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How to Get a Full, Sleep-Boosting Workout From Home
With the recent transition to a work-from-home dynamic, maintaining a normal routine can be tricky. And (as you may currently be experiencing), one of the first things that tends to get cut from a shifting schedule is working out.
Unfortunately, you lose more than muscle tone when you ditch your workouts: exercise is one of the most reliable ways to boost your sleep quality and duration.
But even if you’re housebound, you can still achieve a total-body workout with nothing more than an internet connection, some imagination and a desire to feel the burn.
Here’s how to work exercise back into your schedule for better energy, sleep and more:
1. Work Those Muscles
If you’re fortunate enough to have a weight bench and plates in the basement, you’re all set. For the rest of us, though, this requires some improvisation.
Fortunately, the body is already equipped with everything you need, thanks to the magic of isometrics (using the body’s muscles against one another to build them).
Try out the following body-based exercises (and make sure to add a few reps with each subsequent workout).
For Your Arms:
Push-ups are a simple and effective means of working the muscles of the arms. Check out this great list of variations to work different muscles.
If you have sturdy kitchen chairs, you can use two as bases for doing dips to really blast the triceps.
For Your Legs:
Squats and lunges are an excellent way to work the upper legs, as are hill-climbers.
You can exercise your calves on any staircase by grasping the railing, standing with the toes of both feet on a stair, pushing upward for ten seconds and holding, then going as low as you can and holding for another ten seconds.
For Your Core:
Planks and bridges are an excellent overall body workout. Sit-ups are a good way to target the abs, and there are a number of types of crunches that will benefit the midsection.
2. Don’t Forget the Cardio
Getting out for a run in your neighborhood, or even a walk around the block, can provide sunlight essential to boosting your body’s production of sleep-improving vitamin D.
The weather is not always conducive to this, however, and if you don’t have an exercise bike or treadmill at home, squeezing in sufficient aerobic activity can be a challenge.
If you have a jump-rope, that’s one of the best calorie-burning workouts you can do. If not, jumping jacks will also do the trick.
Alternatively, SELF Magazine’s YouTube channel features some excellent high-energy 20- and 30-minute workouts that will really get your heart pumping. Those looking for a lower-impact beginner lever can opt for Body Project’s channel instead.
And if you’re a gamer who’s entered the realm of VR, you can make your workout a lot more exciting by adding virtual swords and firearms to your routine with a product like VIRO MOVE. (We’ve come a long way since the days of Wii Fit.)
3. Now Really Stretch
Stretching is an element lacking in many workout regimens, and that’s a shame. Among other benefits, it oxygenates the muscles and helps the body release toxins, prevents back pain, improves posture and relaxes the mind, all of which contribute to a good night’s sleep.
While simple stretches are good, yoga is even better. There are a lot of great instructional videos on YouTube, so all you’ll need is a streaming device, some space and a yoga mat (if you don’t have a mat, try these alternatives.
The YouTube channel Yoga With Adriene has a vast array of sessions, but if you’re doing yoga close to bedtime, you’ll want to avoid energizing styles such as vinyasa and hot yoga; instead, try relaxing variants like hatha.
If you find yoga moves difficult or your flexibility is limited, try the ancient Chinese stress-busting, low-impact practice of tai chi. In addition to increasing the body’s flow of energy, it’s also great for improving muscle strength and balance. Check out the Taiflow YouTube channel for some excellent 5-minute workouts for beginners.
Being unable to get to your gym or studio doesn’t have to restrict you from the restful benefits resulting from routine exercise. Try the methods above to provide the workout you need to ensure you’re getting the best quality of sleep possible.