While exercise fads come and go, many of us crave not novelty or pizzazz but simple techniques we can integrate into our everyday life.
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It’s fantastic if new ways of combining dance and aerobics can motivate people to get moving, or new equipment can inspire young people to think about their bodies in new ways; but for those of us who seek achievable, sustainable balance in our routine, bodyweight exercises that can be done without the need for special tools or spaces are a natural way to keep fit.
The beautiful thing about bodyweight exercises – be they yoga-related or not – is the way in which they exploit the fundamental connectedness of our bodies. Working on your legs builds stability for your upper body. You can work on your core while you work on your heart. And that cardio work is ideal for getting your system started as a whole.
Try getting started with some ski jumps – no skis required! Mark a line on the floor with a rope or stick, and stand side-on to it with your feet together. Now bend your knees, and jump to the other side, landing on both feet.
Repeat for thirty seconds, take a few seconds break, and then do the whole thing a couple more times. As you get good at it, try lowering your squat and widening your jump to get a bit more value from each hop.
This exercise will get your heart working, strengthening your cardiovascular system and warming up your body for a longer workout.
If you want to do some work on your abs – and more importantly, your core strength – flutter kicks are a great way to continue. You even get to lay down for this one! But don’t be lulled into a false sense of security – if you do them right, you’ll soon feel the burn. Stretch out on your back and hold your arms at your sides, palms on the floor.
Stretch your legs out fully, and lift your feet six inches off the ground – then scissor your feet to make the ‘flutter kicks’ that give the exercise its name. Again, thirty-second bursts with short rests in between are the best way to go.
You can see how natural and achievable home bodyweight exercises are to do, and if you’ve got the taste for them you’ll love this cool infographic. Follow the instructions for a full-body workout without leaving the house, and you’ll soon twig how easy it is to integrate 15 minutes of bodyweight exercises into your routine every day of the week.