Indoor Workout Level 1
November 7, 2019 7:17 PM   Subscribe

I want to work on my physical fitness, but I don't want to leave my house.

I'd like to prepare for a big trip where lots of walking and day hikes are planned. I don't need to win an Iron Man competition--I just want to be able to walk up an incline and not feel like my lungs are going burst, or be so sore the next day that it wrecks my plans.

I am pretty healthy (eat well, normal BMI, no major health concerns) except for the fact that I haven't actually worked out in years. I'm starting with almost no cardio, strength, or flexibility.

For *reasons* I want to be able to do whatever exercises at home, in my home. I have a small, open, carpeted area (8'x4x') and a yoga mat, as well as an unheated (it gets to be below freezing regularly this time of year) single stall garage. I don't have any downstairs neighbors, but I do share a wall. I don't have any other fitness equipment (exercise ball, weights, etc) but I'm willing to spend <$50 USD if there's something that would be helpful (I am seriously considering purchasing a mini trampoline because that sounds FUN!). I don't have a way to play dvds, but I do have some streaming services on my Roku device.

I get bored and distracted really easily, so watching the same video over and over is out. I lack self-discipline in the fitness department, so creating my own workouts (at least initially) is probably going to result in me spending more time crafting the ~*~pErFeCt~*~ workout than actually working out.

Things I used to do regularly in the past (and enjoyed): horseback riding, soccer, group fitness classes ("butts and guts" type stuff), hot yoga, and running with talkative people.
posted by gumtree to Health & Fitness (19 answers total) 83 users marked this as a favorite

The old-school means of doing cardio in a limited space with limited equipment is jumprope.
posted by praemunire at 8:13 PM on November 7, 2019 [14 favorites]

Down Dog yoga app is my go to, but Yoga with Adriene is totally free and well thought of. Just grab one and get going. Push ups, lunges, squats, and planks are all good body weight exercises that you can adapt to your fitness level (e.g. planks against a wall for complete beginners, planks with feet on the table for the experts). There's a lot you can do with body weight alone, but if you want a little more, maybe look at a home TRX or a couple of kettlebells in different sizes.

That said, the things you practice are the things you get good at. You're going to be walking and hiking so please consider including walking and hiking as part of your exercise regime. Otherwise it won't matter how flexible you are or how much weight you can lift, you still won't be well prepared for your trip. Being on your feet for extended period, particularly on rough or steep terrain, is something that needs practice.
posted by eloeth-starr at 8:25 PM on November 7, 2019 [9 favorites]

I use Fitbit Coach for the reasons that it is something I can from my apartment, meaning I actually do it, it's geared towards my 'level' to some degree, it's never the same routine or video (they add or subtract moves for your daily routine and stuff isn't in the same order). Mark what you're looking to do and there are different programs that you can select for different goals and lengths of activity.
posted by Carillon at 9:45 PM on November 7, 2019

Fitness Blender has hundreds of free workout videos. You can filter them based on your needs (e.g. low impact, type of equipment required/no equipment, length). I've used them in phases of my life when all I can handle is a 30-minute at-home work out. You can also purchase programs that essentially string together the order of videos to do, but you don't have to do that. HasFit is a similar concept.

I have never used them, but I know some people like Leslie Sansone's walking videos as well (there are some on Youtube I think--Walk at Home by Leslie). And Nike Training Club is generally well-regard app that has fitness programs.
posted by emsuro at 10:38 PM on November 7, 2019 [6 favorites]

Sworkit (app and web app) is great for exactly this. You could try one of their 6-week equipment-free beginner programs.
posted by atlantica at 11:22 PM on November 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

HasFit is my go-to for home workouts.
posted by codhavereturned at 2:25 AM on November 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

2nding Yoga with Adrienne - that would go a long way to increasing flexibility and reduce general soreness after walking all day for the more sedentary

Pretty much anything that gets you to walk, step, jump or dance would help as well. There is a gazillion of videos on YT. You’re the best judge of how your joints would feel about the jumping. Perhaps ease into that after you’ve spent a bit of time acclimatising your body to moving more. And yes, small trampoline can be fun.

As people buy all kinds fitness equipment and then don’t use it you can probably pick up very gently used equipment very cheaply. So if you think you’d use it you could look into a stationary bike for the garage as very low joint impact option. This would rely on WiFi working out there to make it interesting by consuming your favourite media on a tablet.
posted by koahiatamadl at 3:20 AM on November 8, 2019

If you want to get better at walking up an incline, you kind of have to walk up inclines. If you really can’t get outdoors, going up and down your stairs, if you have them, will help. Tedious but unless you have something like an incline treadmill or step machine to hand, you’ll probably have to bite the tedium and just do it. The good news is, you don’t have to do it all at once. Get up from your laptop/wait until the baby’s napping/whatever, and do three sets. Go back later and repeat. Do it every day. A few days later, increase to five sets each time, add another session each day etc.
posted by penguin pie at 3:28 AM on November 8, 2019 [4 favorites]

I like this Workout for Women app, if you don’t mind the pink all over it. It’s basically just a bunch of different 7-25 minute body weight workouts. The most complicated equipment is an occasional chair. I like it because it just tells me what to do and is free.
posted by juliapangolin at 4:40 AM on November 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

I bought this $40 indoor mini trampoline off Amazon and I LOVE IT. I hate exercising and I need as little friction as possible (no driving anywhere, no special clothes, no certain times) in order to do it. But the trampoline is fun and it's right there in front of my TV. When I catch myself on the couch looking at my phone or watching Youtube, I just get on the trampoline and jump and continue reading or watching. My downstairs neighbor says it doesn't bother him at all.
posted by fiercecupcake at 7:44 AM on November 8, 2019

I have a mini stepper machine like this (just the stepper, I didn’t get the resistance bands) and it’s pleasant to use while watching TV or whatever. I mostly have used it to keep from getting too distracted during conference calls (where I can be muted - the pistons do make a little sound). I’m not sure it’s capable of providing a real intense workout, but for what you describe it might be just right.
posted by lakeroon at 9:38 AM on November 8, 2019

Yes in almost all cases if you want to get better at [activity] you do [activity]. However if getting hurt is a concern I would actually push against that. You can always walk slower if your heart and/or lungs can't handle it, and it seems like ex a heart attack isn't a concern - so worse case scenario is you're very uncomfortable.

Worst case scenario for not having enough strength or mobility is injury. So if you have a limited amount of resources I would focus on doing things like working on knee strength, ankle mobility, calves if they're tight, etc.

Can't link any resources as I don't use an online routine or anything. Just stuff I learned over time based on previous injuries, talking with physical therapists, etc. One idea for leg strength could be buying a heavy thing you can hold and doing a bunch of squats with them. For ankle work you could try something resembling a balance board.
posted by ToddBurson at 9:42 AM on November 8, 2019

Body by You: The You Are Your Own Gym Guide to Total Women's Fitness has a bodyweight exercise program that takes 30 minutes 3 times a week, with a progression ladder that gives you harder and harder movements in five categories as you get stronger. You can skip all of Part I which is just trying to convince you that exercising this way is good or whatever (it's geared towards meeting a lot of women where they are, telling them that actually getting muscles is good and no you're not going to instantly turn into a beefcake nor can you spot lose fat and maybe consider getting rid of your scale) and go directly to Part II.

Parts that fit your requirements: the workout plan is already set out for you including an initial assessment so you can start with where you are actually at, gives you an achievement ladder of advancement with harder moves to help prevent boredom, it's not time consuming and can be done in the space you mention, and it doesn't require you to get extra equipment.

I'll agree with people above, though, that the best way to prepare for a lot of walking is do a lot of walking.
posted by foxfirefey at 5:20 PM on November 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

In prison, burpees are popular. Good for explosive bursts, but also good for endurance.

A common set that people strive to achieve is 20 reps, walk across the cell, 19, walk across the cell, 18, &.
posted by porpoise at 6:28 PM on November 8, 2019

Do you have stairs at home or at work? Nothing gets you ready for climbing like climbing. When my very competitive friend convinced me to go on a hiking tour of the Dolomites, I got ready by climbing stairs at my office. It worked wonderfully, I was able to enjoy the scenery and listen to the talks without any concern for the elevation gain.
posted by Bee'sWing at 6:45 PM on November 9, 2019

If you're already in basic shape, jumping rope is pretty much the go-to for cardio where you don't have more than a small space. That may take awhile to ramp up, because it's going to wear you out really quickly if walking is currently a problem.

That said, if you want to plan for a big trip with lots of walking involved... spend the <$50 on warm clothes, leave the house, and go walking?
posted by talldean at 7:01 AM on November 10, 2019

I find it very hard to stick to a fitness routine, but dancing to 1MILLION Dance Studio on youtube has been tons of fun and easy to stick to.
posted by of strange foe at 10:34 AM on November 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

Here are some basic cardio and strength-training moves I like doing when I can't make it to kickboxing class:

Strength training/muscle-building/full-body resistance moves:

caterpillar push-ups
walking push-ups
spider-man push-ups
should tap push-ups
diamond push-ups
(see 30 different push-up variants demonstrated here, including easier options to do on your knees)

regular and/or twisting mountain climbers

Level 1: regular squat-jumps (squat down, then explode up with as much energy as you can muster; this counts as strength training + cardio)

Level 2: 180-degree squat jumps (the easiest hack to keep your back straight and avoid straining anything is to fix your eyes on a point in the ceiling, like a light fixture or ceiling fan, and once you're in good enough shape that these are "too easy" try tapping the ground each iteration. ALWAYS TURN THE SAME DIRECTION SO YOU DON'T GET DIZZY!) -- this also counts as strength training + cardio

lunges (level 1, demo video to show you how to avoid hurting your knees or lower back)
reverse lunges (level 1, easier than ^^^ to keep your balance if you're just starting out)
reverse lunge kicks (level 2)
side lunge w/high knee (level 2)
alternating lunge jumps (level 3, counts as strength training & cardio)

jab-cross sit-ups (level 1)
jab-cross sit-ups with hand weights/dumbbells (level 2)
russian twists (level 2)
russian twists w/hand weights/medicine ball (level 3)

Pick the things you like/want to try from the list above. Do 10 reps. When those are too easy, do 20 or move up a level (lunges, squat jumps). Pump your arms when doing lunges to burn more calories, if that's your goal.

Cardio moves (pick the ones you like & do for 30 seconds apiece before moving on to the next):

+1 for porpoise saying burpees. It's a full body workout you can do literally anywhere, it's hard.
High knees
Butt kickers
Toe taps (you can do this indoors with 2 phone books stacked on top of one another, a low-sitting coffee table or couch, fireplace hearth, soccer ball, etc.)
Jumping jacks
Rockies (high knee jab-cross)

There are plenty of ways to vary up these exercises so you don't get bored and work different muscle groups every day. I can do some combo of the above non-stop for about 15 minutes and burn anywhere from 120-190 calories (I'm 5 feet tall and a woman).

I'd start with one 15-minute increment and then stretch really well afterwards. This will probably feel too easy at first. Wait a few hours, then try another 15-minute workout with different exercises if you don't think that was enough.

See how sore you are the next day; if not at all, go ahead and add a 3rd 15-minute increment or expand into one 30-minute session. always stretch afterwards!!

Work your way up to an hour every time, if possible. Take breaks for WATER and to STRETCH in between workouts/afterwards. Be sure to drink at least 12 oz of water before you work out, and have it available during and after. Dehydration is the biggest workout killer, for me.

I know you said you're likely to waste time trying to "craft the perfect workout" - I just gave you the # of reps, seconds, etc. Combine them however you like in 15-minute bursts.

If done right, you can burn up to 600 calories in an hour (women) and I've seen guys at my gym get close to 1000 cals knocked out in the same timeframe. Also, my BP went from 134/80 to 110/60 doing these exercises.

For the $50 on equipment, a jump rope and medicine ball will eat that up but you should be able to get free shipping on Amazon if you order both at once. You really don't need anything else.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 9:21 AM on November 21, 2019

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