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No weights? No gym? No problem. You don’t need expensive or cumbersome exercise equipment to build muscle or elevate your heart rate. All you really need is a little imagination. Many of us would be surprised to learn just how many everyday items in our homes – even our pantries – can do double-duty as barbells and kettlebells, hand weights and resistance bands.
The benefits of getting our heart rate up on a regular basis can’t be underestimated. Regular physical activity positively affects every aspect of our health and wellbeing. It makes us happier and more energetic, and it supports a healthy immune system. It helps us
Stairs will definitely help you get your heart rate up – almost as well as a jog or brisk walk. Walk up the stairs for a good cardio/leg workout or run up them to increase the effort – if you’re feeling spry you can even take them two at a time.
A wall provides great support for a range of body-weight exercises. Work on your leg strength by performing a wall-sit or develop your upper body and core strength by performing a wall push-up (a great way to build your push-up strength, by the way). Looking to improve posture? Try performing a wall angel (download the
Perform step-ups using the seat of a stable chair (make sure it won’t move around on you) or work your core with a series of seated twists or seated scissor kicks.
Who needs a set of light hand weights when you’ve got a can of tomato soup and canned black beans just waiting to be picked up? Soup and perishable cans make great hand weights at about a pound a piece. Carry them while you do light lunges and squats or perform biceps and triceps curls.
Bag of flour
A bag of flour – or two – will give you just enough weight to up the ante on many classic body weight movements, particularly lower body strengtheners like squats, lunges or over-head presses. Just be sure to wrap the bags in plastic before you get moving to prevent spillage.
A laundry detergent bottle
Forget adding a kettlebell to your online shopping cart. A good-sized laundry bottle (a regular two-litre bottle is about two kilograms) will do the trick, too. Work your arm and leg muscles in a variety of poses with it, performing everything from kettle bell swings to weighted lunges and squats.
Don’t have a resistance band? Add a hand towel to the mix. Once pulled taut between your hands, a hand towel offers good resistance for arm exercises or core work (T-shirts and sweatshirts also do the trick).
Paper or plastic plates
Spice up body-weight exercises with a paper or plastic plate. Place it under your feet or hands during lunges, burpees, and/or mountain climbers and you add resistance to your routine by creating friction! Applying downward force, while sliding on hardwood flooring or carpet, will dramatically increasing resistance, and your workout.
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