for those just starting to build strength.
Stairs provide such a sweat-inducing workout that even gyms have stair-masters. Why pay for an expensive fitness membership when you likely have stairs right in your own home?
The easiest way to work out with stairs is to simply run or walk up and down them multiple times. The recommended number of intervals varies depending on the number of stairs and your level of physical health. Try continuing until you feel sweaty, or at the very least, like you’ve physically exerted yourself.
Another stair exercise features a modified pushup. Come into the top of a push up, placing your hands on the edge of a stair close to the floor and extend your legs, tucking your toes under. From here, do as many pushups as possible. The incline dilutes the effects of gravity, making it easier for you.
Scarf or tie
If you’re getting started with yoga, you will find a belt or towel handy to substitute as a strap. Straps are essential for beginners, helping to make poses more accessible.
Starting an online yoga class and hearing the instructor mention that you’ll need a strap could be a buzzkill for your fledgling effort to practice. Instead, use a belt, tie, or even a scarf, anything you can wrap around your body and grab onto.
Another prop commonly used in yoga are blocks. Blocks are typically placed on the ground, elevating it and making it easier to reach in some postures. Not having a block could affect your ability to do a full practice, but books will save the day.
Stack a few to reach a good height—this may take some experimentation—and practice away. The stack of books may not be as mobile as a block, but it will do the trick just as well.
Yet another easy-to-find home item, this is another great yoga prop. Blankets can be used for restorative yoga poses or yin postures that are held for long periods of time. If you’ve never tried this type of practice, it’s wonderful for reducing stress and anxiety and cultivating deeper feelings of self-love and peace.
Thick and thin blankets both have their place. A thick blanket is a great substitute for a bolster, a prop that’s generally used to drape the torso over in, for example, forward folds. Meanwhile, a thin blanket is great for rolling up and placing underneath the shoulder blades to support the back in a passive backbend. It also makes a great cushion to sit on during meditation.
6. Go to bed
The best thing about body weight fitness is that you can do it from bed at home. Getting your blood flowing while still warm under the covers is a great way to start the morning. First, wake up all the joints by rolling your wrists in one direction, and then the other. Then, move to the ankles, rolling them in both directions five or six times each way.
To work the stomach, lie on your back and bend one leg, pressing the knee into the belly. Gently extend the leg to meet the other at the starting position. Then alternate, bending the opposite knee and bringing it knee into the belly. Continue like this in a crawl motion, possibly placing your hands under the small of your back for added support.
Get started with your home exercise program
Before starting any home exercise program, it’s important to talk to your pain doctor. They’ll help you avoid any exercises that could cause more pain, and can suggest exercises that can help.
A home exercise program doesn’t need to litter your house with unnecessary equipment. And, it doesn’t have to be expensive. You can create a quick adaptable home exercise program that fits your lifestyle. Hit the comments now to share any of your advice for creating a home exercise program as a pain patient.