Once the temperature drops, all my motivation to get outside and stay active plummets. I’m not brave enough to commit to running or biking in frigid weather. Maybe you are. Props to you. But for all those cowards like me, now is the time to turn to indoor workouts. If you have dedicated space and machinery to outfit yourself with a home gym, this article probably isn’t for you. We’re here to help folks with small living spaces tackle easy at home workouts.
What Do I Need?
There’s no shortage of workout and home gym equipment that is compact enough to handle small spaces. These tools are great for indoor workouts, but it can get even simpler. Really all you need to get a good at-home workout is a little time and creativity. Block out anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes of your day for a good exercise. And create a little space for yourself by shifting around some furniture or even just clearing out a little space near your bed.
If you do want to pick up a few inexpensive pieces of workout gear to improve your at home exercises, the first things on your list should be:
- Yoga Mat: If you don’t want to scuff up floors or lose traction, a cheap yoga mat is a great tool for indoor workouts.
- Jump Rope: Get your heart rate up without taking up too much space. Jump ropes are cheap, durable, and portable so you can bring your workout on the go.
- Dumbbells: A cheap set of 5- or 10-pound dumbbells can upgrade any simple workout. Plus, they don’t take up too much space. Simply keep them in a closet or under your bed until you want to do a few lunges or push-ups.
The Best At-Home Workouts For Winter
Planks: A simple yet effective way to work out your whole body at home. Keep your elbows and forearms on the ground and rest on your toes keeping your body straight. Hold this position for at least a minute at a time. The key to a good plank is to engage your core muscles, which helps to support your spine and keep your body in a straight line. To engage your core, imagine that you are trying to bring your belly button back towards your spine. You can also try adding in variations such as side planks or plank jacks to challenge your muscles in different ways.
Bicycles: This is a great way to strengthen your core muscles, including your abs, obliques, and lower back. Lay on your back with your legs in the air, hands behind your head, and lower back pressed into floor. Lift your head, shoulders, and upper back off the ground. As you exhale, lift your head, shoulders, and upper back off the ground. Try to bring your right elbow towards your left knee as you straighten your right leg out. At the same time, bring your left elbow towards your right knee as you straighten your left leg out. Keep that up for at least a minute while alternating sides.
Squats: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes facing forward.As you inhale, bend your knees and lower your hips as if you are sitting back into a chair. Make sure to keep your feet flat on the ground and your knees in line with your toes. Don’t forget to engage your core by pulling your belly button back towards your spine. This will help to support your spine and keep your balance as you squat. Try to go as low as you can while keeping your core engaged and your back straight. You should aim to get your thighs parallel to the ground, or even slightly lower if you can. As you exhale, push through your heels to stand back up to the starting position. Pro tip: add weights like those dumbbells you picked up or use something heavy like a coffee table book.
Lunges: This exercise strengthens your lower body, including your legs, hips, and glutes. To start a body weight lunge, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands on your hips. As you inhale, take a large step forward with your right foot, landing on the ball of your foot. As you exhale, lower your body until your left thigh is parallel to the ground. Make sure to keep your core engaged and your back straight as you lunge. As you inhale again, push through your right heel to return to the starting position. Repeat the exercise on the other side by taking a large step forward with your left foot and lowering your body until your right thigh is parallel to the ground. Do 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps on each side.
Push-Ups: Don’t mess with a classic. To start a push-up, place your hands on the ground slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and extend your legs out behind you, balancing on the balls of your feet. Keep your body straight from head to toe, forming a straight line from your head to your heels. Engage your core by pulling your belly button back towards your spine. This will help to support your spine and keep your body in a straight line. As you inhale, lower your body by bending your elbows and lowering your chest towards the ground. Try to keep your elbows close to your body as you lower down. As you exhale, push back up to the starting position, straightening your arms and returning to the plank position. Mix things up with some weights or hey try some one-handed push-ups. Do these in sets of 20.
Dips: Another simple exercise anyone can do at home. Simply grab a chair and sit down. Slide your butt off the chair while you use your arms to hold yourself up. Bend at the elbow and drop down towards the floor. Straighten yourself up. Do these in sets of 20.
Jumping Rope: Yes, you’ll need a jump rope, but this is a great way to get your blood pumping and get your heart rate up. Go as fast as you feel comfortable but try to keep it going for at least 5 to 10 minutes at a time.
Jumping Jacks: Another classic, easy at-home workout. No equipment needed. To start a jumping jack, stand with your feet together and your arms at your sides. As you jump up, spread your legs out to the sides while simultaneously raising your arms above your head. As you land, bring your feet back together while simultaneously lowering your arms back to your sides. Do these in 1-minute intervals.
The Best At Home 10 Minute Workout
Short on time but want to get in a decent indoor workout? This simple yet effective 10 minute workout won’t take up too much space in your home. If you have the time, consider repeating to get up to 30 minutes a day. But, if you want an easy full-body workout to get you started, this is it.
- Jumping Jacks: Start with some easy cardio and do a minute of jumping jacks.
- Push-Ups: Drop down and start with three sets of 20 push-ups. Take about a minute or two with these.
- Planks: Do two sets of plants at a minute each.
- Lunges: Get up and do two sets of lunges, 10 on both sides. Add in some light weights. This should take about two minutes.
- Dips: Grab a chair and do 2 sets of 20 dips. Again, take about two minutes with these.
- Jumping Rope: Wind down with about a minute of jumping rope at your own pace.
Other At-Home Workout Ideas
In addition to some of the strength workouts explained above, there are some great yoga and stretching workouts you can try out from the comfort of your living room. YouTube has some great free yoga lessons that you can try.
Also, try mixing up workouts like committing to a brief 10-minute workout solely focused on cardio or core strength. Change these up every day.
Most importantly, try to develop a daily routine. And, if you can, brave the outdoors even for just a brief walk around your neighborhood.