Sculpt a healthy and fit homebody

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By Wendy Watkins

Looking to kickstart your fitness program, but not quite ready to join a studio or gym? You don’t need a lot of equipment or space to be in top shape at home. It just takes a little ingenuity, motivation and planning. Plus, thanks to technology, you can enjoy many gym features, including some of your favorite classes, from the comfort of your living room or home office.

One of the greatest lessons of the past year and a half has been the power to be prepared. This also applies to your fitness and well-being, as it has such a big impact on your overall health, including your immune system.

“Exercise benefits you from your brain to your toes,” said Dr. Michelle Toder, Board Certified Obesity and Bariatric Surgeon, and Medical Director of Northern Light’s Weight Loss Programs.

Getting into a regular fitness habit helps your cognitive function, mood, heart health, blood pressure and digestive system as well as bone density, Toder said. It can also help improve your strength, balance and flexibility, reducing the risk of falling, she said.

Exercise is especially important if you’ve lost your healthy habits due to social estrangement and more time at home. Not only have many people stopped training since the start of the pandemic, but they have become much less active in general, Toder said.

TO START

While you may have to do some extra activities in your day, like parking your car farther from a store entrance or taking the stairs instead of the elevator, this is a great idea, but it shouldn’t be. be part of your exercise routine.

“It’s about setting aside at least 30 minutes most days of the week, when you put on your workout clothes and go in as hard as possible and reasonable for you,” she said.

The American Heart Association recommends getting at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity – or a combination of both – per week. In addition, the association recommends doing at least two strength training workouts for the whole body per week.

This is the amount of exercise required to achieve basic health benefits. If weight loss is a goal, the amount of exercise needed jumps to 300 minutes per week, or 45 minutes per day, Toder said.

She also advocates going out for this exercise whenever possible. “Being outside really lowers your stress levels, lowers your heart rate, and it’s good for your mental health,” she said. Plus, it can help boost vitamin D levels, which is important for keeping your immune system strong.

She said she personally brings a mask when exercising outside, so she has the option of putting it on if she is approaching a group of people.

TRY NEW WORKOUTS

When it comes to the format of your home workouts, the sky is the limit thanks to the Internet.

Some gyms and studios in Maine offer streaming services to their clients and members, bringing their facility’s training and classes to your living room. Many personal trainers and physical trainers also offer personalized workouts through apps such as Zoom.

In addition, many popular fitness class formats are now available through your smart TV or personal computer. Companies like Les Mills (BodyPump, BodyCombat, etc.), BeachBody, and Zumba all stream on-demand classes on a monthly subscription basis.

Not only that, but there are also thousands of workouts available for free through YouTube. Just type in what you’re looking for – like “low impact cardio workout” – and you can try out a free workout.

These can be a fun and easy way to try new styles of training without the intimidating factor of being in a class of other seasoned athletes.

EQUIPMENT

During the height of the coronavirus shutdown, it was nearly impossible to find exercise gadgets like weights, resistance bands and home gym equipment, and prices have skyrocketed due to the shortages. While this equipment is increasingly available, you can still train with your own weight and a few light dumbbells (we have one below).

If you need weight but can’t find it in stores or online, you can use cans, water bottles, or other sturdy, heavy containers that you can safely grab.

EXERCISE ROUTINE

If it’s been a while since you’ve trained, it’s best to start doing a little less than you think. Starting out slow can help you avoid muscle soreness and burnout, helping you stay motivated in the long run. Always listen to your body and make sure you get your doctor’s approval before starting a new training program.

We’ve got a sample workout week and a basic strength training routine to get you started.

Note: This is only a suggestion: change your activities to include other forms of training that you like, depending on the season and the weather. You can dance, jog, swim, snowshoe, cross-country ski, or use cardio machines.

Monday – 30 min. brisk walk outside

Tuesday – 15-20 min. Walking or cycling “at intervals”: ​​Add short periods (30 to 60 seconds) of more intense activity to increase your heart rate and alternate with slower activity. In addition to bodybuilding.

Wednesday – 30 min. fast walk

Thursday – 15-20 min. “Interval” on foot or by bike, plus weight training

Friday – 30 min. fast walk

Strength training routine:

Start with light dumbbells and add more weight as you get stronger.

10 squats

10 push-ups (you can do them standing with your hands on the wall or kitchen counter)

10 slits on each side

10 rows of dumbbells bent over one arm

10 step-ups on each side

10 hanging dumbbell presses

10 bicep curls

10 tricep dips

30 seconds of plank

Repeat the entire sequence for a total of 1 to 3 times.

Wendy Watkins is a fitness and wellness coach in Bangor and the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Losing 20 Pounds in 2 Months.

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