10 Simple Home Exercises That Will Help You Burn Major Calories
It's no secret that squeezing in workouts around your work, family and social commitments is sometimes tricky to pull off. But it doesn't have to be that way. "Little exercises done here and there still add up to burn calories and make you stronger," says Jenna Wolfe, certified personal trainer and author of Thinner in 30: Small Changes That Add Up to Big Weight Loss in Just 30 Days. And you don't have to buy equipment, change your schedule or even sweat. Just do this easy home workout throughout the day. Each one takes a minute or two; by nightfall, you'll have worked your whole body. So start your transformation—today.
HOW TO: Make 5 trips up and down a set of stairs for each load of laundry you put away. At the bottom of each trip, lift the laundry basket up to shoulder height 5 times.
TARGETS: Cardiovascular system and arm muscles
HOW TO: Rest your back, neck and head against a wall, with feet about a foot and a half away, then bend your knees, slide your body toward the ground until your thighs are parallel to it, and hold for 15 seconds. (Work up to 1 minute.)
TARGETS: Thigh and glute muscles
HOW TO: Each time you reach for a plate, rather than bending over, squat down as if you're sitting in an imaginary chair, grab the plate, then straighten legs. Make sure your knees don't go past your toes when you squat. (Reach for just one item in the dishwasher at a time.)
TARGETS: Lower body
BUMP-IT-UP BONUS: While sitting, press up on your tiptoes to work your calf muscles, too.
HOW TO: Tighten your stomach muscles as if someone is about to punch you in the gut; hold for as long as you can. (As you practice this each day, you'll gradually increase your time and it will feel easier as you continue.)
HOW TO: Stand about 2 feet from a counter and, with your arms at shoulder height, place your palms against it. Keeping your body in a straight line, do 20 standing push-ups.
TARGETS: Chest and arm muscles
HOW TO: Sit in a chair pulled very close to a desk. With your palms facing up, place them under the desk and push up as hard as you can—as if you were trying to lift the desk off the ground—for 30 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds, then repeat twice.
WORKS: Upper body
HOW TO: Sit up straight on the front edge of a chair. Keeping your left leg bent, straighten your right leg and lift it off the ground for 15 seconds. (Work up to 30 seconds.) Hold, then switch legs. Or, shuffle your feet up and down as if you're running in place.
WORKS: Abs and core
HOW TO: Stand in the middle of the kitchen. Keeping arms straight, reach them behind you and try to clap your hands. (Your hands won't actually clap, but they'll come close.) Then swing them in front of your body to clap. Do 50 of these double claps, rest for 10 seconds, then do 2 more rounds.
WORKS: Triceps and chest
HOW TO: Lie on your back (no pillow), knees bent and feet flat on the bed. Tighten your stomach muscles, squeeze your buttocks and lift your hips, aiming to create a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Hold for 15 seconds. (Work up to 30 seconds.) Rest for 10 seconds, then repeat 3 times.
WORKS: Glutes, hips, abs and back
MAKE IT FUN: If your kids are older, turn planks into a competition: Who can hold one the longest?