Is your workout routine getting stale? Try adding in these do-anywhere, equipment-free moves. They’re designed to improve the main components of everyday fitness—endurance, strength, balance and flexibility.
Include this circuit in your routine at least two days a week. Build up to completing three rounds.
1. Jumping Jacks
Even a short bout of this aerobic exercise can boost your heart rate and work all muscle groups.
How to: Begin standing with your feet together and your arms at your sides. Then jump your legs out past your hips as your arms reach above your head. Jump back to feet together as your arms return to your sides. Do as many as you can in 30 seconds.
2. The Plank
This static strengthening exercise focuses on the muscles of the back, abdomen, hips, pelvis and buttocks that make up your core. A strong core offers stability and can help you prevent lower back injuries.
How to: Begin by lying on your belly with your toes tucked under, elbows bent and forearms on the ground. Keep elbows close to your sides and aligned with your shoulders. Push your body off the ground, supporting your weight with your forearms.
Don’t let your low back sag or your hips arch upward. Hold your position (but not your breath) for more than five seconds. Work up to 30 or 60 seconds.
Squats help you perform daily activities, such as picking things up off the floor or digging a box out from the back of the closet. They help build strength in the abdominals, legs and hips and promote flexibility and stability in the joints.
How to: Stand with your arms at your sides, feet a little more than hip distance apart, and your toes turned slightly outwards. Sit down as low as you can go comfortably without lifting your heels off the floor. Push your weight into your heels to rise back up to standing. Repeat eight to 12 times.
4. The Push-Up
This move will strengthen your arms, chest and shoulders. Stronger muscles help boost your metabolic rate so you can continue to burn calories even when you’re still.
How to: Begin in a high plank position with hands on the floor and arms straight. Slowly bend elbows to lower your body to the floor without letting your low back sag or your hips rise. Try to lower yourself until your chin touches the floor. Then, imagine you are pushing the floor away to straighten your arms. Gradually build up to eight to 12 reps.
See how to do planks, push-ups, squats and other exercises by visiting http://www.acefitness.org and searching for “exercise library.”
Sources: American College of Sports Medicine, American Council on Exercise, American Heart Association, Arthritis Foundation, Harvard Health Publishing, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health