Exercise is defined as any movement that you do to increase your heart rate, strengthen muscles, and promote flexibility. If you have mobility restrictions or love napping, you can even perform workouts from bed!
Numerous types of exercises can increase flexibility, strengthen your cardiovascular system, and improve muscle tone. Swimming, recreational sports, running, weight lifting, stretching exercises, and HIIT workouts are yours for the taking. Now it seems that the only difficult decision is deciding which one to implement for better health.
Unfortunately, due to the recent restrictions, many of us have put gym memberships on hold. We have taken our pets for more walks than even they care to go on. And we stayed in bed longer than we should have to avoid some of the news continually streaming on our feed. How can we go about the business of getting fit and staying in shape during these strange times?
Not to worry! Even if you don’t feel like getting out of bed until noon, there are exercises that you can do right there—in bed—-and you can be working on your fitness goals while still semi-snuggled up to your pillow. Now you truly have no excuses; it’s time to implement a workout regime from the comfort of your bed and your bedroom. Why is exercise so vital to good health?
Five primary benefits of exercise
Exercise benefits both your body and your brain; studies show that people who exercise are happier, and they live longer. Here are some other reasons that you need to get your took us in gear and move that body:
1. Exercise can make you feel happier
Training is a natural mood booster. Science confirms that people who regularly exercise note fewer experiences of anxiety, stress, and depression. Powerful endorphins, or feel-good hormones, are released in the brain when you exercise, and this floods the body with nervous system signals that promote happiness and pleasure. Interestingly enough, the intensity has nothing to do with the release of endorphins. Indeed, it seems that any moderate activity will do for you.
2. Exercise helps with weight loss
It’s obvious–exercise does help with weight loss. When you diet alone, your body responds by slowing your metabolic rate, causing you to actually maintain your weight or even gain a pound or two. Conversely, exercise increases muscle mass and allows you to burn fat deposits, even when you are at rest. Start pumping some weights, and increase your metabolic rate exponentially!
3. Exercise is good for muscles and bones
Exercising is a crucial player in the development of healthy muscles and bones. When exercising, your body sends signals to your muscles to utilize amino acids from protein to repair and increase muscle tissue. It also helps to promote bone density; both muscle tone and bone density are essential as you age, as we tend to lose strength. We can combat the effects of aging by performing weight-bearing exercises a couple of times weekly.
4. Exercise increases your energy levels
Exercise is an energy booster for healthy people as well as those with pre-existing health conditions. Recent studies show that as little as six weeks of exercise can dramatically reduce reports of chronic fatigue, aches, and pains. One theory behind this is the ability of exercise to more efficiently circulate oxygen and vital nutrients throughout the body, improving the function of almost every system in the body.
5. Exercise keeps you healthier!
Lack of physical activity is a primary contributor to the development of chronic diseases. In contrast, a lack of physical exercise is known to increase belly fat, which is a factor in the development of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Get that body moving, and you’ll improve all aspects of your health.
Exercising when getting out of bed is difficult
Some of us have fewer obligations right now, and it might be tempting to spend more time than usual in bed. Rest assured, staying in bed all day will not help advance your health and fitness goals! Getting fit does not have to be complete drudgery, though—did you know there are exercises that you can do while you are still in your favorite reclined position?
Try these up-and-at-’em exercises the next time you’re tempted to spend the day in a supine position, and see if they don’t motivate you to get up and do a little more than you’d planned to:
1. Marching hip raises
Lie flat on your back. Knees bent with your heels near your buttocks. Press down into your mattress and heels as you lift your buttocks off the ground, so your hips are raised in a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Lift your right knee up as if you are marching, keeping left leg and hip raised to strengthen your core and backside. Put your right foot down in bend knee position, and use that to stabilize your body as you lift your left leg in bend knee position, hips off the mattress. Alternate sides several times, or until you experience muscle fatigue.
2. Side plank with a twist
If you have a firm surface, this move will be more efficient. Lie on your right side with your hips, knees, and ankles all stacked over each other, propping yourself up on your right elbow. Press down and lift your hips off the mattress, extending your left arm straight up toward the ceiling. As you continue lifting hips up, twist your body at the abdomen and bring your left arm in a downward swing into the gap between your body and the bed. Extend your left hand back up toward the ceiling, lower your hips, and switch sides. Alternate several times for shapely shoulders and a strong core.
3. Leg lift with bent knee
Lie on your right side with your head propped up on your hand, and your right knee bent at a 90-degree angle. Extend your left leg in a straight line outward from your core. Lift your left leg toward the ceiling, then perform a single leg crunch by bringing your left knee in toward your abdomen.
Raise left leg again toward the ceiling, extending it out straight, and lower back into its original position. Perform several reps and lifts on each side. Increase the difficulty by twisting to the opposite knee as you gain strength.
4. Reverse diamond crunch
Lie on your back with your arms facing down, soles of the feet together and knees bent so that your legs form a diamond shape. Press your lower back into the mattress as you keep the soles of your feet together and lift your feet up toward the ceiling, performing a reverse ab crunch. Slowly bring your feet back down toward the bed. Perform several reps, or till you feel some serious contraction in your core.
5. Jack split
Despite the fact that you are starting this exercise in a relaxed position, this exercise is anything but easy. Lie on your back with your arms and legs outstretched, so your body forms a straight line. In one “graceful” move, lift your legs toward your core and outward into a V shape as you swing your arms up toward the ceiling and through your open legs. Return to your mattress with control, coming back into a straight line. Don’t relax just yet; perform several reps of this exercise for a strong core, shapely legs, and toned arms.
Lie on your back with your hands underneath your hips, legs outstretched. Bring your feet upward to point toward the ceiling, keeping toes pointed as best you can. Alternate bringing one straight leg down to the bed and back up to the ceiling as you keep the other leg outstretched toward the ceiling. Keep your lower back pressed against the mattress and legs lengthened and stretched as much as possible as you continue alternating legs.
7. Dolphin plank
Many of us are carrying extra stress in our upper back and shoulders, particularly because we are sitting for long hours on the computer. The dolphin plank is the perfect solution for toning and stretching the upper back and shoulders. Lie on your stomach with your upper back supported by your bent elbows, and forearms stretched out along your mattress.
Get into the plank position first by raising your hips up so that your body forms a straight line from hips to feet. As your body allows, bend your buttocks into an inverted V up toward the ceiling as you lower your head toward the mattress; hold for several seconds, then lower back into plank position. Repeat several times for a good stretch and some serious upper body strength.
8. Arabesque lifts
This exercise works the posterior and the outside of the hips, giving your legs that long, lean look. Start on your mattress on all fours, knees bent, and perpendicular to your hips. Point your left toes, then extend your left leg outward straight behind you and up toward the ceiling. Lower the leg, and bring it back to a bent knee position beside the right leg. You can either perform several reps on each side, or you can alternate leg raises for balance and control as well.
9. Around the world abdominals
Abs are not anyone’s favorite muscle group to work out, but once you start seeing them take shape, you want to see even more. To perform around the world, start on your hands and knees. Balance on your left hand and right knee as you swing your left leg out to the side. Swing your knee forward as you tap it with your right hand, then bring both feet and hand back around behind you to tap behind the body as well. Swing back and forth from front to back as you keep your balance and tighten up that core.
10. Arm extension/shoulder taps
This all-encompassing move works the core, thighs, buttocks, and arms. It is right on the money! Get into a fully extended plank position on your mattress, lifting one arm up and out in front of you. Bring your extended hand back to tap the opposite shoulder before placing back down; repeat on the other side while keeping your plank in a straight line from shoulders to feet.
Whether you choose stretching exercises, cardio breathing, or some of these muscle moves, you now have no excuse not to improve your health and fitness right in the comfort of your own home. Doing these exercises consistently will improve your strength, stamina, and your self-confidence!