Working out at home

Originally Published: March 17, 2014
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Dear Alice,

I would really like to work out at home. I am a 22 year old full- time college student, who also works 30 hours a week as a hair stylist. I do have some evenings a week I can work out at home for 30 minutes to an hour, but I just don't know what all there is to do without any machines, and little exercise videos on hand. I was always in sports in high school so I was in great shape, but now I am 20-30 pounds overweight and I really want to change that. I've been doing great with my dieting, but I just really want to work out. Do you have any suggestions as far as a routine for me to shed the weight?

Thank you

Dear Reader,

Creating an at-home exercise program is a great way to get more physically fit, especially if you have limited time and resources. The good news is you can have a well-rounded workout without ever stepping in a gym or using machines! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations for physical activity are at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity each week, spread out over at least three days. Moderate intensity simply means that you will raise your heart rate and break a sweat. Strengthening activities are also recommended at least twice a week.

One way to incorporate aerobic and strengthening activities in a home-based workout is by alternating between cardio exercises and strength training exercises. For example, do jumping jacks for two minutes then do push-ups for one minute. Follow this up by repeating jumping jacks for two minutes and doing lunges for one minute, etc. In this type of circuit, you integrate aerobic activities with various strengthening activities in an efficient routine. Other examples of at-home aerobic activities include walking/marching/jogging in place and jumping rope. Sit-ups, squats, and leg lifts can be done at home to strengthen muscles.

In addition to working out in your home, it can be easy to get extra exercise while going about your everyday activities. For example, get off the bus or subway a few stops early and walk the rest of the way. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator is always a good option, as well. And, if you have that extra hour, a brisk 30-minute walk or jog outdoors is great aerobic exercise and you will still have 30 minutes to take a shower and get ready for your next activity!

In addition to the information listed above, the USDA MyPlate initiative is a great resource for physical activity information. Also, many Columbia-affiliated students find Alice!’s physical activity initiative, CU Move, to be helpful. The program provides participants with physical activity tips and tools, motivational messages, and event calendars with access to plenty of free and low-cost physical activity options on campus and around NYC.

Break a sweat!

Alice