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Well-developed home fitness programs can help many busy Indian women stay healthy without a gym membership.
By Nisha Salim
You have decided that it is time to start exercising to improve your health. Congratulations! You have taken the first step towards creating the best version of you, both in body and mind.
Home fitness programs are great for busy people to stay fit without having to make time to drive to the gym and back. According to Ulrich Heidstra, a fitness trainer from Netherlands working at Gold’s Gym in Bangalore, “The changing life style has made life less active and more automatic.”
Fareed Majeed, a health and fitness columnist in Dubai, thinks that people look for short cuts to fitness. “There are no short cuts, quick fixes, miracle teas or fancy gadgets to get fit – you cannot push a button and expect to be healthy. No way,” says Majeed.
But with some careful planning, a fitness program is definitely possible even from within your home.
Even by using just your body weight, you can do a whole range of exercises at home without having to set up a fancy home gym.
Majeed suggests the following steps to get started:
– Set aside a well-ventilated private area of your home as your training space.
– Plan when you want to train and stick to that time slot.
– Try training with someone. You’ll be forced to turn up and stay accountable.
– If possible, hire a personal trainer.
– Keep a training log. This is the difference between a successful plan and a disaster. You’ll be able to track progress, see patterns and plan ahead.
– Keep a food log. If you are too busy for this, have a broad plan. Be sensible with your food.
– Enjoy your body! As you progress, learn to love the suppleness and glow that permeates your skin after a good hard run.
When you do your home exercises try to work on different body parts so that you will be training your whole body…
Heidstra recommends free weights exercises along with cardio. “Consider a 30 minute cardio workout 5 times a week, which can be anything from normal walking, jogging or riding a stationary cycle. Do at least 3 strength training sessions. Choose easy exercises that are safe to perform and prevent any injuries. When you do your home exercises try to work on different body parts so that you will be training your whole body,” says Heidstra.
People start fitness programs to achieve different goals. Some want overall improvement of health, some want to tone their bodies and others want to lose weight. Regular exercising will help automatically achieve all of the above.
If your primary goal is to lose weight and improve stamina, but you do not want to lift weights, do regular cardio workouts and watch what you eat. But bear in mind that weight training is also great to lose weight and get a fit, lean body. Contrary to what many people believe, weight training does not bulk you up. “Women can lift really heavy and get really lean without putting on muscle – because they do not have a large amount of the hormone Testosterone,” reminds Majeed.
Strength training can also help prevent osteoporosis. Lifting weights over a period of time prevents bone loss and even improves bone density. The many hormonal imbalances that plague women today can be managed to a great extent by losing weight and getting fit.
If flexibility is your goal, Calisthenics and Yoga are great options. Remember that there is no such thing as spot reduction. It is not possible to reduce just your tummy by dieting or doing 1000 crunches every day. A careful balance of cardio, weight training and dieting is necessary to attain results.
If you suffer from any specific medical conditions or want to start an exercise program during your pregnancy, it is better to solicit expert opinion.
Heidstra suggests some basic fitness equipment to get started:
– Skipping rope
– TRX suspension trainer (available at most fitness stores)
– 1,2,3 kg dumbbells
“Your home can be your gym. Squats, lunges, pushups and floor exercises are actually exercises that can be performed anywhere. A chair can be used to perform dipping’s for the triceps or two one-litre bottles can be used as 1 kg dumbbells,” adds Heidstra.
“Get a few dumbbells, a few stretchable rubber bands of varying strength, and a height adjustable door pull up bar. Throw in a jump rope for some cardio. This should be a good start as any,” suggests Majeed. Treadmills and stationary bikes are also great for cardio, if you have the money to spare.
A few points to consider when you set up a home fitness program are:
– Your space constraints.
– The level of fitness you want to achieve.
– Where you will be storing the weights.
– The cardio equipment that you need to buy.
The most important thing is to stay true to your program, watch your diet and not quit.
Gyms and group fitness classes do have obvious advantages in terms of equipment and personalized training. However, depending on how much you are willing to spend, you can always buy new or used equipment for your home fitness program. You can even invest in a personal trainer. The most important thing is to stay true to your program, watch your diet and not quit.
“A lot of people wish for a better body but are not dedicated enough. You have to be disciplined to see results,” says Heidstra. Working out at home can be monotonous, so you must motivate yourself to keep going. “Lack of results, expecting results too quickly, and getting back to old, self-defeating eating and living patterns are the main reasons why people quit and they feel that fitness programs don’t work for them,” adds Majeed.
With the right attitude and a little bit of planning, you can start your fitness program right from within the comfort of your home.
*Photo credit: melodramababs (Used under the Creative Commons Attribution License.)
Nisha Salim is a self-employed writer and a social media junkie.
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