A gym is a great place to get exercise of all kinds, whether you go to a class or like to lift weights. But the gym isn’t for everybody. Whether you don’t have the time, the gym is too pricey, or you like to exercise alone, the gym just may not be an option for you.
That doesn’t mean working out is off the table, though. Toning exercises are great for getting in shape, but the benefits don’t stop there. According to the Mayo Clinic, “With a regular strength training program, you can reduce your body fat, increase bone strength, increase your lean muscle mass and burn calories more efficiently.”
Even if you don’t get a gym membership, it is important to get regular exercise. The American Heart Association recommends getting between 75 and 150 minutes of exercise a week. If you want to tone your body without having to go to the gym, there is good news. Your home can be your own personal gym, even without buying expensive equipment. Read on to find four ways to tone your body without a gym membership.
Take the Stairs
If stair-climbing is your favorite (or most dreaded) exercise, you can get your sweat on using the stairs in your home, at work, or even the mall. Stairwells can be found just about anywhere, and they can all give you the same burning in your legs that will one day result in toned muscles. If you want privacy, stick to your house and run up and down your own stairs. If you don’t have any stairs, you can get a similar effect climbing up and down chairs or a short stool. If you don’t mind the world watching you get lean, turn on “Eye of the Tiger” and head to the nearest stadium with your running shoes.
Strengthen Your Core
Toning your core has a wide range of benefits, including improving your balance and reducing the risk of injury. Fortunately, strengthening your core at home without buying any equipment is easy. Sit-ups are an obvious choice, but you don’t have to stop there. Throw in some planks, exercises with a fitness ball, and bridge exercises. If time is a hindrance, this is a good option for a quick and easy, yet effective, workout.
Hit the Weights . . . or Bands
Working out with weights isn’t just for people who want to get ripped and bench press 300 pounds. Weights provide excellent resistance training, and the exercise is beneficial whether you like to lift five pounds or 50. At home, you can use a small set of dumbbells of varying weights. You can also use resistance bands, which come in light, medium, and heavy resistance. Both of these options help build muscle tone and take up very little space.
Use Your Body
The cheapest home workout tool of all is your own body. Several exercises use just your body weight to tone your muscles, including sit-ups and crunches, squats, push-ups and others. These workouts are low on cost and high on burn, and you will be sure to see results with a consistent routine. Be sure to have the proper form to see the most benefit.
Though it sounds like an infomercial pitch, toning your body doesn’t require a gym membership. With these simple steps, bring the gym to your home for an effective workout that is budget-friendly and easy to do.
A version of this article was published by The OC Register. It has been republished here with permission.