Put Some Steps in Your Spring

Looking for a way to shake off the cobwebs and get back into a health routine? Here’s an easy workout you can do in the comfort of your home (but not from your couch).

Story by Dawn Brown Photos by Thomas Boyd

So, you used winter weather as an excuse to become a couch potato. And now that summer is nearing, so has your motivation to start working your way back into better shape.

While local fitness clubs are a great place to start, you don’t need a gym membership, or even costly home equipment, to achieve better health and fitness. You can burn fat, build muscle and get a great workout by doing body-weight exercises in the comfort of your home.

Body-weight exercises can be highly effective and offer some hidden bonuses — like improved core strength — that can’t be achieved with traditional exercise equipment. The core is more than just abs. In fact, as many as 35 muscles make up the human core, and many simple body-weight movements can be used to engage every one of them. Improved core leads to better posture, and better posture leads to better balance.

If the idea of better health appeals to you, let’s get to work. On the opposite page, I lead Corrina Alvarez through a basic circuit home workout that can be done anywhere — in your home, basement, garage, at a park, or wherever. In this circuit, you do each exercise in succession, without a break in between. Because the exercises come one after another, you’re going to get tired — and that’s a good thing. Once you finish all of the exercises in the circuit, repeat it three or four times.

But before you start, don’t forget to warm-up. You can run in place, pretend jump rope or twist and swing your arms and legs. Don’t wear yourself out; do it for just three to five minutes, long enough to get your heart rate up and blood pumping to your muscles. You might even break a sweat, but don’t worry. Sweating has never hurt anyone.

If it’s a challenge to keep your balance while doing the squats or lunges, it’s OK to use a support. Need help with the push-ups? Try doing them on your knees at first. Want something more challenging? Double the reps for each exercise.

Perform this routine two to three times per week, but never on consecutive days. You don’t build muscle when you’re working it; you build it when your muscle is resting after working it.

So, one final question. What are you waiting for?

Dawn Brown is a certified fitness trainer at Downtown Fitness & Aerobics in Roseburg.