Today, more than ever before, there is a major focus on people getting back in shape. However, many of us do not have the money to join a gym or buy equipment for our home. So, what are we supposed to do to stay in shape? What kind of exercises are there that require little or no investment that can work out the whole body and enable us to get back in shape again?
Now do not laugh, but planking is something you can do that works several parts of your body. This exercise was a YouTube sensation almost overnight. If you are an American Idol fan, you likely saw the one contestant who preferred to have her sister "plank" in front of her while she sang. This exercise will not only help make your abs stronger, but also works your back muscles. Simply lie face down, elbows to hands firmly on the ground, and then raise your body up by getting up on your toes. Hold your body tight, hence "planking" and hold the position for about fifteen seconds.
If you suffer from lower back pain, try doing the cow and the cat. Get down on the floor, supporting yourself with the palms of your hands and your knees. Put your head down in a position that enables you to look between your arms towards your thighs and arch your back to a hump (the cow). Now look straight ahead and lower the small of your back (the cat). Guess what? You are now doing yoga!
For your mid-back, arms, and shoulder, start up your lawnmower. We mean this figuratively, of course! If you have a small free weight (under five pounds), you can use that, otherwise a number 10 can from the pantry will do nicely. Grab a chair and you can of tomato sauce and you are ready to go! Bend over the chair so the edge of your head is just overlapping the edge of the chair. Place one hand in the middle of the chair, extend your arm, and allow the other arm to fall completely to your side (this hand should be holding the weight). Bend your elbow back, similar to the motion you would use to start your lawnmower. After a set of ten, switch hands and do it all over again.
Those of you that spend all day on the computer or behind the wheel will benefit from crosses. Stand straight, extend your arms directly out sideways, and then move them to the rear as far as you can go. Your wrists should be angled so you index finger is pointing upwards. This exercise will stretch your forearms, shoulders, and your wrists.
Another great exercise is the simple lunge. Stand straight up, spread your feet as wide as your hips, and then lunge forward. When your foot is at full extension, bend at the knee to a ninety-degree angle. This move should bring your opposite leg down to the point of the knee being only slightly off the ground. Return to you starting position by pushing up on your front leg. Rotate this exercise between the two sides and repeat as many as twenty times. This will get your heart racing and the blood pumping!