Cardiovascular training (or cardio from here on out) is a great exercise to work on at home. Strength training can be combined in if you are strapped for time, or cardio can be done alone. To start off, here is a 30 minute in home cardio workout, finished up with some resistance or weight training and stretching (about 15-20 more minutes).
You will need your shoes, that 90-100 feet of marked off space, an egg timer (or a watch or cell phone timer, or just a plane old clock with a second hand) and some water. Later you will need a mat and some oomph.
Start with a quick, brisk walk or light jog for three minutes. Use the space you marked off earlier and make laps or jog in place.
Next, one minute of jumping jacks. No cheating, arms fully extended over your head, feet jump apart and come back together. No cheating!
Back to the marked off space and spend 5 minutes doing killers. It doesn’t have to be an all out sprint, but this is interval training at its finest. Interval training is a great way to shock your body out of a routine, kick up metabolism and get pretty decent results. So do your best. Don’t stop for the entire 5 minutes. Walking is allowed, but otherwise, start at the beginning, run to the first line, bend down and touch it and run to start. Run to the middle line, bend down and touch it, and run back to start. Run to the end line, BEND DOWN AND TOUCH IT and then run back to start. Repeat this for five minutes, and don’t forget to touch the line. If you don’t touch it, you are only cheating yourself. If you want the work out, move as quickly as you can and make sure to touch the ground. It’s only five minutes. You’ve got this!
Plie Hops. At the starting line, hold yourself in a plie position. Feet outside of hip width distance, toes turned out, arms held parallel to the ground. This is an awesome Pilate’s move that works your core and keeps your heart rate up. From this position, hop up off of the ground, holding your body in the same position, and land softly on the ground. Repeat this for one minute.
Back to jumping jacks. One minute. Slowing down is okay, stopping is cheating. You can do it!
Plie Hops. One minute. You will be sore tomorrow, but that is what you are after, right? Keep going! Land softly.
Back to the starting line. Five minutes of killers. Slowing down is okay when you have been giving it all you’ve got. Stopping is cheating. Keep going. You can do it. Don’t forget to bend down and touch the ground.
Three minutes of lunges and squats. Set your timer and start with one foot in front of the other, hands on your hips. Step forward as far as you are comfortable, and dip down. The goal is to bring your thigh on the forward leg parallel to the ground, without bringing your knee over your toes. Lunge down to the finish line and back (think lunge-together-lunge). Then squat down to the finish line and back, sideways (squat-together-squat). Remember, to keep your knees from going over your toes, stick your gluts (butt) out. Squat with the right side leading down to the finish line and the left side leading all the way back to start. Repeat for three minutes.
Fire Feet, one minute. Squat down, feet hip width distance apart. For 30-45 seconds, pretend that your feet are on fire and you have to stamp them out. Move the entire foot up and down, as fast as you can, while staying in a squat position. Yup, this sucks, and you are tired. But you can do it. This is all that is left of the cardio.
Cool down with a two minute jog or walk. Good job. Leg work is done for the day!
Now get ready to hit the mat!
Strengthening exercises are next. The only tool we need today is a mat and good shoes.
Plank position is first. It looks just like a pushup position, except that you are on your elbows instead of hands. Strike the heels back as if you were reaching for something with them and keep your back straight. Hold it for 15 seconds.
Push ups are in the same position, arms straight this time, knees bent if you would like to modify it. Do everything you can to crank out 10 straight backed push ups.
Plank position and hold it for 30 second. Belly button pulled in tight.
Push ups; ten more, back is straight. Gluts in the air or sinking low is cheating. This is tough, but you can do it!
Plank position again, but reverse it this time. Sit with your legs extended ahead of you, hands placed just under the shoulders. When you are ready, lift your gluts so you are in reverse push up position. Hold it here without dipping low. 30 seconds.
Great job, all of the major muscles in the back, chest, arms and legs have now been exhausted. Let’s complete our core work.
Sit ups are an old exercise with a lot of benefits. If you are new to exercise, hook your toes under the couch, bend your knees to 45 degrees and lay your gluts, back and head down on the floor. Place the fingers next to the ears and without pulling; bring the chest to the knees. 15 if you’re just starting out 30 if you are more advanced, more if you are Hercules. They don’t have to be fast, and actually slow controlled movements are more difficult. You can do it. Just grit your teeth and get through it, without pulling on your neck or compromising your form.
Flexibility will keep your body long and lean, and help insure that you can continue your workouts. All of the major body parts were worked to day, so make sure to stretch them (check in Yoga For Life for stretching ideas). Stretching is up to you; just make sure to do it. Neck circles down to calf stretches will feel good, so again take 6 or 7 minutes (minimum) and stretch long and tall.
Important Matters to Remember:
Pull your belly button in towards your spine. This turns any exercise into core work. You can, and should, do this with you lift a laundry basket, the trash or are walking down the street.
If for any reason you feel light headed, dizzy or nauseas decrease the intensity level or stop for the day. If you have any limitations or reasons you should consult your health care provider, make sure you do that before starting this exercise program.
Congratulations! You just made a great, healthy choice!