I think it’s safe to say that there are extremely few people who would hear the word “WORKOUT” and think “Awesome!! Let’s do this!” For most, this is a curse word, a hurdle, something that you HAVE to do even though you would rather chill on the sofa after a hard day at work or use that time to get things done around the house. So let’s look at some of the standard excuses first:
“I really have NO TIME!”
“I have so much to do – shop for the house, manage my children, housework.”
“I’m soooooo EXHAUSTED after work, it’s so stressful!”
“I don’t have access to a gym.”
“I have absolutely no motivation to work out.”
“I love to work out! But could I start tomorrow please?”
So now that we’ve had a reality check, let me make things really simple. What if I told you that you could do something to keep you fit, keep your heart in good condition, make your muscles work, invest about 15 minutes a day (3 times a week) and not even have to leave the house? I think we’ve slashed through most of the excuses except for the last two. For the workaholics out there, you can do this at your work desk, so no worries there! And for those who have no motivation whatsoever, well, I think making a start is the key. Once the endorphins take over, you’ll never make excuses again.
There are a lot of different workouts that you can do around the house or even at work that don’t require a huge time investment nor do you even require a pair of gym shoes. In fact, you could do these in your pajamas or any comfortable clothing. These workouts are designed for men and women alike. All I would advise is that you work at room temperature, with a fan and preferably without air conditioning because our muscles need to warm up quickly and work well. When the environment is too cold, this may defeat the purpose and cause harm to your body.
The workout that I will highlight in this issue is the CHAIR WORKOUT:
(Please note that you will have to do a quick warm-up before the workout. You can rotate head, shoulders, arms, waist and ankles or march your feet up and down with arm movements for 3-4 minutes).
1. Shoulder flaps – Sit straight in your chair with your feet planted firmly on the ground. Keep your arms straight out with your palms facing downward. Slowly flap your arms (like a bird) but with very small movements. Make sure not to bend at the elbows. Do this 20 times, then another 20 each with palms facing upwards, forwards and backwards. This will ensure that you work through different areas of your shoulders and arms.
2. Bent over row – Sit up straight in your chair, plant your feet on the ground and pull your abs and back in tight to keep your core strong. Now bend forward and keep your arms straight and close to your feet. Now, in the bent position, pull the arms back to shoulder height, taking care not to bend them or strain your back. Do about 15 – 20 reps. This will work your upper back and core. You may do this exercise with a set of dumbbells if you have them or you may do it without the weights or you may also do it with a full 1 litre water bottle in each hand.
3. Leg raises (front) – This one will work the front of your thighs. Sit straight in your chair with an upright posture. Hold on to the sides of the chair and now lift either one leg or both legs up straight until your knees are no longer bent and your thighs are working hard. Do 20 reps of this exercise for a great quad workout. If you are working one leg at a time, then 20 reps on each side.
4. Inner thigh burner – This is a variation of the previous exercises to target the inner thighs. Once you bring both legs straight out in front of you, spread them apart but take care not to bend the knees. Now bring your feet back together and repeat. Do this 20 times for a great inner thigh burn. You may also do this one leg at a time if working both legs together is too hard.
5. Leg raises (back) – Time to work the glutes and hamstrings! Stand behind your chair, keep a straight posture and your core strong. Now lift one leg at a time backwards until you feel your glutes and lower back working. Do 20 reps on the same leg before switching to the other leg.
6. Tricep dips – This is great for working the back of the arms. Place both hands firmly on the edge of the seat of the chair and your feet planted on the ground. Your fingers should face the forward direction. Now lower your hips towards the ground and bend the elbows. Raise back up and repeat. Do this 15 times.
7. Wide-arm push-ups – This one is great for the chest. Face the chair and place your hands on the seat, with your hands spread wider than your shoulders. Now bend forward so that your elbows move out and your chest comes closer to the chair. Repeat 15 times.
8. Seated bicycle – Sit straight and hold on to the sides of the chair. Now draw your legs up in a smooth movement mimicking the movement of cycling for a great ab workout. Do this 20-30 times.
9. Calf raise – Stand behind your chair and hold the back of the chair. Now bring the heels up at the back in order to work your calf muscles. Repeat 20 times.
10. Chair plank – This one is amazing for the abs. Face the chair and place your hands on the seat, with your hands in line with your shoulders. Keep your legs straight out behind you with your abs parallel to the ground and hold for 30-60 seconds.
And that’s it! One of the easiest, quickest and most convenient workouts you’ll ever do. This workout is my own creation. If you would like another variation on the chair workout, please check suggestions at the Working Mother. If you have any queries, please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be happy to answer them. All the best and stay fit!
Editor’s Note: If you missed De Silva’s last piece which had fantastic outcomes, check it out here: Get fit in 7 days!