Want to stay healthy but can't get motivated to join a gym? There are simple exercises that can be done at home to get and stay fit. They don't take a lot of time, and most of them can be done right in front of the television from the comfort of the couch.
No workout is complete without this ultimate abdominal exercise. To set up for crunches, lay on the floor in front of the couch with both legs up on the couch. Your upper legs should be at a 90 degree angle to the rest of your body. With hands laying across your chest, raise your head and chest up off the floor. Raise yourself up until your chest touches your knees. Try to do crunches slowly enough so that momentum is not completing the top part of the motion. This ensures your abdominal muscles are doing all the work through the entire range of movement.
Lay face down straight across the length of the couch. Place your hands to the side, even with your upper chest. Keep elbows tucked in as close to your body as you can. Depending on your fitness level, you may want to start this exercise by resting the rear weight of your body on the knees, as you push yourself up off the couch with your arms. Otherwise, keep your legs straight and rear weight supported by your feet, as you lift yourself up off the couch. For the return movement back to the couch, make sure you don't use gravity to drop yourself down. You should work your muscles on the way down as well by lowering yourself down to the couch. This exercise works the chest, back of the arms and front of the shoulders.
It is also important to get cardiovascular exercise into a balanced workout. Get off that couch during commercial breaks and run up and down the stairs a dozen times. It is also possible to get some cardio done in front of the Television. Jumping jacks are a perfect way to break a sweat while remaining in place.
Lay on your side across the length of the couch. One arm can be stretched out or bent and put under the head, and hold the other arm in front to steady yourself. Starting out with both legs together, slowly raise the other leg until it is about two feet up in the air. Then slowly bring it back down to contact with the bottom leg. After 10 repetitions, turn over onto the other side and do the same with the other leg. This exercise works the hips, gluteus maximus, and groin muscles.
Now it is time to work the legs. Stand on the floor in front of the couch with feet at least shoulder width apart. Lower yourself down by bending at the knees. Go down as far as possible, while at least getting low enough for the buttocks to be parallel with both knees. Then come back up to the starting position and do about 2 sets of 10 repetitions. To build power in the legs, vary this exercise by jumping up quickly from the low point of the squat position.
Try to change up the above routine to keep it from getting boring. Traditional leg lifts in which you lay flat on your back and bring your straight legs up about one to two feet off the ground, work the abs very well. This makes them a great exercise to alternate with crunches. Maybe a favorite television show has just come back on and staring face down at the couch doing push ups isn't an option. Do tricep dips instead. Sit on the edge of the couch, and with your arms out to either side, lower yourself down toward the floor until the upper arms are at a 90 degree angle to the rest of your body. Then raise yourself back up again. This will give the back of the upper arms an excellent work out.
One final thought. It's incredible how quickly the benefits of the above exercises are undone by eating high fat, high calorie foods. For anyone trying to stay in shape for a minimum of effort, it's much easier to accomplish, if there aren't as many calories and fat coming into your body to work off. Next time you want a snack, try an apple or carrot instead of that bag of crisps. Need something to drink? Have healthy juice on hand rather than the empty calories of Coke or Pepsi. Your body will thank you later.