Exercise at Home: Benefits and Workout Tips
Prevention of certain diseases, such as high blood pressure, cancer, and diabetes, is just one of the ways that physical activity benefits us. But between hectic work schedules, kids’ soccer practices after school, meal prepping, and everything else that life throws at us, it can be hard to make it to the gym every day. Because of this, many folks are choosing to do their workouts at home—and reaping the same benefits as going to the local fitness center!
The benefits of home exercise
Exercising at home is a fitness trend that continues to grow in popularity. With workouts that include body-weight training and high-intensity interval training, there are many ways to incorporate this trend at home.1
Improvements in upper- and lower-body strength can be seen with workout programs that are utilized at home, even with people who have pre-existing diseases or cancer. Improvements have also been noticed in overall levels of physical activity, which in turn helps decrease obesity and enhance quality of life.2
So what other benefits are present with home exercise? There are so many! For one, you can exercise whenever you want—whereas at a fitness center, you have to work around their hours and schedule. Some people like to work out with their children, and many fitness centers won’t allow small children onto the fitness floor. Working out at home will allow your children to not only see you getting healthy, but will also set a good example for them.
Exercising at home is also super affordable; since you don’t have any gym fees to pay or locker room rentals to keep up with, you’re able to use that money that you didn’t spend on a fitness membership on fun equipment for your home workouts! It also doesn’t cost anything to go for a walk, visit your neighborhood park, or kayak around a local pond. And speaking of fun equipment for your home gym, there are plenty of pieces that you can get from your nearby sporting goods store! Examples include dumbbells, a jump rope, a BOSU, a yoga mat, and even DVDs that walk you through a workout, right from your TV screen.
When you exercise at home, you might find that you need a bit of motivation to do your workouts; that’s where a virtual trainer comes in! Yes, workout DVDs are great, especially if you have the motivation to do them. However, we all need a little bit more engagement sometimes, and workouts on your phone or computer will help you achieve just that. When you have a virtual trainer—whether through an app, on Skype, or however you want to communicate with them—they help to not only motivate you, but to keep you accountable as well…and accountability leads to results.3
Getting the most out of your home workouts
Now that we’ve explored some of the many benefits of exercising at home, let’s look at some ways you can set yourself up for success with your home workout! For one, get yourself a good pair of shoes. Sure, you’re at home, but you still need to properly cushion and prepare your feet for a workout—especially if there is a lot of jumping and lateral movements that you’re doing. Next, make sure you’ve got some comfy workout clothing that you can move freely in. You don’t want to be hung up with tripping over baggy clothes or not moving through a full range of motion with being stuck in some jeans.
Next, let’s think about your hydration levels. It’s probably easier to grab a soda or pour some juice for yourself after a home workout, but try and make it a habit to prep your water bottle for your workout to help stay hydrated. Staying hydrated will help you have more energy for your workouts and help build up your immune system.4
Once you’re prepped and ready to start your workouts, there’s nothing left to do except just that…. start! Let’s take a look at some simple exercises you can do at home that will get you started on your wellness journey.
Utilizing your chest, shoulders, and triceps, push-ups are wonderful for increasing upper-body and core strength.
To start, come down to the floor on your hands and knees. Putting your hands about shoulder-width apart on the floor, extend your body all the way out straight with your feet together. With your weight balanced over your wrists, squeeze your glutes and keep your head in line with your spine (looking down towards the floor). From here, slowly lower your body towards the floor, while not letting your core droop down towards the ground or having your hips come up into a triangle shape. Keeping your elbows in close, slowly descend until your chest almost touches the floor, then push through your hands and arms back up to the start position.
2. Front plank
An excellent core-strengthening move and very similar to the push-up position, front planks will be utilizing not only your abdominals, but your lower back and glutes as well.
To begin, start on the floor on your stomach. With your feet together and your arms under your shoulders, slowly raise yourself off the ground. Try to eliminate any high hips or sagging lower back, and keep your head right in line with your spine. Engaging your abs, glutes, shoulders, and quads, breathe purposefully for time in this pose (i.e., begin with a 5-second hold, then a 10-second hold).
Utilizing your abs, glutes, quads, and hamstrings, lunges are an excellent lower-body strengthener that require no equipment!
Standing tall, raise one leg up in the air and slowly step out and forward (letting your heel hit the ground first). Let yourself sink down towards the ground instead of forward—where your knee is more likely to go over the front of your toe, possibly causing pain and excess pressure on your knee joint. With the leg that is now in front, push off the ground and go back to your starting standing position. Alternating legs, make sure you are using your glutes and hamstrings/quads to do the work here!
Strengthening and stretching your abdominals and your lower back, cobra is a wonderful position to use in a warm up, cool down, or relaxation pose!
Laying face down on the ground, put your hands right under your shoulders. Breathing deeply, slowly push your upper body/chest off of the floor while keeping your hips down. You’ll notice that this puts an arch in your lower back—that’s okay! Stretch your abs and hold, starting for 10 seconds or so. Slowly descend yourself back to the ground.
Other ways to exercise at home
These are only 4 examples of exercises that you can do in the comfort of your own home, and that require little to no equipment (except maybe a mat)! There are many more to choose from, and all are customizable to you and the goals that you have for yourself. And in addition to completely different types of exercises, there are modified versions of the exercises listed above that you can do to continue to challenge your body and keep your routine interesting.5
Whether you choose to do your workouts at a fitness center, in the great outdoors, or in your own living room, be proud that you are taking the necessary steps to increase your level of physical activity, and know that you will be improving your health in the long run! From decreasing your risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes to improving pre-existing conditions, be an advocate for your health (wherever you decide to do it) and continue to improve your overall quality of life.
About Hannah Clarke
Hannah Clarke has her personal training certifications through ACE and NASM, and is also an ACE certified Health Coach. She thoroughly enjoys being able to educate others and help them improve their health! Using her exercise science background, she helps to coach and teach others about eating healthy, working out, and setting achievable goals for a quality life!
1. Thompson, W.R. “Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2017.” ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal 20, no. 6 (2016): 8-17.
2. Lee, M.K., N.K. Kim, & J.Y. Jeon. “Effect of the 6-week home-based exercise program on physical activity level and physical fitness in colorectal cancer survivors: A randomized controlled pilot study.” PLoS One 13, no. 4 (2018).
3. Behan, Janis. “The Benefits of using an Online Personal Trainer.” Trainerize. Trainerize.com.
4. Hoffman-Goetz, L., & B.K. Pedersen. “Exercise and the immune system: a model of stress response?” Immunology Today 15, no. 8 (1994): 382-387.
5 Lieberman, Bari. “53 Bodyweight Exercises You Can Do at Home.” Self. Self.com.