Column: Easy exercises to try at home

Published 5:58 pm Tuesday, January 31, 2006

By Staff
So, you do not have time to go to a gym to workout. Do you feel helpless like you do not know what to do? This is a concern that a reader expressed to me. She wanted to know what she could do for toning exercise while in her home. She does not have the extra money to spend on fancy equipment.
There are many options to help you stay fit where you do not have to go out and buy expensive equipment. I will give you some tips on toning exercises you can do right in your home. We will start from the top of your body and work our way down.
To strengthen your back – start with all fours on the floor. Extend your right leg and left arm. Hold for a breath and then switch sides.
Lie flat on your stomach. Slowly lift your arms out in front of you and hold the position. Slowly put your arms down. Repeat. If you are comfortable, lift your legs slightly off the floor with your arms.
On all fours, arch your back up and then lower into chest with head facing the floor. Repeat.
Stand a little more than arms length from a wall. Leaning forward, place your palms on the wall at the height of your chin and a bit wider than your shoulders. Keeping good posture bring your body in and out.
Good old floor push-ups. You can do these either on your knees or on your toes. Remember to keep your back flat.
Sit back in a sturdy chair (without wheels) making sure that your back is straight. Firmly grasp the top of the chair's arms. Carefully lift yourself by using your shoulders and arms. Your feet stay on the ground.
Using your own body weight for resistance begin with your arms down to your side, palms facing back. Slowly lift your arms straight in front of you to about eye level. Try this for about 10-12 times. Then lift your arms to the sides to about eye level. Last, with your arms straight down at your sides raise your arms back. If you do not have a set of weights, fill nylons with beans or rice or try soup cans.
Jumping jacks use your shoulders plus you receive the benefit of working your legs too. Make sure use your heels when you come down on the floor.
Dips. Sit back in the same chair that you used for your shoulders. This time instead of your hands being on the edge of the arms of the chair, you put your hands on the edge of the seat of your chair. With your knees bent and feet flat, scoot your rear off the chair. Using your elbows, slowly lower your bottom until your arms are bent at a 90-degree angle. Raise back up and repeat.
Do push-ups. To work your triceps to the fullest, turn your hands in towards each other like triangles.
Drop your arms in front of your body and slowly curl them up to your chest. Do these slowly and really concentrate on using your body as the resistance. You can do these standing or sitting.
Lying on your back with your knees bent, lift your butt off the floor and bring your knees into your chest.
Do the old fashion crunches. Keep your head straight up, relaxed, looking at the ceiling.
Standing up straight with good posture, take your arms straight down to your sides. Bend over to each side and touch the back of your calves.
Lying on your back, bend you knees. Slowly lift your pelvic slightly off the floor. Squeeze and release. Repeat.
Start on your elbows and knees with your forearms flat on the floor. Extend your left leg straight back with your toe pointing down. Raise your left foot until your leg forms a 90-degree angle. Hold for a second, release, repeat 10-15 times and switch legs. Make sure your neck and shoulders stay relaxed.
Thighs and Quads
Wall sits. Find a wall and put your back up to it. Your feet should be shoulder width apart and your heels about a foot from the wall. Slowly slide down the wall until your legs are almost at a 90-degree angle. Hold for a second then raise and repeat.
Toe raises. Place your heels shoulder width apart. Raise up on your toes then back down, repeat. Do one set with feet angled in and one with feet angled out.
If you need any help with exercise ideas you can come into the Niles-Buchanan YMCA and ask for a free orientation with a personal trainer.
Thought of the week: Perseverance and determination usually win most of the battles and are the keys to success. - Andy Varipapa
Do not forget about our new Fitness Classes: Cardio Mix and Stability Ball!