Spring Exercising

(While the edmontonian wants you to be healthy, we also want you to consult with health, medical, and/or exercise professionals before embarking on any new exercise regimes, including those we talk about or mention. You’ve got to find something that works for you and your fitness level. the edmontonian and its contributors aren’t responsible if you injure yourself.)

Fitness at your own pace, at your own place by Jen Hamel

It’s beginning to feel like springtime in Edmonton. Many of you, who have already forgotten your New Year’s resolutions, look at spring as a new beginning. Those who stuck by their fitness goals may want to increase efforts as the weather for wearing shorts, tanks and, dare I say it, bathing suits is fast approaching. I am here to offer you a few tricks and tips to help you achieve that beach body that so many of us long for.

First, I want to tell you that you may not need to go to a gym at all; I lost over 75 pounds and have never been a member of a major gym. I lost all my weight exercising in my living room. There are many ways to improve your fitness level and shed pounds without even leaving the comfort of your own home.

3 Tips to maximize your fitness improvements

Be consistent, plan ahead, and use variety. If you want to see results you have to keep at it, you didn’t get that muffin-top overnight, so don’t expect to see it disappear overnight. Schedule the best time of day to exercise. Is it waking up 30 minutes early to workout before the family gets up? Maybe you have some time after you drop the kids off at school, or maybe you want to relieve stress after a hard day at the office. If you use a variety of different forms of exercise you will have a backup plan if you are unable to perform your regular routine.

Whenever performing bodyweight exercises please ensure that you are using correct form, so that you will not injure yourself. If you are unfamiliar with any of these exercises I recommend hiring a personal trainer for at least a couple of hourly sessions to teach you how to safely and effective perform these and many other bodyweight exercises.

Cardiovascular exercise in your home

Use the stairs more. Carry smaller loads of laundry upstairs making for more trips back to the laundry room. The more times you take the stairs the more calories you are burning.

You can purchase cardio exercise DVDs that you can follow along with, and help keep you motivated on days you don’t feel like exercising. And they help provide a variety to your routine.

March in place while you are doing the dishes or cooking supper.

Don’t just sit on the couch while watching TV. Get up during every commercial break and do jumping jacks/jog on the spot (these calisthenic exercises burn about 10 calories or more per minute, so a five minute commercial break means burning 50 calories)

Dancing in your living room is a great way to get your heart rate up, have fun, and burn off extra calories. So turn up the volume and get that booty shakin’.

Strengthening and toning your muscles at home

You don’t need to go out and purchase a huge home gym to exercise at your place; in fact you can get fit with virtually no equipment. Start by using simple bodyweight exercises, where you are using your own body weight against the force of gravity. This is the way many bootcamp classes are setup.

Performing exercises that use large muscle groups (legs, back, chest) will not only increase your heart rate but maximize your fat burning potential and build lean muscle mass that will increase your metabolism; causing your body to become a “fat burning machine.” Start by doing 10-12 repetitions of each exercise and work up to 15 reps. Here are a few examples of great bodyweight exercises:

  • Squats strengthen the legs and there are many variations to help you mix up your workout, to keep your body guessing, and keep your workout fun and interesting.
  • Pushups strengthen the chest muscles as well as shoulders, back and arms. When done properly they are a very effective tool in your fitness arsenal.
  • Lunges. Ever considered a butt lift? Well, lunges are the non-surgical way to lift and firm your booty, making sure you look hot in your bathing suit at the beach.
  • Plank will improve your overall CORE strength, legs, lower back, abdominals, obliques, shoulders. Variations include plank on forearms, side plank and holding a basic pushup position.

When Jen Hamel isn’t writing for the edmontonian, she’s a professional trainer at OnTheGoFitness.ca

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