Thrive by IU Health

February 08, 2021

How to Get Started Exercising at Home

How to Get Started Exercising at Home

For a year, we've spent more time at home than ever.

Although gyms and fitness centers are open around the state, many are operating at a limited capacity. You may find yourself at home and motivated to eat well or exercise more, but with limited options. Especially during cold winter months. We covered what it can look like to eat well from home. Now, it’s time to cover how to exercise from home.

Bryland Sutton, the manager of the IU Health corporate fitness center, shares tips to help you discover ways in which you can incorporate exercise into your routine from home.

But first, you must decide to make it a part of your routine. Maybe by reading this, you've already made that decision. Just like you can’t skip work meetings, decide that you won’t skip your exercise. Sutton said you should set aside time throughout your week to exercise. If you’re new to exercise, three times per week is a good goal to start with. For those who are more advanced and already exercise frequently, five to six times per week is a good goal. At the minimum, choose to move your body every day.

So, how can I get started with an exercise routine?

For starters, start small and simple. Too often, people will start by trying to do too much. An example of this would be jumping right into a HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout but previously spending most of your waking hours on the couch or rarely even going for a walk for fun. The key to exercising for health is proper progression and consistency. Don’t do too much all at once, take time to learn and grow over time. Further, a consistent and sustainable approach to exercise allows for you to be feeling great for life.

For those new to exercise, Sutton recommends to simply start walking.

Why walking? Well, walking is one of the most basic forms of a sustainable cardiovascular exercise. Additionally, moving blood around your body through regular movement is extremely beneficial to improving your overall health.

What if it’s cold outside?

Get creative! Setting aside time to be active over sedentary can be life changing. Here’s a few examples of activities you could do this winter:

  • Knock out your spring cleaning! Don’t wait till spring to get started on your spring cleaning. While it’s cold out, take advantage of the excuse to stay inside. Get moving and get to cleaning.
  • Make it fun! Dance around the house with your kids! No reason not to love this one.
  • If there’s a big snow, go sledding, shovel the driveway, or bundle up and go for a winter walk through the neighborhood.

One thing that parents can attest to is the fact that kids don’t care how cold it is outside, they’re always willing to play. Perhaps this year, parents can channel their inner child and re-learn to play. All too often, as adults it’s easy to get programmed into routines. So why not now? Why not take the time to make a new routine. In that new routine set aside 10-30 minutes to move your body and exercise.

For those who have been regular exercisers/gym-goers, you may have experienced having trouble determining what exercises to do at home. With gyms operating at a limited capacity and a general uneasiness about COVID-19, it’s understandable to want to stay home to exercise. However, you may not have exercise equipment or the “know-how” of programming a solid workout for weeks on end.

Workout Suggestions

We have few suggestions on things you can do to mix up your workout routine.

Bryland recommends using YouTube to find ideas for home exercise routines, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts, and more. Now, there are a lot of great and free workouts on YouTube. But like anything on YouTube, sometimes it takes some digging to find good resources vs. bad ones. One way to make sure you’re using a good fitness resource on YouTube is to look for content from gyms that are nationally accredited and the people leading the workouts have proper certifications. A good place to start may be local: look for your local gym or a local gym that is offering online video resources.

Sutton said exploring bodyweight movement is the way to start. Try to master things like air squats, push-ups and sit-ups before moving on to equipment. If you are in the market for purchasing some equipment, start small. No need to break the bank. Things like kettlebells, dumbbells and bands are an excellent starting place for home gym equipment. The have great versatility and a wide range of movements that can be performed with them.

Exercise can be an intimidating thing. Whether you’re new to exercise or experienced, start small and be consistent. You owe it to yourself to achieve the highest level of health that you can.

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