We were born to move. Our body needs to be in shape for us to endure and carry on with our daily tasks. A healthy body will work faster and tire less than an overworked or lazy one. But sometimes, there isn’t any time left to go the gym or any other class. Step in Kinetic Living and step out boring workouts or lethargic bodies. Here is an article I wrote for health.india.com on home workouts
These simple and effective exercises can be done at home to improve stamina, increase overall body strength by doing full body workouts (rather than isolating muscles), and work on your agility and flexibility.
Before any workout, a warm-up and stretching routine is absolutely essential. Stretching after the workout helps relax the muscles, drastically improves flexibility and prevents stiffness and tightness to a great extent. The days you don’t have time for workouts, a simple stretch routine will also give you substantial benefits. Check out the warm up and stretches on videos
Squats (for hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, and core): Stand with your feet slightly wider than hips and toes pointing slightly out at approximately 30-40 degree angle. Stand tall, keeping your spine neutral and push the hips back as if to sit back on a chair as you inhale. Your back should be straight and not rounded, and hands stretched out in front (palms facing the ground). Push through the heels, squeeze your glutes and come up with an exhalation. That is one rep of a squat. Aim to do about 10 to 15 of these. Inhale when you go down and exhale as you come up.
Wall push-ups (for chest, shoulders and triceps): Place your hands slightly wider than shoulders on the wall (shoulder height) and your feet away from the wall at a slant angle (the more slant the angle, more difficult it gets). Inhale as you bend the elbows downwards next to your ribs and exhale as you push the entire body up, maintaining the angle (do not come back to the erect standing position).
- Remember: The whole body from crown of the head to toe remains in one line. The hips should not dip, the spine should not arch as you go down and push up from the wall. Keep the core strong and alive and use it along with your arms to push up.
- Do 10 to 15 reps with control, the slower the better.
- Breathing should be along with the movement and not before or after.
- Once this gets easier, decrease the angle between your body and the floor.
- Graduate to holding the lower position for 5 to 10 counts.
- Once this gets easy, challenge yourself by repeating the exercise against a high bed, then a sofa and gradually on the floor with your body parallel to the floor.
Step-ups (for hamstrings, quadriceps and glutes): Use a low stool and step up and down for 10 to 15 reps. Keep the back straight and core activated to maintain balance.
You can also climb staircases in your building. Do about 5 rounds (up and down is one round).
Challenge yourself further by using a chair once the above feels easy.
Plank (for core strength and strengthening the upper body): Plank is one of my personal favourites because it is simple but strengthens and tones the entire body and can be done even on your bed!
Come to the starting push-up position on the floor – hands exactly below the shoulders, neck is long, entire spine is neutral and upper body is parallel to the floor, toes right below the heels.
Hold this position and breathe normally. Keep the navel gently tucked in towards the spine (active core). Start with 15 counts or holding the posture for 10 breaths and graduate to 30 seconds, 45 seconds, 1 minute.
You can challenge yourself further by holding the same position but with elbows bent right under your shoulders. Forearms will rest on the floor.
- Remember: Do not drop the neck and do not let the hip drop which will put pressure on your lower back. Keep your tummy strong. lower back slightly tucked in.
Scissor shifts (easier version) / Mountain climbers (difficult version) (core, stamina, upper body): After you are doing planks successfully and in good form (for at least 30 seconds) you can start including this exercise in your routine.
Lie down in the starting push-up position. Tuck in one knee (the upper body in straight line parallel to the floor) and lightly touch the toe of the other leg to the floor as you exhale, and inhale as you take it back to the ground. Keep your hips as stable as possible by holding your core tight. Quickly bring the other knee in as you exhale and inhale as you take your foot back to the start position. Do 15 on each side.
Challenge yourself by hopping slightly to change the feet, keeping the breath pattern same. Hips should be stable and not move up or sink by keeping the core strong.
Watch this space for more home workouts.
The workouts mentioned must be practised only after consulting your physician that you are fit to exercise. They are planned for individuals who do not have any special injuries / conditions, in which case, they should consult their respective doctor / therapist / personal trainer