Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Household Exercising

Weather you're a professional in the work place or a professional mother, a busy schedule is a busy schedule.  Before I became a stay at home mom, I worked a 9 to 5 desk job, and even though you sit at a desk all day, you still come home whipped.  And, if you're a SAHM, I don't have to tell you how draining your day can be.

At the time, it never occurred to me to add an exercise routine to my life.  I would come home from work, pour a glass of...whatever, and watch recorded TV shows with hubby eventually falling asleep on the couch before they were over.

Now, after starting my fitness journey over a year and a half ago, I can't imagine my life without it.  I feel and look healthier.  Granted, I am blessed with the ability to NOT have to have a full time job at the moment, so I do have time to run to the gym and train.  But there are plenty of other ways to exercise at home, after work, either while you're cleaning, waiting for dinner to cook or even while watching TV.  No need for any fancy gym equipment, just grab objects around the house to help.

Following are a few exercises that if done 3-4 times a week for twenty minutes, will not only help you feel good about yourself, they can help tone your body and even help you lose those few extra pounds...especially with the holiday right around the corner.

Before starting any kind of exercise regiment, you should always consult a doctor for any concerns before hand.  But I promise, these are not heavy body-breaking exercises.

There are three key things to keep in mind when doing the following exercises:

1.  Always keep your back straight and squared shoulders.  Do not hunch over or round your back...ever.  What's good for the boys is good for girls...and lungs...stick those chests out ladies!

2.  Always keep your core (abs and back) tight. Squeeze your abs to keep you stable.  This will help with balance and make sure that you are not swinging your body to perform the movement.  It will help aid in isolating the key muscles for that exercise.

3.  When standing, keep your feet hip-width apart, toes forward an knees slightly bent.  Adjust your weight evenly through the heels.  You should able to wiggle your toes, if you try this and lose balance, then you are not engaging your core.

Shoulder Raises.
Muscles Worked: Front and side shoulders.
Equipment: Two full water bottles, ketchup bottles, cans...any two objects that weigh the same.  OR one object to perform the exercise one arm at a time.

Standing tall, hold your weights at your sides.  Locking your elbows and really pulling with the top of your shoulders, raise both arms to either side until they are shoulder height, parallel to the floor. Slowly, lower them back to your sides.  Do this 15 times.  Then, repeat but this time raising your arms, elbows locked in front of you until parallel to the floor, slowly lower.  Repeat this 15 times.

Repeat the above two more times.

Wall Push Ups
Muscles worked: Rear deltoids (shoulders) chest, and triceps (that annoying dangle arm thingy...)
Equipment: A wall

Stand straight facing a wall, 2-3 feet away.  Feet hip width apart, knees slightly bent, toes forward.  Place your arms shoulder height, wider than body width, palms pressed against the wall.  Slowly, lean into the wall, making sure your elbows are folding back and then slowly push until elbows locked.  Repeat 15 times.  Then lower your hands on the wall until about the bra line, then slowly lean into the wall, making sure that your elbows are bending in a way they stay close to your sides.  The closer to your sides they are, the more you should feel it in your triceps.  Repeat 15 times.

Repeat the above two more times.

Triceps Dips
Muscles worked: Triceps (we need to get rid of dangle arm...right?)
Equipment: Coffee table, bench or couch.

Sit straight, chest out, feet firmly planted on the floor on the edge of your coffee table.  Place your arms on either side of your hips, palms down on the table, fingers dangling over the edge.  Slowly, push up with your arms to push yourself off the table.  Swing your hips just over the edge.  The key is to keep your hips as close the table as possible.  Now, take a step or two forward with your feet, and slowly lower yourself with your arms in front of the table.  Remember, don't hunch your shoulders. Once you've gone as low as you can, slowly push with your arms back up.  Keep your arms close to your body.  Without sitting back on the table, repeat 15 times.  Rest for 1 minute and repeat set two more times.

Remember to dip with your arms, and NOT to push with your legs.

If you feel this is too light for you, you can add weight by keeping one leg raised above the floor as you dip, or place a weighted household item on your lap as you dip.  

Wall Sits
Muscle worked: Quadriceps (front of your thighs)
Equipment:  A wall

Stand up straight, back against a wall.  Take a couple of steps out with your feet, and slowly lower yourself until your legs are making a 90 degree angle with the floor, make sure your knees are directly above your ankles.  Do NOT put your hands on your legs, keep them hanging lose at your sides.

Sit there for 30 seconds at first, eventually working yourself up to a minute.  Do this several times a day as your walking down your hallway.

Muscles worked:  Glutes (your butt) and Quads
Equipment: None, a chair, or coffee table, couch...

Stand straight, feet pointed forward, core engaged.  Slowly push your hips back and squat until your butt touches your chair.  DO NOT SIT!  Slowly stand again pushing through your ankles and do NOT push your arms on your legs, either clasp them in front of you or place them behind your back.  You can do this without a chair and go as low as you can but always remember to keep your knees in alignment with your ankles.  Repeat 15 times and rest one minute.  Repeat the set twice more.

The above are just a few exercises you can do while you're at home.  Pick an exercise a day, or combine three for a full circuit workout.  Again, keep your core engaged at all times. keep knees above angles when squatting.

Other ideas for home workouts; lunge while you vacuum or mop, frog jump from room to room (kids love doing that too!) or even laundry detergent core swings.

Below are some links to some videos that show several of the above exercises and then some.

Home workouts one

Couch exercises

I would also like to share my new website.  I work from home as a freelance graphic designer, painter, and muralist.  I also have an outlet and love for pet portraits.  Check it out and leave me a comment!


Thanks for reading!

Life's Gristle


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