Fitness is free: 5 Ways to exercise at home without equipment
By Aneesh Chatterjee
Posted on November 29, 2021
For many, fitness might not be at the top of the list when it comes to regular activities. Life can be busy, challenging, and unpredictable, so it’s not always easy to fit a workout program into your day-to-day life. Fitness is also expensive; a gym membership is a monthly expense and buying your own dumbbells to work out at home can get very pricey.
However, it’s not always acknowledged that staying fit doesn’t have to cost any money at all. Exercises that just use your body weight are an excellent choice for people with busy schedules, tight budgets, and a desire to live a healthier life. You don’t need any equipment, gym memberships, or training classes! Here are a few ways to stay fit and healthy at home without spending extra money.
What you need to get started
Money’s not a concern, but you still need to have these at your disposal before you consider working out at home.
This is likely the most important thing to remember. If you want to exercise, you should stick to a routine. Even if you want to exercise only three times a week, you should do your very best to do it three times a week. If you mark Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays as workout days on your calendar, then you can’t miss a day unless you have a good reason.
Staying consistent is harder than it sounds for many, but it’s far from impossible. If three days a week is too much, then try twice a week. No matter how much or how little you do, it works best when you stay on track. That being said, it’s definitely not the end of the world if you get distracted, fall out of routine, or have to deal with other things in your life. The important thing is to try your best to maintain a routine, and get back on track when you can.
Exercise is worthless if you don’t watch your diet. While the occasional pizza or bag of chips is fine, having too much junk food, sugary drinks, and alcohol can completely undo any effort you put in when you exercise. Additionally, getting plenty of water is important. Dehydration can lead to muscle cramps during your exercises. If you want your workouts to make a difference, eat healthy and stay hydrated!
This is crucial, especially for people getting into regular exercise for the first time. The number of repetitions you do, or the weight you lift, is not as important as how you do it. Your posture, your technique, and discipline in the movement is key. If you’re starting to learn pushups, for example, don’t think “how many can I do?” Instead, ask yourself “am I doing a pushup correctly?” Once you master your technique, you can start thinking about how many you can do. Your form is most important, as it helps you get the most out of any movement and avoid injury.
Many who start their fitness training tend to neglect stretching before a workout, because it feels boring or tedious. Stretching is absolutely essential before working out. Making sure your joints, your muscles, and your body overall isn’t feeling stiff, and your muscles are ready for some high-intensity training, is one of the most important things you can do. While there are many kinds of stretches, this guide to dynamic and static stretching should give you a place to start. Do these or similar stretches before every workout.
There’s more to it than this, but for beginners, these rules are vital. Let’s look at some excellent workouts you can start at home right now, free of cost.
The standard pushup has a learning curve, but it’s a fantastic thing you can do every day once you learn the proper form. When done correctly, pushups strengthen your pectorals (chest), triceps (back of your arms), deltoids (shoulders), abdominals (around your stomach and waist), and your serratus (the muscle beneath your armpits).
It’s a great upper-body exercise that you can do with very little space required—just a few feet on your floor is enough! This guide explains different types of pushups (including modified ones which are easier than standard pushups), and this video shows you how to get proper form on a pushup. If a basic pushup is too difficult, don’t be discouraged! This quick breakdown shows how you can build your strength up to a standard pushup over time.
Just like the pushup, the squat is another essential foundational movement. Squats target your quadriceps (thighs), glutes (buttocks), and hip flexors, but your core and lower back will be activated too, if done correctly. The squat is a stationary lower-body movement that takes up very little space, and is excellent for keeping your legs in shape. Read this guide on the basics of a squat and its variations, and watch this video for an extensive explanation on how to build up to a deep squat, even if you can’t at first.
Your core (abdominals) is one of the most important places to build strength in. A strong core will let you do other workouts more effectively, with less chance of injury. The plank is one of the best core exercises you can do, with no equipment whatsoever.
Unlike pushups or squats, which you do in repetitions, the plank is done for durations; you must hold a single plank position for a set period of time. The longer you hold it, the harder it gets. More practice will let you hold it for longer periods, and strengthen your core. This guide shows you how to do a basic plank, as well as many variations you can do to keep things interesting.
4. High knees
Cardiovascular health is just as important as strength and endurance. Doing a bit of cardio every day will help you keep your heart healthy, lowering risk factors of heart disease. It will also help you lose weight, and assist in pumping blood to your muscles, helping your other workouts too. There are many ways to do cardio at home without equipment. One of them is high knees, where you essentially jog in one spot. Just like the plank, try to time yourself and see how long you can jog; the more you train, the longer you’ll be able to go. Learn this easy exercise and start your day with some solid cardio.
Think of this as a combination of earlier workouts. The burpee is tough, but an excellent movement for both cardio and strength training. It’s essentially a combination of a pushup and a squat jump (to see how to do a squat jump, look through the linked squat variations above).
Do this pushup-squat combo for repetitions, and you’ll feel a high level of intensity in both heart rate and muscle activation. This standard guide to burpees will show you how it’s done and how you can do easier variations, and this video demonstrates the exercise in full effect. The burpee is difficult at first, so don’t feel bad if you can’t do too many. Focus on technique, and endurance will come.
Fitness is versatile and there are many ways to go about it. Stick to your plan and be consistent, and you’re bound to see results.