Exercise at home

Follow this simple do-it-yourself plan to exercise your way to fitness at home

Couple exercisingWhether you are a busy executive living out of a suitcase, a mother of little ones who just can't get away, a college student who just never gets the time, or just tired of waiting in a queue for the machines in a gym, here's a do-it-yourself plan. So cut the excuses and get going!

Tools

Exercise clothes: Always choose exercise clothes that fit well, no matter what your shape is or where you are working out. This will help you look at your body for what it is, which will be further motivation to make it better. Choose clothes made of cotton or spandex, which will allows skin to breathe.

Exercise shoes: Wherever you work out, you must wear exercise shoes and socks. The sole of the shoe should be flexible and easy to bend after wearing and should allow enough toe moving space once you have tied on the laces.

Your body: Yes u can do a full body workout using just your body weight.

Good music: Since you are working out in your room you get to be your own dj! However avoid choosing music that is too fast paced, as your body starts unconsciously moving to the beat and you tend to go faster than necessary.

Mattress: a mattress will not allow your feet to slip and will give you appropriate back support while doing your ab crunches i.e. stomach exercises. So a good mattress is a must.

Getting started

A warm up that lasts 3-5 minutes before any kind of exercise is a must. It prepares the muscles for exercise by making the blood circulate through the body and to the muscles, raises the body temperature and make the muscles more pliable and hence lessens the chance of injury.

Marching or jogging on the spot, taking a walk, dancing or just riding a stationary bike at a reasonable speed for five minutes is a good warm up.

Go

Wall push up: This is an exercise that will help to firm and tone the chest muscles, do 10-15 reps of this exercise if you are a beginner and you can go up to 20 reps as you advance.

Trainers tip: Your arms should be spread wider than your shoulders and at chest level. Push forward using your chest muscle, not your arms. Do the exercise slowly for best results. Stretch once you finish the set.

Scissors: This exercise helps to work, shape and tone the entire upper arm. Start with about one set of 15- 20 reps and you can go up to 2-3 sets of 15-20 as you advance.

Trainers tip: As you advance, reduce the number of sets to only one set and tie ankle weights to your palm [not wrist] to really feel the burn.

Triceps dips: This exercise helps to work the triceps, i.e. the back of your upper arms, by using just your body weight. Start with about 10 reps, as this is a tough exercise, and go up to maximum 20 reps.

Trainers tip: Never bend your shoulders or back while doing this exercise, instead support the body weight on the triceps using the triceps to push the body up. If you cannot do beyond 10 reps at a go, break up the set into 2 sets of 10. Stretch the triceps well at the end of the exercise.

Squats: This is an excellent exercise to tone and shape the thighs [especially the inner thigh] and butt. Do 20-30 reps and as many as 3–4 sets with enough rest in between sets and then stretch the thigh.

Trainers tip: A perfect squat is done with the butt thrust out and one in which the knees do not cross the toes. If the knees go beyond the toes you will injure the knees. Do this exercise standing on the exercise mat to prevent the feet from slipping.

Lying side leg raise: An equally great exercise to tone and shape the thighs [especially the inner thigh] and butt, good for anyone who has a knee problem/knee pain and cannot do squats! Lie on your side keeping your body in a straight line. Lift and lower your leg at an even pace without touching the other leg. Do 20-30 reps and as many as 3–4 sets with enough rest between sets and then stretch the thigh.

Doggy kick: This is an exercise for the hamstrings [back of the thigh] and butt. Start with a set of 20 counts and going up to three sets as you advance. Stretch by lying on the back and hugging the knees to the chest.

Trainers tip: This exercise should be done with the back straight and not arched or you end up feeling more pressure on the lower back than the hamstring.

Ab crunches: This will help you tone your upper abs and lose a few inches too [provided you supplement it with a good diet of course!].Start with 20 reps and go up to three sets of 20 with 30 second rests between sets.

Trainers tip: Lift yourself off the floor with your upper back and not your arms. Don't let the chin and chest touch.

Once you have finished working the entire body, cool down by doing all the stretches again, this will help bring your heart rate and body temperature back to normal followed by the "shavasan" i.e. just lie down immobile on the floor breathing deeply for five whole minutes.

Working out alone requires a lot of dedication and self-motivation, maintaining an exercise diary will help, as it will not allow you to slip up or give up. You must have clear goals in your mind and stick to your routine. So get started and don't forget to have fun!

You can do this work out on three alternate days of a week, always warm up before your workout and stretch after you have finished each set.

Workout Plan

Warm up WEEK 1 WEEK 2 WEEK 3
Wall push up 20 x 1 15 x 2 15 x 3
Scissors 20 x 1 20 x 2 20 x 3
Tricep Dips 10 x 1 10 x 2 10 x 3
Squats/Lyting thigh 20 x 2 25 x 3 30 x 3
Doggy Kicks 20 x 2 25 x 3 30 x 3
Basic Crunch 20 x 2 25 x 3 30 x 3

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Samreedhi Goel
Samreedhi Goel is a Nutritionist and Personal trainer & fitness columnist who has been a part of the fitness industry since 1999. She has helped hundreds of people shape up, lose weight, achieve the body of their dreams, become fitter and healthier individuals and overcome chronic health problems through her fitness studio Size Wise.Her fitness columns and interviews appear on a regular basis in prestigious publications like Complete Wellbeing, Sunday Midday, Rediff.com, Seventeen India, Mumbai.

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