If you want to build healthy habits, the experts agree that consistency is key. But that doesn’t mean you have to spend hours in the gym each day. Rather, you should make sure to do the best exercises for your goals, whether those are building strength or burning calories. To help you get started, we asked four fitness experts to share their favorite moves for a well-rounded workout.
A great bodyweight exercise that targets a wide range of muscles, the plank is a full-body workout that also builds balance and core strength. To do a plank, lie on the floor with your forearms on the ground and your legs extended behind you. Slightly raise your hips and brace your core, staying in an isometric position for as long as you can. Try progressively increasing the length of time you can hold a plank each week.
This compound exercise is one of the best for targeting the shoulders, upper back, and core, and it can be done with or without weights. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and arms hanging at your sides. Then, slowly lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the floor and return to your starting position. Try to perform three sets of 20 reps.
If your knees or back flare up during a pushup, try dropping to your forearms on the ground or performing them against a bench. Then, work your way up to a regular pushup by adding a few reps each week. Aim for 30 minutes of aerobic activity on most days, but remember that any movement is better than none, especially if you have health or mobility issues.
It’s important to get all four types of exercise: endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility. Each type has its own benefits, and doing more than one can improve your ability to do the others. Plus, variety keeps workouts interesting and helps reduce boredom and injury risk.
Another exercise that strengthens almost every muscle in the body, the squat is a great option for any at-home workout. To do a proper squat, start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands at your sides. Then, bend at the hips and knees to move forward, lowering yourself until your thighs are parallel to the ground and holding for one second before returning to your starting position.
This simple yet effective leg exercise increases the glute and hamstring muscles and can be done while watching TV or doing household chores. To perform a basic squat, start by standing with feet shoulder-width apart and your arms hanging at your sides. Then, step forward with one foot and gently lower down until your thigh is parallel to the floor, then return to your starting position. To increase the difficulty of this move, add a weight or do squats against a wall. For more advanced squat variations, try doing them with a partner or on a chair. As with any exercise, be sure to warm up and cool down with a dynamic stretches or by marching in place to loosen up your muscles and prevent injury.
Milena Estêvão is a YouTuber passionate about sharing her experiences (challenges, successes and motivations) in the fitness activities she is involved in.
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