My Top 5 at Home Tips for Better Health & Fitness

Thursday, April 20, 2017

In today's world, we seem to always be on the go. Some days trying to get to the gym just seems impossible. Here are some home-based ideas to improve your health and fitness.

BE STRONG

Strength training is a great way to build muscle and bone density, increase strength, and improve your metabolism. You can easily create a home fitness program with just a few items. Dumbbells or bands provide enough resistance for the large muscle groups of the upper and lower body. Light weights, soup cans, or milk jugs filled with water are other options for creating resistance, but without added cost.

Focus on working both the front and back of the legs, chest, back, shoulders, core and arms to target the entire body. Remember to push, pull, squat, hinge, side bend and rotate in each exercise session.

CARDIO IS KEY

It is suggested that beginners need to accumulate 150 minutes of cardio exercise a week. There are various methods by which this could be achieved. Taking a walk outside, climbing your stairs in the house, or a rousing game of kickball with the kids are great options. Machines, if you have one available to you, are great too. Treadmills, ellipticals, stationary bikes, or stair steppers are great ways to improve your cardiovascular health.

You want to be able to have a conversation during cardio exercise. You should feel your heart-rate and breathing increase, but not to the point where you cannot speak. As your fitness improves, try to increase the minutes you spend at cardio exercises to 210 minutes a week.

MOBILITY & FLEXIBILITY

Mobility and flexibility exercises are a great way to relax after a hard day at work. Increasing range of motion and loosening tight tissue are the goals. A loose and properly lengthened muscle is a more efficient muscle. Grab a book in the library or look online for various mobility exercises and stretches for each part of the body.

For those of you that have to sit at your job all day, target the neck, shoulders, upper back and hip flexors to combat the rounded positions we are in from work.

FEED YOUR BODY RIGHT

Nutrition and hydration are keys to health and wellness. Your body needs fuel to perform, so fuel it properly. Eat protein and a healthy fat at every meal and snack. This can keep you more satisfied than a high carbohydrate meal. Save more of your carbohydrates for the meal you eat following your workout to replenish your stores. Protein helps build muscle, as well as other tissues in the body that break down during exercise, Carbohydrates will restock the glycogen your body uses during exercise.

Hydration is also a key to maintain your health. Our bodies use and store lots of water. Water helps lubricate joints, muscles, skin and internal organs. A slight drop of just 2% in your hydration can lead to decreased performance. A sign you are properly hydrated is simply looking at the color of your urine. A very light yellow or clear is a good sign that you are properly hydrated. Anything darker than lemonade is a sign that you could possibly be dehydrated.

GIVE IT A REST

Finally, rest and recovery are key. Our bodies repair and replenish during sleep. It is suggested that seven to eight hours of sleep meets most people's needs. If you have a heavy work or exercise day, you might need more. Often in the beginning of a new exercise program, we feel "more is better" because we are excited to get the journey started. Remember, it is important to allow the body to recover from the previous workout, especially if it was more than we are used to doing.

Work hard every other day: then take an easy walk or stretch the day following your strength training to allow the body to adapt. You will feel less overwhelmed and fresh for the next session.

I hope some of these tips help you start a new fitness adventure. Don't try to eat the elephant in one bite. Start slow, build a new habit, and watch your health and fitness improve!