Most of us know exercise benefits are invaluable.
You've probably heard countless times how being physically active is good for you, regardless of your age, sex, or physical ability.
And those benefits extend to both mental and physical aspects of your health (1).
Even just a little bit of exercise can bring significant improvements to your health.
So, How Do You Start?
This article will explain what exercise is and share with you 10 easy exercises you can do to at home to get started right away—No equipment needed.
What is exercise?
In simple terms, exercise is defined as any movement that involves higher than normal level of activity and burns calories.
It raises your heart rate, engages your muscles and consequently improves your cardiovascular fitness and muscular strength.
There are many types of exercise such as swimming, running, jogging, walking, yoga, strength training, and dancing, just to name a few.
The key is to find the right exercise for you.
If you haven't done any form of physical exercises in a while and want to start for better health, the following "10 exercises" are a good start.
When done correctly, they'll help improve your balance, flexibility, strength and overall health and fitness.
With consistency, they'll also most certainly lead to visible and measurable results.
You can do them at a gym or at home.
Read the exercise instructions and watch the form shown by the fitness model demonstrating each movement.
As with all things, good technique and correct form are a must.
Also, use the exercise chart at the end to get a full-body workout.
10 Easy Exercises for a Full-Body Workout
* Scroll down past each image and read the exercise instructions immediately below. Also, check out the full-body workout at the end of this article. It can be a great workout to challenge you.
1. Burpees (Full-Body)
A burpee is as complete of a full-body exercise as can be. This exercise combines a squat, plank, push-up, and jump forward, exploding up and down. When a burpee is done right, it improves all aspect of your fitness: cardio, strength, and speed.
It conditions the heart and lungs by getting the heart rate up and pumping. It also tones your arms, core, and legs.
Burpees also burn tons of calories, helping you lose weight and burn fat. (Here's how to do a burpee in six easy steps).
2. Jumping Jacks (Full-Body)
A jumping jack a calisthenic exercise that starts from a standing position with legs together and arms at your sides and jumps up, bringing the hands overhead and legs spread wide in the air.
You return to the starting position on the ground repeat the jumps for the prescribed number of repetitions.
The primary of benefits of jumping jacks is it elevates your heart rate, so it conditions the cardiovascular system and strengthens the legs, arms and core. Jumping jacks makes a fantastic exercise to do at home or anywhere for all fitness levels. Here's how to it correctly with proper form (how to do to a perfect jumping jack).
3. High Knees (Full-Body)
High knees or run-in-place is one of the best bodyweight cardio exercises you can do at home. It doesn't take up much space to perform -living room, bedroom, or even garage would be suitable for this convenient exercise.
High knees combine the typical running motion with exaggerated knee lifts. Similar to the jumping jacks, high knees condition the entire body including the hearts, legs, and core.
To perform this exercise, simply go through the running motions in place by lifting your knees high to your waist level. To maintain the posture, be sure to engage your abs throughout the move.
You can also pump your arms to warm up your upper body and aid the running motion.
4. Squats (lower Body)
A squat is a lower-body exercise staple that works the hips, glutes (butt), quads (thighs), and hamstrings. It may also strengthen your core.
In addition to strengthening your legs, squats can help improve balance and coordination. It can also improve your bone density.
Squats are also considered a functional exercise helping you complete daily activities with ease. (Learn here how to do a squat with proper form).
5. Lunges (Lower-Body)
Lunges are a good exercise for strengthening, sculpting and building several muscles/muscle groups, including the quadriceps (or thighs), the gluteus maximus (or buttocks), and hamstrings.
There several ways to do a lunge.
The most basic lunge is performed by:
Standing up straight, feet are hip-width apart. Position your hands at the waist.
Take a big step forward with your right leg. You should now be standing with one foot in front of you. Bend your front (right) knee so that it is at a 90-degree angle with the floor. Your back (left) knee should be almost touching the floor.
Keep your weight on your front (right) heel. Contract your front (right) quad, hamstrings, and glutes to push yourself back up to the starting position. Switch the legs and repeat on your left side. Alternate sides with each rep.
A long lunge emphasizes the use of the gluteal muscles whereas a short lunge emphasizes the quadriceps or the thigh muscles.
In addition to strengthening your legs, lunges also improve your balance and coordination. If you are a runner, lunges may help prevent injuries. The lunge is a basic movement that is fairly simple for beginners to perform. A lunge can be performed using bodyweight alone or with weights such as dumbbells or kettlebells held in each hand for added resistance.
6. Push-ups (Upper-Body)
A push-up is an exercise in which a person lies facing the floor and with their back straight and raises their body by pressing down on their hands. This exercise looks simple enough, but it's one of the most challenging and effective exercises around.
In fact, if you can only have to time to do one exercise a day, let it be a push-up. It's that effective.
Push-up literally works every muscle in your body—all at once. According to a study, certain variations of the pushups use about 76 percent of your total body weight.
This all-in-one move exercise will strengthen the core, tone up your upper body and all lower body including the legs and butt.
Even your quads will feel sore the nex day just from doing a few reps.
It's challenging enough that if you can do 10 push-ups, consider yourself in good physical shape. (learn how to do a perfect push-up).
7. Triceps Dips (Upper-Body, Arms)
The dip is an exercise used in strength training to target the upper body, primarily the triceps, chest, triceps, and front shoulders.
To perform the triceps dips:
Position your hands shoulder-width apart on a secured bench or stable chair. Slide your butt off the front of the bench with your legs extended out in front of you.
Straighten your arms, keeping a little bend in your elbows to keep tension off your elbow joints and on your triceps. Pull your shoulders back and down. Slowly bend your elbows to lower your body towards the floor until your elbows form about a 90-degree angle. Be sure to keep your back close to the bench.
Once you reach the bottom of the movement, press down into the bench with your hands to straighten your elbows, returning to the starting position. This completes one rep, continue for the prescribed number of repetitions.
Keep your shoulders down as you lower and raise your body for the entire exercise.
8. Plank (Abs & Core)
A plank is a simple static exercise that involves maintaining your body in one position. It's similar to a push-up except you hold the top position for the duration of the time.
The exercise primarily develops strength in your core —the muscles that connect the upper and lower body—Your shoulders, arms, and glutes are also engaged during the exercise.
There are many variations to the plank, but the most common plank is the front plank which is held in a push-up-like position, with the body's weight supported on your forearms, elbows, and toes. Other variations are the side plank and the reverse plank. (Here's how to perform the perfect plank).
9. Crunches (Abs)
The crunch is one of the most basic and most common abdominal exercises used to strengthen the core muscles. The exercise targets primarily the rectus abdominal muscle but also works the obliques.
Crunches are a lot like sit-ups except you lift your upper back instead of the entire back. This isolates the abdominal muscles without engaging the hip muscles which can put strains on the lower back. The crunch exercise is also more beginner-friendly than situps.
To do a crunch, simply begin by lying face up on the floor with knees bent.
The movement begins by curling the shoulders towards the pelvis. Your hands can be behind or beside the neck or crossed over the chest. Injury can be caused by pushing against or pulling the head or neck with hands.
Overall this exercise is great for strengthening and toning the abs. And once you learn the basic crunches, you can also try other crunch variations such as reverse crunches, bicycle crunches, twist crunches, and side crunches. The are tons of other crunch variations you can try.
Pull-ups are one of the best strength building exercises there is. A traditional pull-up relies on upper body strength with no swinging or "kipping" (using a forceful initial movement of the legs in order to gain momentum).
The exercise mostly targets the latissimus dorsi muscle of the back along with other assisting muscles like the biceps.
A pull-up can be performed with any grip, but traditional pull-ups are performed with a palms-forward position.
To do a pull-up:
Grab the pull-up bar with an overhand grip, palms facing forward about shoulder-width apart. Hanging from the bar with your arms straight. Raise your feet off the floor by bending your knees.
Pull yourself up by pulling your body up towards the bar until your chin passes the bar. Lower yourself all the way down until your arms are fully straight. Repeat 1-4 for the prescribed number of repetitions.
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Exercise is good for you. It offers an incredible list of endless benefits. And just a little bit of exercise can improve every aspect of your health —both physical and mental.
Exercise can help you lose weight, improve your mood, and help you sleep better at night.
It can lessen the risk of chronic disease and improve your sex life.
So pick a few of the exercises in the list above and do them a few times a week. You'll see a tremendous improvement in your body and health.