Looking to lose weight in the New Year but you’d prefer to skip the gym membership? Heading to the fitness club each week isn’t for everyone, and may not be for you due to various reasons. It could be that your work or daily life schedule doesn’t permit you to get to the gym during regular, operating hours. Maybe you’re the mom of small children and it’s just not the time yet (though many fitness clubs now offer childcare services so kids can play safely while mom works out). It could be that exercising in front of other people just isn’t for you, and that’s okay.
If you aren’t able to get to the gym for whatever reason, there are definitely exercises that you can do at home to make sure you get in some cardio, weight training and stretching each day. Try these and see how they work for you!
Pilates. Designed by Joseph Pilates, this type of exercise is similar to yoga but with less stretching and more focus on the core. Strength, flexibility, balance, correct posture and proper form are the hallmarks of the Pilates workout, which was invented by Joseph Pilates for people living in an internment camp who wanted to find a way to stay fit and strong.
If you’re interested in an exercise program that concentrates more on doing the movements slowly and concentrating on the correct positioning of your body and in doing controlled, steady movements, then Pilates might just be the exercise routine for you. Many gyms offer Pilates classes, but you can also purchase a workout video to try at home, or sample one of the many routines available to follow along with on YouTube or another video channel.
Yoga. Yoga is a form of slow, mindful exercise and a life-long discipline that has been practiced for thousands of years. Originating in India and featuring a spiritual component that may or may not be incorporated into a modern-day practice, yoga connects the body and mind for stress relief, muscle-building, core strength, flexibility and balance. When performed consistently over time, yoga is said to reset the parasympathetic nervous system for a reduction in stress hormones in the body and the ability to relax and reset for total body healing.
If you have never done yoga before and want to try, you might start by searching for yoga videos online, or take a class to get the basic poses mastered. You can also purchase a yoga “bible” type of book which can be extremely helpful in becoming familiar with the poses as each one progresses in a step-by-step fashion. This will help for when you do take a class and want to keep up as the instructor guides everyone along with the series, or asana that is the theme of that particular class.
Hula hooping. Hula hooping is a fun and different kind of workout that targets the core and raises the heart rate for a more intense cardio workout. Even just 15 minutes of hula hooping per day can dramatically increase weight loss and help to shrink the waist. If you have never hula-hooped as a sport before, you will want to pick up a hula hoop that has been properly sized and weighted for adults. You can find these online under the heading fitness hula hoop or “hula hoop for fitness.” It is much easier to become an expert hula-hooper when the hula hoop that you’re using carries a bit more weight than the plastic toy versions that you’ll find at the store.
Once you get the basic hang of hula hooping down, you can vary up your workout by mastering how to hula to the right or the left, hula-hoop in different positions, move the hoop up and down the trunk of your body, and even dance while hooping. There are many hooping videos online to help you nail the basics and then learn a trick or two. Hula hooping to your favorite music is a lot of fun, and will definitely help you lose weight while toning your muscles and firming the core.
Belly dancing. Here’s a fun form of exercise that’s technically dancing, but you’re really locked in on the core which is what gives belly dancing its name. If you’ve never belly danced before, you might head to the internet to view videos taught by professional belly dance instructors who can guide you through the basic moves. At first, if you’re somewhat out of shape, belly dancing might seem like a challenge. But the more practice you get in, the better you’ll start to become at the moves, and your waistline will definitely reflect this.
Get excited to learn and try out signature belly dancing techniques like the belly roll, the hip drop, the shimmy, and others. If belly dancing turns out to be for you, you might even find a local belly dancing class where you can dance your heart out and continue developing your core strength, coordination and cardio fitness while in the company of other women. Or, if you’re shy about your belly dancing, wait until no one is home and then pop on an instructional video or some of your favorite dance music to dance to.
Calisthenics. Calisthenics is one of the best forms of total body fitness that doesn’t require the use of equipment at all. The word probably makes you think of pushups, situps, squats and mountain climbers from high school gym class. But calisthenics stand the test of time because they work. This classic method of creating physical fitness by utilizing the muscles of the body to bear its own weight is enjoying a resurgence as busy people look for effective means of keeping in shape with a convenient and easy-to-do workout.
Perhaps your mind doesn’t go back far enough to remember the exact movements needed to repeat those physical fitness exercises from your youth, but you still want to revisit these exercises anyway. It’s easy enough to find instructions, tips and methods for employing the proper form while performing calisthenic exercises. Search for how to do pushups, situps, crunches, jumping jacks, burpees, pullups, squats and other calisthenic exercises at home. With consistent practice, you can get into a routine that has you improving your physical while increasing stamina, improving heart health, and strengthening the muscles of your body for total fitness and weight loss success.