Quick Fitness Hacks by Stephanie Nickel
A few weeks ago I gave some suggestions of how to make housework a workout. Here are some tips (aka “hacks”) to get your exercise in during the day. (Please note: Not all exercises are appropriate for everyone, depending on your level of fitness and specific health issues.)
1. Keep light dumbbells (max. five pounds each) on every level of your home.
To work your upper body . . .
Alternate between bicep curls, triceps extensions, and shoulder presses each time you walk passed the weights. (While you can do several sets of 8-12 repetitions for each muscle group on any given day, it’s best to leave a rest day before working the same muscles again.)
To work your lower body . . .
Hold a weight in each hand and alternate between squats and lunges. There are several different ways to do each of these exercises, so do a little research and mix it up.
2. Leave an exercise mat unrolled somewhere where you will see it often.
Aim to work your core every other day. Don’t forget that your core includes your abdominals, your lower back, and your obliques. Try crunches, planks, leg lifts, and Russian twists.
Note: It’s best to avoid old-fashioned sit-ups because they can put a great deal of strain on your back.
3. Do the same with a stability ball.
While you must use caution when using a stability ball (or any other piece of exercise equipment) to avoid injury, working out on a stability ball is great exercise—and fun too. (Okay, I admit it, I find exercise in general fun, but that may just be me.)
You can use a stability ball for core work and in place of an exercise bench.
It’s great for limited range-of-motion crunches, oblique lifts, and prone back extensions. (It’s best to prop your feet against the wall while doing these exercises.)
You can also do chest presses—either flat on your back or slightly upright (as if you were on an incline bench)—and prone overhead presses on the ball.
Note: If you can sit on the ball with your legs at 90 degrees, it’s the right size for you.
4. Consider purchasing some good quality equipment.
I suggest a foam roller, resistance bands, a balance cushion or two, a Bosu ball, and a small indoor trampoline. I don’t have all of these pieces of equipment, but I can dream.
The old saying “out of sight, out of mind” holds true for exercise equipment. If you leave your workout equipment where you’ll see it, it just may call your name and encourage you to get moving.
If you are unfamiliar with any of these exercises, purchase an up-to-date, illustrated book appropriate for your fitness level or check out Google or YouTube. (One of these days I’ll figure out how to use my webcam to demonstrate the exercises I suggest. Like many of you, I am a visual learner. But until then . . .)
Check out other articles by Stephanie
Steph Beth Nickel is an author, a freelance editor and writer, a labour doula, and a former personal trainer.