At-Home Exercises That Go Beyond Walking Around the Block

If you feel like you’ve strolled past the same tree in your neighborhood a thousand times, it may be time to switch up your at-home fitness routine. Even if you aren’t going to the gym every day, you can still get a high-quality workout at home.

Find your favorite activities

Working out improves heart health, builds bone strength and decreases symptoms of anxiety and depression. Plenty of fitness experts will tout which new workout routine works best. But the exercise program that’s right for you is simply the one that you’ll stick to.

If you dread lifting weights, focus on body weight workouts or low-impact alternatives like Pilates. If just the thought of running makes you want to ice your joints, try biking or swimming laps instead. There are many types of exercise that will bring benefits — the key to achieving those benefits is consistency.

Gym alternatives

With a few strategic pieces of equipment, you can put together a home gym for your patio, garage or basement. Choose a few versatile pieces that you’ll use often, such as a set of dumbbells, resistance bands or a yoga mat. And, of course, you can get a great workout in with no equipment at all! Body weight exercises like squats, push-ups, burpees and jumping jacks can all get your heart rate pumping.

If your exercise motivation comes from a group environment, consider joining a weekly in-person or virtual class. A wide variety of YouTube videos bring all the benefits of instructor-led workouts into your own home.

Find an exercise buddy

Some of us depend on the accountability of working out with friends or family. There are plenty of activities you can enjoy with a partner or group even if you’re not at the gym.

Traditional biking or electric biking are both low-impact options that are easy to do with others. When it’s nice out, parks or large backyards are great spaces for group yoga or bootcamp-style classes. Or consider finding a  tennis partner or a friend who loves golfing. Whatever your sport of choice is, working out with a buddy can greatly increase your motivation — and theirs!

Safe stretches to do at your desk

Whether you work from home or in an office, make sure you take breaks and step away from the computer at least once an hour. Complete these safe stretches a few times a day to decrease upper back pain and reduce your risk of tech neck:

  • Shoulder openers: Sit with both feet firmly planted on the floor. Clasp your hands and extend your palms toward the ceiling. Straighten the arms. You should feel a stretch in the shoulders and upper back. For a stretch in the sides, gently bend toward the right and left a few times.
  • Chest expanders: Scoot to the edge of your chair and keep your feet firmly planted. Clasp your hands behind your back. Slowly draw the shoulder blades together and try to lift the hands slightly away from your lower back. Hold for 10 seconds.
  • Trunk rotations: Still at the edge of your seat, place your left hand on the back of the chair. Bring your right hand to your left thigh and slowly turn your torso toward the left. You should feel a stretch in the upper back. Hold for five to 10 seconds and repeat on the other side.

Remember to talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine. Find a primary care provider or cardiologist near you.