Under 20 percent of adults in Pennsylvania achieve enough aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Exercising at home can provide the convenience of getting a quick workout in — on your own time. Keeping active in the winter is important in preventing reversibility. As the old saying goes, “Either you use it or you lose it.” Add these four exercises to your routine and you will produce results, experts said.
Before starting this workout, Shippensburg University exercise science professor Russell Robinson suggests rather than stretching, you should start a low-intensity warm-up with slow movements. By warming up before working out, you will get the blood flowing and your heart rate elevated, which helps prevent workout injuries.
Crunches target muscles that will give you chiseled abs. Those basic muscles you're contracting are flexors. SU professor of exercise science Ben Meyer suggests doing three sets of 10-12 reps.
“It's more about the quality of the contraction,” Meyer said.
How To: Lay flat on your back, with your knees bent and your feet shoulder-width apart. Lay your hands flat on the ground beside you. Then contract your abs by sliding your fingers forward a couple of inches.
Dr. Robinson recommends balancing out the crunches by doing an extension. This means flipping on your stomach and doing opposite movements to the crunch.
2. Walking Lunge
The lunge can improve your core while strengthening your glutes, thighs and hamstrings.
“Take 10 steps forward for the low walks, 10 steps backward for the reverse low walk,” Meyer said.
How To: Stand upright, take a step forward with your right leg and lower your hips to the floor by bending both knees to 90-degree angles. The back of the knee should point toward the ground and the front knee should be directly above the ankle. Press your right heel into the ground and push your left foot forward, stepping into the lunge on the other side with control.
Pro-tip: “Avoid putting excess stress on your knee by not letting your knee go too far past the midline of your foot,” Dr. Robinson said.
3. Elastic Band Curls
The Elastic band bicep curl allows you to contract and engage your biceps without the use of bulky barbells. While using the elastic bands, Robinson warns against just working out in the mid-range. Make sure you are fully extending your arms to maintain the flexibility of motion. The bicep curl will balance out the pushups and will work the biceps versus the triceps.
How To: Stand with the elastic band under your feet spread shoulder width apart. Then pull outward or pull forward to engage your muscles. Do three sets of 10 repetitions.
Whether you are doing a standard, modified or narrow-grip version, pushups allow for modification for comfort and skill.
Meyers said, “So when you push, you always work triceps, you always work your chest, your anterior deltoid, so you're working with the front of your body.”
How To: When down on the ground, set your hands at a distance that is slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Then comfortably place your feet shoulder-width apart, or wider. Push down parallel to the ground, then up supporting your weight. Do three sets of 10 repetitions.