Let’s face it: everybody knows how important exercise is for your health, but many of us are just to lazy to get up off the couch and move their buttocks. For me, as for most people, if my routine gets broken by even one or two times, it’s ten times harder to get back into it. And yes, usually that ends in me not doing any workouts for maybe even more than a year. Not a good thing…
I know, it’s such a cliché, but it’s really true: since I’ve hit the big three-O, I notice more and more how important it is to keep your body active, for both physical and mental reasons. So I was thinking that getting physical exercise without moving weird machines around and walking or running without actually moving forward (who really likes that anyway?) must not be that hard. There must be some free or very cheap options as well. So I came up with three full body exercises that you can do everyday, either from home or outside and that, especially in summer, don’t have to cost a thing. I present you with the three best workouts which are often way better than the ‘gym’ kind of workouts to work on your entire body.
It is social, beautiful, artistic and extremely good for your body and mind: dancing. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who doesn’t like dancing. Besides fun, it is also very good for your heart, muscles and a great exercise for strengthening your mobility. Because when you dance, you also work on your balance, flexibility and coordination. And the good thing is that you don’t even need to have rhythm to benefit from dancing! Just moving your body around works equally good for you.
Another great thing dancing does for you, is that your mind also benefits greatly from it. Got the blues? Dance! Because dancing makes you happy and that’s a fact. It slays depression harder than ‘regular’ intense workouts or just listening to happy music, according to The Arts in Psychotherapy, so says Women’s Health. It gives you a more positive view on the world, can reduce the risk of dementia by up to 76% (and is therefor very important on the long term) and it can be a true brain booster. But besides all that, have you ever noticed that, if if you pretend that you’re Beyoncé dancing in one of her videos, your self esteem grows 100% instantly? Very handy if you’re not so sure of yourself!
Now, I don’t believe in counting calories, but just to give you an idea: in a dance class you can burn around 200 calories in half an hour. This is equal to jogging. But way more fun, right?! So join a class or even better: get crazy in the club (take it easy on the alcohol). You can even do it at home, it doesn’t matter. Close the doors and turn up the bass of your speakers. Just dance!
Swimming is a great option if you are looking for a workout for toning every muscle in your body without putting stress on your joints. The water lowers gravity – if you’re in the water up to your neck, you will only weigh about 10% of your body weight – making it easier on your body than for example running. And that makes it perfect for you when you’re dealing with pains such as back pain or joint pain. And swimming is super easy. All you need is a swimsuit and a towel, and, if you like, a cap and goggles.
Swimming’s good to get a sexy summer body, but also a great workout to do in winter to get or stay in shape. Whether you’re a recreational swimmer or a competitive swimmer, swimmers in general have lean muscles and slim waist and hips. It improves bone strength and can make you feel and even look (!) younger. And if you’re suffering from depression: swimming is known for releasing endorphins, which make you happy. :) If this all isn’t reason enough: swimming will make you live longer.
Working out in water is a lot more effective since water is a lot denser than air. This makes swimming kind of a resistance exercise. So every move you make requires more effort, making you burn from 500 up to 700 calories an hour, depending on how intense you make your swimming workout. Swimming is definitely a full body workout, but the areas you will work on most are the glutes and hips, arms and shoulders, and core.
The nice thing about swimming is that you can do it everyday without risking any injury. This makes it a way better workout than running or muscle training and also a workout you can do at an older age. So swimming is for everybody, young or old. But especially if you suffer from arthritis, have any kind of injury or if you’re overweight, swimming is the perfect exercise for you.
If you don’t like to be limited by opening hours, equipment or location, try to just go for a walk. Grab your jacket and put on your shoes and just… walk. You can do it alone to clear your mind or listen to a podcast or some relaxing or upbeat music. You can do it with your partner or a friend to talk about the good things in life. Whatever way you prefer, walking is amazing for your brain and your body.
You don’t have to be a pro. Everybody can do it. And you can do it anywhere you like. Take the car and go for a hike outside of town, walk to the city center to go shopping, walk to work or just walk around your house for half an hour every day, may it be in an urban area or in a green one. If you get the hang of it and use the right technique (for tips on that and more see this article), your posture will improve greatly. Every time you walk, do it a little bit faster and a little bit longer and soon you might lose some weight along the way (pun intended). An everyday walk makes the best results.
Walking burns calories. About 200 if you walk for about 30 minutes. Taking the pace up a notch, will burn even more even though you might be walking the same distance. By walking faster, you might also be targeting that one specific problem area we all hate: the belly. Besides that, walking strengthens your leg and abdominal muscles, lowers the risk of blood cloths, improves heart health and reduces blood pressure. Walking is good for your bones and it makes you happy because while you walk, your body releases endorphins that are naturally painkilling. Walking is good for your joints because it provides it with fresh blood and nutrition. And last but not least: walking improves the quality of your sleep and for your brain: it lowers decline in memory over the years and it lowers the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
So there you have it: three free options you can do anytime! And for every workout that you do: don’t forget to stretch.