The New Year will soon enter its third month; is your resolution still echoing in your head? Have you done a thing about that extra rung around your waist yet? What about the biceps that you promised yourself? I know, I know… your boss has been working you to death and you really don’t have time to go the gym; and those exercise machines are so darn expensive…
But you really don’t have to spend a fortune and train like an Olympian to get a world-class workout. The fundamentals of fitness have been around forever simply because they work. With no fancy equipment involved, you can practice them whenever you want and wherever you can, for free!
Some simple tricks you can do:
- Jumping jack, the high school gym class staple is one of the best way to get your hear pumping and burn calories. By jumping up and down, you can also strengthen your bones to help prevent osteoporosis. Jump to a position with your legs spread wide and hands touching overhead and then return to a position with your feet together and arms at the sides. Practice at your own pace and gradually build up your endurance.
- Push-up, the gold standard of upper-body exercise, uses your own body weight to exercise biceps, triceps and chest muscles. If it’s too hard for you in the beginning, you may do some on your knees. Form is important: Place your hands shoulder-width apart and keep your back straight as you lower your chest to the ground. Don’t be discouraged if you can do only one or two; aim to add one more each time, and you will gain strength over time.
- Sit–up or Crunch is a quick way to get stronger abdominal muscles. Lie down with your back on the floor, typically with your knees bent and hands behind you head or across your chest, then raise both the upper and lower back from the floor until reaching a sitting position. If sit-up proves to be too difficult, you may instead perform crunch, which requires you to only lift your shoulders. Again, practice at your own pace and try to do more each day.
- Squat is an exercise that trains primarily the muscles of the thighs, hips and buttocks, as well as strengthening the bones, ligaments and insertion of the tendons throughout the lower body. Start with a standing position; spread your feet at shoulder width with hands and toes pointing forward; lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor before returning to standing position. You may even begin with a chair behind you when squatting until you get stronger.
- Brisk walking is popular because it’s easy on your body and fun to do. It is a natural form of exercise that can help you lower your weight and improve your over-all health condition. Wear comfortable walking shoes and clothing, start slow to warm up, and increase your pace to a point that it becomes difficult to carry a conversation. You may invite a partner, choose a scenic route and simply have fun with it.
- Jogging may be more challenging for some, but this king of exercises, with its faster pace than walking, gives you a thorough workout from head to toes and inside and out. You will never see a marathoner with an ounce of extra fat. As with walking, you will need to wear comfortable running shoes and clothing, have sufficient warm-up, start slow and don’t punish yourself. If you can make it a social event, all the better. With time, you will emerge a slim, trim, happier and healthier person.
These time-tested fundamentals of fitness are good for almost everyone, as long as you are willing to take you first step or jump. There are no membership fees to pay, and no expensive equipment to buy; all you gain will be a nicely tone body, better physical and mental health, and perhaps a few new good friends.
So what are you waiting for?