Wanting to get in shape isn’t the same thing as actually achieving your fitness goals. Plenty of people would love to lose weight, build muscle, and improve their general well-being. Unfortunately, many never put their fitness plans into action.
There are dozens of possible reasons for this. If you’ve struggled to get in shape, odds are good that you know just how easy it is to come up with excuses to not work out.
Lack of access to equipment is a common one. If you can’t justify paying for a gym membership (with an average cost just shy of $60 a month) and don’t have space in your home for fitness equipment, you might assume you simply can’t exercise effectively.
That’s not the case. While the right equipment can certainly facilitate specific types of workouts, there are many powerful exercises you can perform without machines or gear. The following are just a few examples worth considering.
You may not know it, but all those push-ups you did back in Phys Ed offered major benefits during your school years. By using your own weight as resistance, doing push-ups helps you add muscle to your upper body without any dumbbells or barbells. As with any form of resistance exercise, you’ll burn calories while performing them.
Push-ups are also very efficient. They target several muscle groups with a single motion, helping you get fit while saving time.
Additionally, push-ups build core strength. This results in better posture and reduced back pain.
This is another Phys Ed classic you should continue to take advantage of in adult life. Jumping jacks are a well-rounded exercise, building strength while also boosting endurance.
Performing jumping jacks helps you burn calories when you don’t have much space for working out. Although the amount of calories you’ll burn depends on a number of factors, research shows that an average 155-pound person will burn approximately 167 calories by performing jumping jacks (or similar calisthenic exercises) for half an hour.
Squats are so powerful that some experts claim this is the best move to perform on a daily basis if you legitimately only have time for one type of exercise.
Yes, some squats involve adding extra resistance with weights, but you can still get major benefits from bodyweight squats. They’re also simple to perform. All you have to do is stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, with your hands behind your head. Bend your knees and sit back with your hips as if sitting down in a chair. Go as low as you can (without letting your knees extend beyond your toes), hold the position for as long as you can, then return to the starting position. Squats are so simple you could easily perform a few at your desk.
They also help you get in shape by burning calories and building lower body muscle. On top of that, performing squats helps lay the foundation for future workouts. If you’re into hiking, running, or any other activity that requires lower body strength, squats should play a key role in your fitness routine.
Want to add an extra challenge to your squats? When returning to the standing position, jump up, then return back to the squat position upon landing. This modification results in an even more intense workout.
You need a strong core for many reasons. With sufficient core strength, maintaining proper posture is easier, lifting heavy objects is safer, and lower back pain is less likely to be a major problem.
That’s why fitness experts still recommend crunches (which are superior to full sit-ups) as a means of working out your core.
Of course, you’ll get the best results if you have proper form. Lie on your back, keep your knees bent, and plant your feet firmly on the floor. It helps to have someone hold your feet down, but if no one is around, you can plant your feet beneath a couch or other low surface to get the same effect.
Keep your hands behind your head with your elbows pointed away from your ears. Exhale, then pull your abdomen towards the floor. Don’t make the mistake of pushing off the floor with your elbows; you want to focus on targeting your core muscles. While pulling your abdomen in, lift up your head, neck, and shoulders. Hold the position for a moment, then breathe in and carefully roll your body back down to the floor. Repeating this exercise on a regular basis will build major endurance in your core muscles.
Crunches are very effective for a number of reasons. However, fitness experts agree that no single exercise works out your entire core. Adding planks into your routine will help fill in the gaps.
Planks are also very simple. Start in a push-up position, then lower your arms so your forearms (rather than your hands) are supporting your weight. Hold this position for about 30 seconds.
You can also target other areas of your core by resting on your right forearm and facing your entire body to the left. After 30 seconds, switch to the other side.
Planks activate muscles that crunches miss. They’re also effective at boosting flexibility. If you want a strong core (and impressive abs for the beach), add them to your workouts.
Running in Place
Running is one of the most popular low-equipment exercises, requiring only the right shoes. That said, you may not have immediate access to a track, park, running trail, or jogger-friendly neighborhood.
That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy many of the benefits running offers. Simply running in place is still an effective way to burn calories. In fact, an average 135-pound person running in place for half an hour will burn about 292 calories. The more you weigh, the more calories you’ll burn.
Yes, you’ll likely get better results from running on a track or treadmill, but if your only option is running in your apartment, you can still get fit.
Your friends who can’t stop raving about the benefits of yoga are right. Yoga improves flexibility, builds strength, reduces your heart rate, and much more. As a low-impact exercise, yoga is also ideal for older people who may need to protect their joints.
It’s true that you’ll benefit from using one piece of equipment during a yoga session: a mat. Luckily, it’s not hard to find decent yoga mats that cost less than $20.
It’s also not hard to find YouTube videos guiding you through yoga sessions. If you can’t afford a yoga center membership, online videos make perfectly fine substitutes.
That’s a major point to take away from this article. Assuming you can’t get in shape because you don’t have enough money to buy fancy equipment or join a fitness center is a surefire way to stop yourself from reaching your goals. The truth is, if you want to get in shape, all you need is your body, some space, and the willingness to embrace a fitness routine.
Of course, you should always consult with your doctor before doing so. Once you do, your fitness goals are in reach!
Want more content like this? Sign up here with your email for $20 off any appointment, special deals, and health-related content sent to you on a regular basis.
About Slingshot Health
Slingshot Health is a health tech startup that brings top healthcare providers and patients together. Patients bid on the cost of services and healthcare providers accept bids based on availability. Slingshot Health is unique in that it is a mutual marketplace putting both patients and providers back in control. Visit us at slingshothealth.com.