Household Fitness Items
When many people think of fitness equipment, they think of big bulky thousand dollar equipment. I've heard many excuses for not exercising, but one of the most common is "I can't afford any equipment". There are many exercises that can be done at home with things that many of us have around the house.
Most every home has a couch in the living room parked right in front of the television. While the couch can help contribute to a sedentary lifestyle, it can also help contribute to an active lifestyle. When I first began doing exercise at home, the couch was great for many things, especially since at around the age of 11, I was just starting to exercise and here are some ways that I used the couch:
1. Sit-ups: Put your feet under the couch to stabilize yourself while performing sit-ups or crunches.
2. Incline push-ups: Put your hands on the arm of the couch and perform push-ups (these are easier than regular push-ups).
3. Dead-lifts: While keeping the back straight, bend the knees and lift one side of the couch until the knees are fully extended.
4. Bicycles: Sit at the edge of your couch and lean back. Keep your knees bent and put your legs up, then move them in a cycling motion. (This is one you don't have to wait for the commercial breaks to do).
5. Dips: Put your hands on the couch and dip as low as you can. Put arms out wider to work the chest more and closer together for the triceps. (a chair can be used to prop the feet on for added resistance).
Milk For Strength
In addition to milk providing calcium, when filled with water, a gallon jug provides 8 to 9 pounds of resistance and about 15 pounds when filled with sand. Some of the ways to utilize milk jugs for more than breakfast are as follows:
1. One leg dead-lift: Stand straight with a jug in each hand, slowly bend down with one leg off the ground and touch each jug to the floor, then slowly come back up and do the same thing with the other leg. (Keep leg straight throughout the movement).
2. Triceps extension: Hold jugs over your head with your arms bent and extend the arms fully.
3. Bicep curls: Hold jug in hand and curl. You can use 2 jugs and do them at the same time or alternating. (To double the resistance, put a rope through 2 jug handles and curl with the rope).
4. Lateral raises: Hold a jug in each hand and lift both arms out to the sides.
Socks for Flexibility
There are many uses for socks that go outside of everyday wear. Ice can be placed inside of a sock for use as a cold pack. To loosen up sore muscles rice can be placed in a sock then heated up in the microwave. Socks can also be used in place of stretching bands.
1. Hamstrings stretch: Lay flat and put one leg in the air. Put the sock over your foot and slightly pull for a greater stretch.
2. Grip strength: Ball up a sock and squeeze it to increase strength in your wrists, hands, and forearms.
3. Shoulder stretch: Hold sock with both hands up over head and extend one arm at a time and rotate the shoulder outward.
Furniture sliders are used to easily transport heavy furniture across the floor. Furniture sliders make great tools for moving the body too. Furniture sliders can be used in place of an ab wheel. They can be used for different push-up variations. They can be used to train the body for a variety of sports by training lateral movement.
With any exercise, sliding down is the easy part, but you really have to engage your muscles to slide back up, which is why they are one of my favorite household training tools. They really force the user to engage his or her core and do excellent in improving coordination.
Books have always been used to prop things up and I used them the first time I ever did calf raises. By placing the heels off the edge of the books, you're given an increased range of motion to better train the calf muscles. The shins can also be worked by sitting down and placing your heels on the books and half of your foot off the books.
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5 Gallon Bucket
The thing I like about the 5 gallon bucket is that it allows for a more advanced workout. Fill one of these up and you have a real challenge doing bicep curls. Not only do you have the challenge of the amount of weight you're lifting, but you also have the challenge of making sure the water doesn't spill, which requires you to maintain balance.
Grab 2 of these buckets full of water and perform shoulder shrugs. Carry a full bucket in each hand for a few yards and see how fast you can move without spilling any water. If you're not afraid of falling, buckets can also make a good stepper, but I prefer a chair.
Hope my examples here stirred up some ideas, feel free to post any household items you use to workout with.