A young woman does a sit-up on a stability ball.

Simple gym-free workouts

DEC 11, 2018
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When you’re busy, it can be hard to carve out time for a trip to the gym. Memberships can also come with expensive monthly fees. And if you can only go at peak times, you may have to wait to use your favorite equipment.


So, how do you reach a fitness goal if going to the gym isn’t always an option?


Dr. Suzanne Deschamps, MD, a primary care physician with Kaiser Permanente in West Salem, says there are plenty of exercises you can do at home — so you can still get in a good workout, on your schedule. Here are her 5 tips on how to stay fit outside of the gym.


1. Hit the floor. Some of Dr. Deschamps’ favorite at-home workouts are floor exercises, like squats and lunges. She especially recommends planks, because it’s an exercise everyone can do. If you’re new to planks, start by holding a 5-second plank and gradually work up your strength and endurance so you can hold your plank for 30 to 60 seconds. Remember to tighten your core muscles to keep your back from swaying.


 2. Use your resources. Don’t have a treadmill or reformer machine at home? No need to worry. Go outside for a run, or walk in your neighborhood or on a nearby trail. And use the resources you already have — like stairs at your home or office. Set your clock for 15 minutes and see how many times you can scale a set of stairs. Or pick a number of reps, like 8 times up and down, as your goal. You might also consider investing in economical items, like a jump rope or Physioball for ab workouts, to add variation to your routines.


3. Find inspiration online. Not sure what workout to try? Dr. Deschamps recommends searching YouTube or online health and fitness magazines. You can access many free workouts on these online forums — including yoga, strength training, and stretching routines.


 4. Involve your family. Finding time to work out can be especially tough for new parents. One solution — incorporate your kids into your fitness routine. Invest in a jogging stroller, baby carrier, or bike trailer. Look for reasons to get outside, like a bike ride to the local farmers market. Or try a Parent and Me yoga class. Another option — channel your inner child. Instead of sitting on the sidelines while your kids play at the park, join them on the jungle gym. Or turn on your favorite music and have a dance party. You’ll have fun while still staying active.


5. Carve out time. Take 20 to 60 minutes during your lunch break to get out of your office. Go for a walk with a co-worker. You’ll feel refreshed and may even return to work with improved focus and energy.


Finding a routine that works for you — and brings you joy — will help you stick with your fitness goals in the long run. So the next time you just don’t feel like schlepping to the gym, remember there are simple activities you can do anywhere to keep moving throughout the year.

TOPICSexercisefitnesshealthy lifestyleNorthwest