They say people who have no time for exercise often end up spending time with illness. Even if you are clueless about the number of diseases or horrible health conditions it can prevent, ease and delay; daily workouts are a great way to reboot both mentally and physically. Occasional sessions of grueling workouts release pent up negativity, condition your mind to get a firmer grip on your body and empower you to take greater control in life.
Most of us start working out simply to look good. But an initiative triggered by vanity can soon change into a habit that drives you to be strong and successful.
However, often there come busy phases in our life when some of us just can’t make it to the gym. Don’t let your absence from the gym wreck your connection with fitness. Continue defining your physical progress by creating some space for workouts at home. Although some of the most difficult exercises require absolutely nothing else but your own bodyweight; we recommend investing in some basic tools to not only adjust the difficulty of your exercises but also leverage their benefits by adding different dimensions to your typical routine. The following fuss free simple devices can take your workouts to the next level and help you develop strength, stamina and endurance all at the same time.
1. Yoga Mat:
No matter how spacious or clean your home might be you are highly unlikely to just drop down in any corner to crank out a few crunches, push-ups and squats. A typical 6 mm thick yoga mat has a non-slip, water resistant rubber surface that provides a sturdy base to perform the hardest yoga poses, the deepest stretches and the most agonizing abs exercise without the fear of accidentally shifting or falling over. Apart from creating adherence to your workout corner, a yoga mat is ideal to just lie back on to at the end of the day to wipe out the kinks in your stressed out spine by doing simple pelvic tilts as shown in the picture.
2. Skipping rope:
If you think skipping is child’s play, then try it out some day. Boxers and Olympic athletes do not just jump rope to sharpen their reflexes and augment their co-ordination because it is easy! It is a high impact activity suitable for people of all age groups because you can lower the risk of impact by controlling the speed of your rope. But no matter how slow you skip, it demands constant involvement of your entire body. The arms and shoulders will feel the burn while turning the rope, the abs braced tight for balance and the legs are constantly engaged to control the timing of the jump. A simple double leg bounce technique and alternate leg jumping are worthwhile skills to improve physical conditioning. Apart, from making your workouts short, fun and intense, if you alternate between a few sets of bodyweight or abs exercises with 2-5 minutes of skipping; you will be torching fat at twice the speed in half the time!
Whether you want to build integrated functional fitness or strengthen a weak body part, a harmless looking pair of weights has perhaps the maximum number of applications to bolster each and every part of your body and keep you safe from injury. Hexagonal shaped dumbbells will have greater functionality. While adding resistance, they can be substituted for push up bars. They can also play substitute in several other exercises that require barbells, kettle bells or a medicine ball. Ideally, it is best to keep a light and a heavy pair of weights handy at home. Women can invest in a 2 kg and a 5 kg pair. While, men might be better off using a 5kg and a 10kg pair to avail the benefit of maximum range of exercises. Check out bodybuilding.com to go through a dumbbell only, basic full body workout suitable for both men and women.
4. Ankle Weights:
If you find yourself hitting a plateau and want to sculpt sharper abs and legs or simply want to take your pulls-ups and dips to the next level, then ankle weights are ideal to feel a deeper burn with lesser repetitions. They particularly befit all kinds of leg lifts like side-kicks, leg raises, bicycle crunches and donkey kicks.
Warning: There is a popular myth that wearing ankle weights while walking and running burns more fat and conditions the body to get faster. Especially in case of extremely overweight people, wearing additional weights while doing cardio will prove to be rather high risk; putting their joints and ligaments under additional stress. Ideally, ankle weights are best suited for abs and leg workouts to prevent age related bone degeneration and increase knee health.
Donkey Kicks: A popular booty shaping move often performed with ankle weights
5. Aerobic stepper:
Optimal fitness does not just concern losing weight and burning calories. It is reflected in the ability to perform high impact activities with perfect form and control. Not everyone can seamlessly proceed from power walking to running because a sedentary lifestyle wrecks the integrity of our neuromuscular pathways.
A few simple drills done on an aerobic stepper 4-8 inch high, will go a long way in shortening your response time, sharpening your reflexes, improve hand-eye co-ordination, build functionally strong legs and add more grace to your general body language. Similar to skipping, working on the aerobic stepper requires absolute vigilance and ten minutes on it every other day greatly improves the fat burning potential of the body. When teamed with resistance training circuits like a dumbbell workout mentioned above, your metabolism will shoot through the roof and you will witness never before seen definition in your legs and abs!
The following video elaborates upon some of the most basic moves that can be done on the step. Once you master these moves you will be able to escalate the intensity of your average daily workout and hence be able to exercise harder, smarter and for a lesser period of time while boosting naturally produced human growth hormone inside your body that leads to prolonged youth and mobility.