Ever feel like you don’t have time to make it to the gym or just confused on what you need to do to improve your fitness? Well then you’re in luck! Here are 3 exercises that you can do at home or at the office that will improve both your fitness in strength, mobility, and endurance.
The squat is an excellent exercise to develop lower body strength and improve hip function. Tight hips occur from not using your hips through their full range of motion i.e. sitting in a chair or couch all day. This results in referred pain, most commonly in the lower back and knees. Not only will deep squatting help loosen the muscles surrounding the hips and knees while relieving knee and back pain, but it will also “wake up” the larger muscles of the lower body that have otherwise been ignored from long periods of sitting. This will cause a spike in your energy demands (metabolism) causing you to build muscle, burn more calories, and over time, burn more fat.
Here’s how :
Stand with your feet just outside shoulder-width apart. Squeeze your butt and suck your belly in with arms extended in front of your body. This is your starting position.
Lower your body down, keeping your feet flat and hands out front for balance until your hips have lowered past your knees then stand back up. Congrats! That’s a squat!
Try to aim for 25 repetitions for 4 sets and keep it under 10 minutes.
The lunge is another great exercise that addresses single leg and hip strength and stability. Lunging will help make both legs equally strong. When done correctly, it will help correct hip imbalances that result in low back pain and bad posture. This variation is a bit tougher than the squat as one leg is responsible for lifting most of your body weight back to a standing position, making the lunge a key component to your lower body strength routine. Lunging will isolate the glutes, which happen to be the powerhouse of the human body, so you can expect major muscle gain and calorie burn from this exercise.
Here’s how :
Start standing tall with both feet together. Take a large step forward as if you are trying to step over a puddle.
Once you are in a split stance, find your balance and slowly take a knee with the back leg. Focus on keeping the entire front foot in contact with ground the entire time.
Once you have taken a knee, press yourself up with the front leg and allow your back leg to meet the front one so you are back to a standing position.
Now repeat! Try this for 10-20 steps for 4 sets.
3. Wall Stretch
This exercise is more so to address posture issues that come from long periods of computer work, cell phone usage, and driving. All these forward-reaching activities cause our shoulders to round forward, causing neck pain and adaptively tight chest muscles and weak, overstretched back muscles. The best way to combat this imbalance with no weights is to do a wall stretch and get the arms over the head more frequently.
Here’s how :
Find a wall and lean on it back first. Bring your feet out in front if you and assume a quarter squat so you can get your entire back flush with the wall.
Lift your arms up and attempt to place the back of your wrists on the wall with triceps parallel to the floor.
Reach up towards the ceiling while trying to maintain contact with the wall and your wrist the entire time.
You will notice a deep stretch across the chest and front of shoulders while getting a good “squeeze” between the shoulder blades. Overtime, this exercise will help reset proper balance between the chest, back, and shoulders.
Try this for 4 sets of 15-20 repetitions. You can pair this with the squats or lunges or both!
Go get after it! These can be done anytime and anywhere. These exercises will give you the most bang for your buck. Whether you’re trying to burn calories, relieve pain, or build strength these are absolutely key to live a healthy active life!