How do I Choose the Best at-Home Exercises?

Lily Ruha

Choosing the best at-home exercises will depend largely on your personal fitness goals. A healthy exercise regimen generally includes fitness activities geared toward increasing strength, flexibility and cardiovascular endurance. High-quality aerobics digital video discs (DVDs) usually provide all three elements. Utilizing home exercise equipment such as stationary bikes, steppers and treadmills can develop cardiovascular and muscular strength. Stretching activities increase flexibility and decrease the risk of injury.

Push-ups, even when done with a workout ball, can easily be performed at home.
Push-ups, even when done with a workout ball, can easily be performed at home.

Choosing the best at-home exercises will require first identifying your personal fitness goals. If your goal is weight loss, increase the frequency of at-home exercises that burn calories. Running on a treadmill, climbing stairs, riding an exercise bike or jogging in place are options. For maximum effect, aerobic activity should be performed for a minimum of 20 minutes at least several times per week.

Push-ups are easy to do at home.
Push-ups are easy to do at home.

If your goal is to tone muscles or build bulk, focus your at-home exercises on specific areas of the body. To tone the arms, for example, do several sets of push-ups daily. To build bulk, lifting larger amounts of weight is necessary. In this case, work different muscle groups each day to allow muscle tissues a chance to recover. For example, you could work your upper body on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and your lower body on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

A treadmill is a good addition to a home gym.
A treadmill is a good addition to a home gym.

Aerobics, yoga and Pilates DVDs led by qualified instructors generally deliver a well-balanced workout. When designing your own workout, the important elements to include are stretching the muscles, strengthening the muscles and increasing cardiovascular endurance. A treadmill or exercise bike in your home is useful for getting a good aerobic workout. Without this equipment, jogging in place is an option. Climbing the steps inside the home or using step equipment for a minimum of 20 minutes will increase cardiovascular endurance and work the muscles of the lower body.

Lunges are an excellent way to strengthen the three gluteus muscles while also toning the thigh muscles.
Lunges are an excellent way to strengthen the three gluteus muscles while also toning the thigh muscles.

It is important for at-home exercises to incorporate strengthening exercises. In gyms, you have access to weight machines. At home, it is possible to increase upper body strength by doing sit-ups and push-ups. For lower body strength, lunges, squats and leg extensions work to build the muscles of the buttocks, quads, hamstrings and calves.

To intensify the effects of lunges, squats and leg extensions, other equipment can be used. Using hand weights, for example, when doing squats and lunges will make the muscles work harder. A stability ball also might be useful when doing squats. It can be placed between the wall and your lower back. Bending your knees to 90 degrees while maintaining your balance strengthens your legs, glutes and abdominal muscles.

Each at-home workout should begin with a warm-up activity and end with a cool-down activity. Walking or jogging in place will raise the body temperature. Stretching should be performed only after the muscles are warm. It is equally important to end the at-home workout with stretches. This practice helps to lengthen your muscles and reduces the chances of muscle soreness.

Step aerobics is a high-intensity cardiovascular activity, which can easily be done at home as it only requires a step bench.
Step aerobics is a high-intensity cardiovascular activity, which can easily be done at home as it only requires a step bench.

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