‘Life gets in the way’ is the usual answer people give when asked why they cannot work out. While it is a valid reason, there is always a workaround. Even if you’re working daily eight-hour shifts, you can squeeze in a short exercise to get the body moving.
Many people relied on simple home exercises for fitness routines during the pandemic. Small bedroom spaces became makeshift workout facilities that, even with the challenge presented, nonetheless got the job done.
Gyms may be back up and running, but many folks still need more time to pay the facility a regular visit. If this applies to you, these easy yet practical home exercises should help keep you in shape.
The Main Goal of Home Exercises
The main goal is to bring the heart rate up, at the very least. It allows your body to move blood and oxygen much more efficiently, which leads to more burned calories and weight loss.
The University of Texas MD Cancer Center shared a simple formula to know the maximum heart rate depending on one’s age:
“Maximum heart rate: the highest rate your heart can obtain during activity”. To find your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220. For example, if you’re 40 years old, subtract 40 from 220 to get a maximum heart rate of 175.
“This is the maximum number of beats your heart is capable of per minute, but you should not try to exercise to this level.”
To know if you’re working at the proper level of intensity, here’s a guideline:
“If you’re working at 50 to 70% of your maximum heart rate, then that exercise is considered moderate. If you’re working at 70 to 85% of your heart rate, then it’s vigorous exercise.
“If your heart is working harder than that (above 85%), it could be dangerous, so be sure to back off or consult your doctor.”
Easy Home Exercises For the Busy Body
Home exercises mean a limited amount of space and resources. You may own a pair of dumbbells or resistance bands, but these pieces of equipment can only get you so far. But the workouts on this list can also apply to people who have nothing to work with except for a yoga mat.
Since we’re on the topic of yoga mats, why not use them well?
But first, let’s break one misconception: you don’t need top-level flexibility to practice yoga. By definition, it’s a practice that involves meditation, breathing, and movement.
Yes, many poses require core strength and balance. But yoga is for all levels, and inexperienced practitioners can work with three simple techniques: the child’s pose, downward-facing dog, and plank. Feel free to try other poses as you move up in your practice.
“It can be tempting to push your body to try a difficult pose or reach new heights in your extensions, and it’s always a wonderful thing to improve, but don’t overextend yourself.
“Listen to what your body is telling you – if the pose or stretch is painful or you feel tension in places you’re not attempting to work, ease up and try a more slow, methodical approach. It’s okay to not get it perfect the first, second, or third time.”
Likewise, people may think Pilates is some unconquerable mountain that isn’t for everyone. But just like yoga, it’s mostly about proper breathing and mindfulness through movement. The difference, however, is that Pilates involves challenging the core strength.
Some practical yet simple pilates exercises are leg raises, roll-ups, and the dreaded but appreciated planks. According to experts, the great thing about Pilates is that it complements all other workouts. Here’s the explanation of New York-based physical therapist Dr. Karena Wu.
“Pilates can enhance workouts, like distance running or high-intensity activities, since it helps to recruit deeper stabilizers and allows for better kinetic chain mobility of the limbs.”
High-Intensity Interval Training
High-Intensity Interval Training (more popularly known as HIIT) already sounds like it involves a grueling workout, and it does. You will sweat and feel your heart rate spike up, but all for the right reasons.
But don’t be daunted by the idea. Instead, take this as a form of elevating your home exercises to a level that would challenge yourself physically.
What makes HIIT stand out is the amount of workouts you can do in a short amount of time. But the Harvard School of Public Health has a much better explanation of what it is:
“It incorporates several rounds that alternate between several minutes of high-intensity movements to significantly increase the heart rate to at least 80% of one’s maximum heart rate, followed by short periods of lower-intensity activities.
“HIIT workouts can be integrated into various exercise formats, such as running (outdoors or on a treadmill), dancing, rowing machines, stationary bicycles, or stair climbers. The interval durations can be timed by using one to five-minute music tracks.”
The shortest HIIT workouts last for 20 minutes, while the longest ones take up to a full hour. But here’s what the New York Times deemed as ‘The simplest HIIT workout:’
“After a warm-up, try sprinting as fast you can for 10 seconds, then walking or resting for 50 seconds. Repeat this six times.
“That’s it; you’re on your way to mastering HIIT. As you get comfortable, try shortening the rest to 20 seconds, and then even 10.”
If you’re not a fan of sprints, feel free to switch things up with mountain climbers, jump squats, and push-ups instead. These exercises should allow you to break a sweat.
Walking around the neighborhood would be your best bet if you’re still too busy for home exercises. It provides a nice change of scenery from the monotony of your room. At the same time, you get some fresh air and, of course, exercise.
Just like with Pilates, taking regular walks affects all other aspects of physical health. But in this case, it keeps your body in constant motion, which can then encourage you not to be stagnant.
“Our bodies are not meant to be sedentary all day,” certified personal trainer Marisa Golan said.
“Any type of movement is better than no movement, and being able to find a type of movement best suited for your age and fitness level is super important so you feel empowered and motivated to stick with it.”
30-minute daily walks are good, but here’s a recommendation from Harvard Health:
“Do it all at once or in chunks as short as five to 10 minutes. Aim for a brisk pace of three to four miles an hour, but remember that you’ll get plenty of benefit from strolling at a slower pace as long as you stick with it.”
Make These Workouts Part of Your Routine
With these workout choices, you should have something to do despite your busy schedule. You can take a more scenic option with walking or challenge yourself with a grueling yet exhilarating HIIT workout. But even with a 20-minute Pilates session, you get to burn enough calories while also feeling good thanks to the endorphin rush.
Bottom line: make yourself move and boost that heart rate. As long as you’re not stagnant, you’re doing it right.