Exercising at home is an effective way to reach your exercise goals. Low-impact, bodyweight exercises, which are free and require need no equipment, have been proven to make an impact on overall strength and physical fitness. According to a study by the Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy, many of these exercises brought about a 31% increase in lower body strength after only six weeks.
If you’ve been temporarily sidetracked by an orthopedic injury, want to exercise on your non-gym days or just want to get back on track after the holidays, bodyweight exercises will work your muscles and help you work up a sweat.
Here are five low-impact exercises to get you started.
5 Totally Free Exercises to do at Home. No Equipment Needed.
1-Squat to jab
The perennial favorite that everyone loves to hate is the squat. It’s one of the best exercises around for low-impact aerobic work and for strengthening the lower back, shoulders, abs, and calves.
- Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Keep your arms at your sides.
- Squat down with chest upright and eyes focused straight ahead.
- Stand up, and throw a cross-body punch with each arm.
- Squat down and repeat.
There’s not much you can do to improve upon the tried-and-true pushup. There are lots of variations, but the garden variety always does the trick.
- While on your knees, place your hands slightly outside the width your shoulders.
- Extend your legs while holding your body up with your arms.
- Lower your body and bring your chest almost to the floor. Keep your upper arms in a 45-degree angle. Pause slightly.
- Push back up by straightening your arms.
- Keep your stomach tight and try to keep your body straight during the entire exercise.
- Step on a stair or curb with your right leg. Leave your left leg suspended without stepping and hold for one count.
- Put your left foot down, then step down with your right. Repeat on the other side for 10-15 repetitions per leg.
4-Standing alternating toe touches
A great cardio move that will make you feel like you’re in Babes in Toyland.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Lift your right leg straight up. Reach your left hand toward your right toe while keeping your back as straight as possible.
- Repeat with your left leg and right hand.
A slightly more interesting version than a jumping jack, you’ll be jumping, squatting and twisting your way to a higher heart rate.
- Start with your feet and hands together.
- Jump or step into a squat landing with your knees bent, feet wider than shoulder-width apart, and toes pointed slightly out. Reach your right hand to the sky and left hand to the floor.
- Jump or step back up into starting position.
- Jump or step back into a squat, reaching your left hand up and right hand down.
- Continue jumping or stepping and switching arms.
Things to consider
- Always warm up for 5-10 minutes before starting any exercise. Simply walking in place for a few minutes will get your blood flowing, relax your muscles and lower your risk of injury.
- You can modify many of the exercises above if your body / injury requires it or they get too easy. Beginners should start with 10-12 repetitions to build muscle strength. If you’re already physically fit, add hand weights or try alternative versions to mix things up and increase muscle endurance.
- As with any new exercise routine, if you are under a doctor’s care, please consult your physician who can offer guidance based on your health status and fitness level