Staying active and fitting in workouts while staying at home can feel challenging. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t still get the weight loss benefits of regular exercise without going to the gym. Physical activity of all kinds keeps your body burning calories and shedding excess pounds at a steady rate. That’s why Nutrisystem experts recommend that you get in 30 minutes of activity each day.
With gyms across the country closed due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), you might be feeling stumped on the best way to keep up your fitness routine. To inspire you, we’ve compiled this list of simple home workouts you can do right in your living room—no special equipment or training needed. Each takes about 10 minutes. To get in your 30 minutes of daily activity, you can do three of them in a row or spread them out over the day and get the same benefits.
Bonus: Exercise reduces stress and helps you to sleep more soundly, which will both make you feel better when you’re stuck at home and speed your progress to your weight loss goal.
Here are 10 easy workouts you can do at home in your living room:
You might remember these exercises from high-school gym class. Jumping jacks, squats, lunges, sit-ups (or crunches) and push-ups are easy to do anywhere. Plus, they stoke your metabolism and tone your muscles. If you haven’t done them in a while, start with five repetitions (or even three) and gradually increase the amount until you can do three sets of 10 for each exercise.
Want to tone up your belly and your arms as you burn calories? Try this: Get into a push-up position with your hands on the floor directly below your shoulders with your arms and legs straight. You can also drop down to your forearms for a more challenging abdominal workout. Now hold the position for 30 seconds (or as long as you can). Remember to keep breathing so your muscles don’t cramp. Repeat three times. As soon as you can, hold the plank for 10 seconds longer and continue increasing at 10-second increments. Stop when you get to three repetitions that you can hold for a full minute.
3. Weight Lifting
Muscles burn calories even when you’re at rest. Strength training turns fat into muscle mass, keeping those calories burning and helping you to look good as you drop the extra weight. And you don’t need dumbbells or other free weights to get in a good strength-building workout. Fill up your reusable water bottles and use them as weights. When full, a 1.5-liter water bottle weighs a bit more than three pounds.
Hold the bottles in your hands as you lift both arms straight out to the side five times. Also try five simple curls and 10 one-two punches with alternating arms. Want to work with heavier weights to gain even more strength? Use gallon-size plastic milk jugs—when full of water, they come in at about eight pounds each.
4. Stair Stepping
Climbing stairs tones your core muscles, strengthens your heart and lungs and burns more calories than simply walking. For an easy stair-stepping workout you can do in your living room, set up a sturdy box or milk crate in front of your TV. Step up and down, alternating legs for 10 minutes while watching your favorite shows.
5. Mountain Climbers
Here’s another easy workout to do while watching TV that will tighten your core, arm and shoulder muscles while you burn off calories. Start like you are doing a plank, with your hands below your shoulders and your arms holding you up with your legs straight behind you. Bring each knee up to your chest, alternating them as you go. The movement will seem as if you are “climbing” up the floor. Do 10 repetitions with each leg and gradually increase your speed, if you can.
6. Jumping Rope
If you think jumping rope is just for kids, try it for just one minute. You’ll quickly realize it challenges your coordination and stamina more than you may remember from your days on a playground. If you devote a few minutes to jumping rope each day, you’ll notice that you are gaining strength in your legs and core muscles, while exercising your heart and lungs, too. To jump rope indoors, be sure that you have about a four-by-six feet clearance in the area around you, with about 10 inches of clearance above your head.
You can build up your arm and leg strength, improve your flexibility and posture and tone up your belly with home workouts known as Pilates (pronounced pill-ah-tees). It involves a series of movements with names like the “Elephant” and the “Swan” that are low-impact, so they don’t put too much strain on anyone who is new to exercising. Plus, they’re easy to do at home!
You can purchase a DVD with home workouts to follow along with or just learn the moves from videos online. It may not look challenging when you watch. However, once you try it, you’ll see why it’s one of the most popular exercise routines for people of all walks of life.
8. Tai Chi
Millions of people in Asia practice this traditional form of martial arts for their daily exercise. Tai chi (pronounced “tie chee”) is a low-impact activity that builds your strength and balance. It also reduces stress and encourages mindfulness or being aware of your body and thoughts. Tai chi home workouts typically consist of a series of postures or poses that are done slowly and with relaxed “flow.” Some tai chi routines include breathing exercises and simple stretches. Check out videos online for a relaxing yet effective workout.
Make a playlist, get your body moving to the beat and you’ll burn calories as you feel the joy of letting yourself go to the rhythm of your favorite tunes. If you have a partner handy, try a waltz or foxtrot, which burn about 112 calories in 30 minutes for a 155-pound person, says Harvard Health. Like a faster pace? Disco or square dancing can melt off as many as 205 calories in a half hour.
Being stuck at home can be a great opportunity to get your house or apartment as tidy and clean as you always want it to be. Better yet, vacuuming, mopping and other cleaning chores help you to burn calories, too—up to 167 in 30 minutes for a 155-pound person, says Harvard Health. That’s about as many as calories as it takes to do moderate calisthenics for the same period of time. You might call that a great two-for-one deal: losing weight while making your home your safe haven.