Spring is here, and with it often comes the rainiest time of the year. If you’re on a fitness journey that often takes you outside for a nice walk, hiking, or gardening, a rainy day could derail your plans But, they don’t have to! There are a number of exercises that are simple to do, without a great deal of equipment, right in your home.
We’ve already touched on a few ways that you can work out, whatever the weather, like when it’s snowing. We’ve also talked about specific exercises for seniors just starting to improve their fitness or those who are homebound. Today, we’ll be focusing on simple exercises that you don’t need a guide for and that can be done in your own home. Some won’t require any equipment, and some will only require inexpensive equipment that you can easily get online. No treadmills or weight sets necessary! We’ll also be focusing on cardiovascular health and basic leg strength to make it easier to get around.
Jump rope is a classic playground activity that’s as simple as twirling a rope and jumping. For adults, it’s actually a great cardio exercise, too. If you’re unfamiliar with jumping rope, it’s super easy to get the hang of! Hold the ends of the jump rope in either hand with the rope behind you, your elbows at your side, your hands stretched out, and feet together. Twirl your wrists from front to back so that the rope swings over your head. As the rope nears, jump an inch or two so the rope glides under your feet. Continue the rotation of the rope, keeping your arms still except for the rotation of your wrists. You can also jump without a rope, as long as you maintain the form discussed above.
Jumping rope is an extremely effective cardio workout, especially when it comes to burning calories. In a 15-minute workout, the average person can expect to burn between 200 and 300 calories. Jumping rope can improve your heart health, coordination and balance, and bone density to fight osteoporosis. There’s also evidence that jumping rope can strengthen your legs and lower your chances of injuring yourself. Best of all, it can be done virtually anywhere, with or without equipment.
Jumping rope works best as part of a HIIT workout routine or in short bursts. If you’re interested in jumping rope, we suggest starting with a short burst of jumping followed by a short rest, repeating for a set amount of time. You can adjust these times depending on your fitness. To start, try jumping rope for 30 seconds, followed by a 30 second rest, and then repeat those steps for 10 minutes. As you get fitter, you can add 10 seconds to your rope jumping and remove 10 seconds from your rest. Keeping the intervals to a minute make it easier to monitor.
A lateral shuffle is an equipment-free exercise that gets the whole body moving. Many will find it even easier to do than jumping rope because there’s no jumping involved. All you have to do is stand slightly bent forward with your feet shoulder-width apart before stepping far to the right and bringing your feet together on the right. Now, step back to where you were and bringing your feet together. That’s one set of shuffles.
Lateral shuffles are a good cardio exercise because they get your heart pumping and warm up a number of core and leg muscles. Depending on the speed, your weight, and the amount of time you go, you can also burn some calories, though not as many as jumping rope. The biggest benefits of lateral shuffles are for your legs. Shuffles can strengthen your legs and improve your balance while helping you become faster, more agile, and more reflexive.
There are many variations and speeds on this basic exercise. Some squat to exercise the thighs more. Others will shuffle multiple times to the side before returning to the other side. In this case, we’ll shuffle from side to side for a few seconds before resting. Lay your jump rope from before out straight and shuffle from one side of the rope to the other. Go at a speed that feels comfortable to you. Do this for 45 seconds, then rest for 15 seconds. Repeat the sets for 10 minutes.
Many people have stairs in their home, and they’re usually just used to go from one floor to the other. If you’re stuck in the house and looking for a great exercise, those stairs suddenly become a viable option. This is one of the simpler exercises to describe. Just use the steps as intended. You can do specialized exercises or jog up and down the steps like Rocky to burn more calories, but if you’re just starting your fitness journey, simply stepping to the first step up and down can be effective.
As discussed in that video above, stair exercises can be used to strengthen your hip and leg muscles, which can improve your balance. There’s even some evidence that stair climbing can be good for your heart. Exercising on the stairs is also highly effective at burning calories and weight loss. The average person can expect to burn anywhere from 500 to 700 calories per hour.
How you exercise on the stairs depends on your fitness. Depending on your fitness level, you can adapt the exercise. If you’re starting to work on getting fit, you could climb to the first step before stepping down. If that’s too easy, you could try going up a few stairs before going back down. Try walking up and down the entire flight of stairs when you feel ready. If you’re especially fit, try jogging the stairs, being careful not to fall. Do each of these for 45 seconds, taking a 15 second breather between one-minute sets for ten sets, or about 10 minutes total.
Speed skater lunges, sometimes called skater squats or simply speed skaters, are similar to lateral shuffles in that they require a no equipment and get you moving. To do a speed skater lunge, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bring your left foot past the back of your right foot, bending both knees until you’re in a curtsy position. Return to your standing position before doing the same on the opposite side. Congratulations, you did a speed skater! Traditionally, speed skaters remove the “return to center” step, instead lunging from one side to the other, but if you’re just starting out, it may be difficult. We suggest giving yourself that opportunity to balance and perfect the form of the exercise before doing traditional lunges.
Speed skaters utilize a large portion of your body, from your core to leg muscles. For seniors, stronger core and leg muscles can equate to enhanced mobility and balance, less back pain, and better posture. In terms of the calories burned, you can expect to burn anywhere from 200 to 250 calories in an hour.
A solid HIIT workout for speed skater lunges would be much in the same vein as the lateral shuffles. Do speed skaters repeatedly for 45 seconds before taking a 15 second rest. Continue this for ten minutes. As with any of these exercises, feel free to adjust the exercise time as well as the rest time depending on your fitness. If you’re finding 45 seconds to be a little tough, try 30 seconds of exercise, 30 of rest. If 45 seconds is too easy, try a minute with a 15 second break. Whatever you do, don’t cut out those little rests. They help prevent overworking or injuring yourself.
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Ready to work out and begin your fitness journey? You can combine these in a simple HIIT workout while you’re stuck indoors! Rotate through the exercises in the order we wrote them — jump rope, lateral shuffles, stairs, and speed skaters — for a thorough and effective cardio workout!