In addition to a healthy diet, exercise is critical to helping you get — and stay — in shape. It’s important to remember that the two go hand-in-hand.
Dr. Alfred Sparman, CEO and Lead Interventional Cardiologist at The Sparman Clinic, located in St. Michael, Barbados, explores five exercises you can practice helping you stay in shape — no matter what your experience level is. These exercises involve using only your body’s own weight and resistance, which means no equipment is needed. These exercises are often used in High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) which is a quick way to help you get in shape. Most HIIT workouts are 30 minutes or less, making them a great option to do at home.
Placing your hands directly under your shoulders and your feet hip-width apart, you should maintain a plank position (meaning, your body should be in a straight line from the back of your head to your hips). You then lower your arms, keeping your elbows close to your body. Do this several times up and down. Push Ups are easy to modify as well if you need to ease into it. Try doing them from your knees instead if you need to.
Planks are powerful exercises that are designed to increase your overall core strength, balance and stability. To do a plank, plant your hands under your shoulders, squeeze your glutes, and keep your body in a straight line from the top of your head through your feet. Tighten your core (stomach) muscles, tuck your chin in, and focus on a spot on the floor which is either just in between your hands or beyond them. Hold that position for as long as you can and repeat for as often as you can. You will see a remarkable difference the more you practice planks, states Dr. Alfred Sparman.
Squats can be a little bit tricky at first, but once you’ve mastered them, you’ll instantly feel the difference, explains Alfred Sparman. Position your feet hip or shoulder width apart (or somewhere in between), turn your toes out as needed to help you be more flexible and keep your chest straight, looking ahead and slightly upward. Be sure your knees are in line with your toes and squat down as if you are sitting on a chair. Don’t let your knees travel past your toes or buckle inward. You should feel the movement in your glutes and thigh muscles.
Side lunges are another great exercise you can do at home. To do them, keep your chest straight and ‘up’, shift your weight through your mid foot and heel, and lunge as low as you’re able to each side. It’s important to remember not to let your knees travel past your toes, however.
You can also perform a ‘lunging jump’ instead of a side to side lunge. To do a lunging jump, keep your front knee at 90 degrees, lunging as low as you can without your back knee touching the floor. Keep your torso vertical and allow your weight to be evenly distributed between your front and back feet. Jump up to switch the positioning of your feet, alternating which feet goes in front. You can also swing your arms so your front arm pumps forward when the opposite leg lunges backward.
These are only a few of the best exercises you can do to keep your body in the best shape, states Dr. Sparman. Any body weight exercise (using your body and no other equipment) is a great way to keep active at home with minimal time, money or commitment.