Namaste! For most people, on the “weight gain – workout” seesaw, home is directly and almost solely linked with the former, whilst gyms, parks, sidewalks, etc., the latter. So much such that in situations where one cannot or does not want to get out of the house, they basically succumb to excess calorie intake and fat gain. However, home can be just as productive for exercise as the gym. In this article, you will find ways to lose loads of weight without setting a foot out.
First, be reminded that in most cases, exercise wants to achieve one of two things: burn fat or increase strength and muscle mass. Nevertheless, you will not find a routine that exclusively achieves one and not the other. Routines that seek to burn fat are referred to as cardio, and they involve movements that make you breathe faster. Your body will source energy materials in the form of stored glycogen or fats and burn them to perform all its activities. Cardio exercises tend to increase the workload on your body. In doing so, you take in more oxygen, you burn more fat. A lot like turning your body from an old Peugeot at 30mph to a Ferrari at 160mph.
It is these kinds of routines that you want to be doing at home. They will help you achieve your weight loss goal, plus they do not require any special equipment but you will.
Cardio Exercises You Can do at Home
So You Think You Can’t Dance?
You probably will not take anyone who suggests this to you for losing weight seriously. But as a quick assignment, pull up a video of a performance of any dance reality show (no, not a waltz) and watch their breathing at the end. The heaving of their chests tells you they have gone through continuous sharp movements, and they are breathing faster than they normally would. The aim is not to turn you into a one-man/woman Jabbawockeez. Just dance. Swing, swivel, slide, kick, jump, throw your hands in the air, your head too, wiggle your shoulder, wiggle your waist (but careful with the sing-along, your neighbors might sue for noise pollution). Dancing is special because unlike most exercise routines, it does not just stretch some specific muscles to and fro in one direction, they stretch a lot more and in different directions. The plus with dancing is that it helps your mood. It does not feel like a workout anymore, it is just a piece of healthy fun that will light you up for the rest of your day. In fact, most aerobic sessions tend to have music in the background to trick the mind to think that it is having fun. Dancing is fun for real, no tricks.
Skip the Jokes Rope
Think dancing to lose weight does not make you look serious enough? Then skip. Skipping is another easy way to increase your heart rate. Again, it is way more effective because it is a full-body workout and according to research, it even burns more calories than running. You may do it with or without a rope. However, the rope is highly recommended because it helps to check how high you jump and helps to maintain your pace also. You will not just be burning fat. Your continuous jump-and-land patterns will condition your joints (ankle, knees, and pelvis), engage your brain to coordinate balance, improve muscle tone in your thighs and calves, etc. As you become more comfortable, you can add some spice; jump on one leg and alternate, skip backward, etc. Note that you need a lot of clear area for skipping indoors, both vertical and horizontal space, so as not to break anything either within or around you.
Bring the Instructor Home
Not the person, just his/her moves. Your typical aerobic sessions will involve short bursts intense movements, interspersed with brief periods of rest and stretching (High-Intensity Interval Training). These moves may include jumping jacks, quick squats, and on-the-spot runs, among others. A combination of these moves is geared at causing your heart to beat faster and you to take quick breaths. It is important that you know the sequence of moves off hand so that you do not break the intensity before designated rest points. A pre-recorded video may be a good guide.
How should I start working out at home?
To begin, you just need your will power. However, to ensure effective and injury-free workout, here are a few pointers:
- Designate an area for your workout. At least a 2m radius, with nothing in your path.
- Be properly cladded. Shoes are the most important here. Clothes must allow free movement of your limbs, not be too heavy and be comfortable to sweat in.
- Make sure you are hydrated and have about a liter of water close by.
- Prepare your routine. Whether you are dancing or skipping, know what comes after the other and how long each routine and rest period would be.
- Warm-up. Always start with stretches and low-intense routines so as not to overstretch your muscles.
How long should you do it for?
Cardio exercises are in-the-moment exercises. That means that when you end your session and barring any more physical activities, your body returns to burning calories at its basal metabolic rate. Hence, to achieve proper results, you must be frequent and consistent with your sessions. At least, a 30-minute workout for 3 days in the week is the recommended minimum. The consistency is hard to keep up, that is why you are encouraged to start with routines you enjoy, that are easy to do and can be done right in your home. Be careful not to use “Beginner Enthusiasm” to push yourself too hard into muscle fatigue and cramps. Your body will pick up the pace after a few sessions.
Will the exercise alone help me lose weight?
Think about it this way. When you leave the tap on and your bathroom floods, you turn the tap off first before scooping water off the floor. Exercise and diet work in the same way. To lose weight, first, reorganize your diet to make sure you are not putting in more excess calories (close the tap). Then exercise will help scoop out the excess calories that have been stored in the form of fat in your body. There is no single routine that holds the magic wand on weight loss, although some are more intense than others. Even so, mix them up. Variety is, after all, the spice of life.
The journey to losing weight is not a trek to Mars as is sometimes made to seem. You can effectively lose weight at home while doing simple cardio exercise routines that require no or just basic equipment, are fun and will encourage consistency. Not an impossible journey, but a journey nonetheless; consistency and frequency are most important in ensuring that at-home workouts work for you. So feel free to stay indoors and still keep overweight out. Namaste!