This article is part of a series in collaboration with ParticipACTION. Discover how "Everything gets better when you get active!"
You don’t need to go anywhere to get active each day. Health-sustaining movement can take place wherever you find yourself – even at home. The benefits of moving your body – anywhere you can and as often as you can – are significant. Regular physical activity makes us happy better, sleep better and family better.
The Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines recommend adults aged 18 to 64 get 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each week. In practice, meeting that goal means getting your heart rate up and breathing harder for roughly 20 minutes each day. Using your home as a space for physical activity is one way you can rack up those precious heart-, body- and mind-healthy minutes.
Here are five tips for making your dwelling a movement-friendly space:
1. Find your nook
Think about the kind of activity you’re most likely to engage in at home and scan your environment for the best location to do it in. Is there a spot where you’d enjoy holding a plank or performing a series of sun salutations? Maybe it’s in your bedroom beside your bed or in the hallway.
One way to find out if your chosen space is going to work is to hold out your arms on either side of you and step forwards and backwards in a lunge. If you’re able to do both, you’ve got enough space to move comfortably.
2. Use what’s around you
Sofas, dressers, kitchen countertops and stairs – don’t think of these as obstacles to movement. In fact, they’re items that can help you get a good sweat on. Use the arm of your sofa or a wall or countertop to perform a set of incline push-ups or modified planks. Stairs in your home or apartment building can be used just like you would a stair-climber at the gym (be sure to hold the railing for safety and support).
Stairs aren’t the only surface to work your lower body — ramps or inclines can be effective, too. They’re also great places to build your leg muscles with movements like calf raises or lunges.
3. In small spaces, try bodyweight exercises
To keep muscles strong, adults are advised to do at least two sessions a week of weight-bearing exercises that work the major muscle groups. Hallways, kitchens and even doorways are great places for these activities.
Up the ante on your effort by adding light weights to the activity. You don’t need to splash out on hand weights or dumbbells. Large-size bottles of laundry detergent, soup cans, bags of flour or even a filled backpack can double as weights, too.
4. Use your mobile device, TV or computer
If you want a quick hit of adrenaline or are looking for some supportive instruction or inspiration, then grab your mobile device and log on. ParticipACTION offers a selection of free workout videos to choose from. YouTube can also be a great resource where you’re likely to find short, simple and free exercises in every genre, from cardio dancing to kickboxing.
5. Lay down a towel, yoga or exercise mat
A towel, small blanket or inexpensive exercise or yoga mat can be a nice addition to a home workout space, making your efforts and exertions easier on your knees and elbows. A comfortable support on the floor may also increase the chances that you perform a series of push-ups, sit-ups, squats or stationary lunges. It’s also easily rolled away and tucked under a bed or sofa, or put in a closet.
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