by Matthew Denos
(Saint Louis, MO, USA)
Young woman exercising with resistance bands at home
The obesity epidemic is getting out of hand. Three-quarters of Americans are estimated to be overweight and one out of every four is obese.
After all the miracle-cures have failed to show results, people are realizing that weight loss happens the old fashioned way: by eating less and increasing activity.
Meanwhile, the bad economy has hit most people’s pocketbooks. With the need to minimize expenses and to budget funds, there’s not much leftover to spend on an expensive gym membership.
This do-it-yourself home gym may be just the answer. Exercising at home saves you not only money, but time, too. No more traveling to the gym, or finding excuses to not go at all. And you don’t need to invest in fancy machines, either.
Here is a simple home gym you can set up for very little cash outlay, by purchasing three simple pieces of equipment: exercise bands, an exercise ball and a jump rope. Now to make your home gym complete, all you need to know is how to use them.
Do It Yourself Home Gym: Exercises You Can Do At Home
1. Exercise Bands
These are also called resistance bands. They’re long, stretchy, heavy-duty elastic bands with a handle at each end.
They are inexpensive, lightweight, easy to put away when not in use and, as compared to hand weights, easy to take with you on a trip.
Unlike barbells, exercise bands are appropriate for people at any level of fitness. They’re available in light, medium or heavy resistance, individually or in packs, costing anywhere from $3 to $15.
You will know which band you need by how easily you can pull on the band. Using the biceps workout below as an example, you should feel resistance from the band when you pull up, and feel it when you lower it again.
Biceps workout: step on the center of the band with one foot to hold it in place. Slowly bend your arms, raising your hands to your shoulders, and lower slowly.
Rowing: Sit on the floor with your legs together and extended in front of you. Loop the band under the arches of your feet and hold the band handles.
While keeping a straight back, extend your arms forward, then slowly pull your elbows back (as though rowing). Hold for two seconds and release slowly. Try 10 repetitions to start and when you’re ready, move up to 25.
2. Exercise Jump Rope
If the last time you jumped rope was when you were chanting “Cinderella, dressed in yellow”, then you may be surprised to discover how wonderful an aerobic workout you can get from jumping rope.
This simple activity is low-impact and yet can be as strenuous as jogging.You will work muscles in the legs and arms, all the while building up cardiovascular endurance. And on top of all that, you will burn plenty of calories, helping with your weight-loss goals.
The main thing is to ensure that you have the proper length of rope. When you stand on the center of the rope and pull the handles up, the handle ends should come to the level of your armpits.
Wear cross-trainer shoes with good support and choose a smooth surface that isn’t too rigid. A wooden floor or a mowed lawn work well.
Thin carpet is fine but plush pile carpet may cause the rope to catch. Concrete is not a good choice, since the hard surface increases impact and the risk of injury.
When using the rope, keep your elbows near your hips and turn the rope with your wrists and forearms, not with the shoulders. Maintain good posture with your shoulders back and your tummy tucked in.
Only jump high enough to allow the rope to pass under your feet – about a couple of inches off the ground. Keep your knees bent slightly and land on the balls of your feet.
Jumping rope is such a good aerobic workout that it can raise your heart rate quickly, so be sure to slow down if you get winded. Try beginning with about 60 to 70 skips per minute.
This is a large, inflatable ball also known as a therapy ball, because it is often used in physical therapy programs.
By lying across the ball, you can stretch your muscles for both your warm-up and your cool-down routines and relieve tension in your lower back.
Here is an easy exercise to give your hamstrings and abdominal muscles a workout: Sit on the ball as you would on a chair, with your thighs parallel to the floor – and begin bouncing.
Here are more advanced exercises that you can work up to as you develop your exercise regimen.
The ball does require some coordination and common sense? you wouldn’t want to place it near sharp-edged furniture, for instance. Also, while it isn’t nearly as dangerous as a trampoline, it’s possible to roll off the ball, so bear that in mind.
Exercise Balls come in various sizes, depending on your height, but a 24-inch ball will run about $10 to $20. They aren’t as easily put away as exercise bands, but they’re available in a variety of colors, from shimmering silver or blue to cheerful shades of red, orange and yellow, making them an attractive addition to your D-I-Y home gym. Keeping the ball out in the open will be a good reminder that it’s time to slim down with some simple exercises.
It is natural to “feel the burn” when you add exercise to your weight loss program. You will burn calories and lose weight for hours after the exercise session ends, as your body repairs tissue.
The wonderful thing about resistance training is that it builds up not only muscle, but your bones as well. Aerobic workouts strengthen your heart and lungs. A do it yourself home gym may be just the answer you ‘ve been looking for to enhance weight loss without having to spend a bunch of money.
Matthew Denos is a writer and scientist with a keen interest in fitness and diet programs. His blog focuses on weight loss programs and offersBistro MD coupons and a coupon for Diet To Go, two meal delivery dietplans, and Medifast coupons.