Fitness + Well-being

Denise Austin’s 5 Easy Tips for Working Out Inside

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 (Courtesy of Denise Austin)

Fall is a wonderful time of year! Sometimes, though, it’s just a bit too chilly to exercise outdoors and you have to begin moving your workouts inside. You’ll definitely save time by exercising in your living room, but you’ll also need to get a little creative to keep your workouts challenging and fun. Here are a few tips and tricks for creating effective at-home workouts:

Invest in low-cost workout equipment.

The first step to working out in the comfort of your home is to purchase a few key pieces of equipment. Don’t worry, I’m not talking about buying a treadmill or an elliptical machine. I suggest you start to build a home gym with three key items first, and add on from there if you feel like you need more variety. First, I would purchase a set of dumbbells, either two or three pounds. A lot of my exercises include dumbbells because they’re one of the best tools out there when it comes to strengthening your arms.

Next, I would invest in one of my favorite cardio tools — a jump rope! Anyone can jump rope and it’s the perfect exercise to get your heart rate up before moving on to a strengthening exercise. Finally, I think a balance ball will help you round out your home gym.  Balance balls are great for abdominal and leg exercises. Plus, if you sit on it while you watch TV or work on your computer, you’ll improve your posture and tone your abs. Can’t beat it!

Stock up on fun DVDs!

Take a walk to the library or video store and browse the workout section. So many types of workout videos are available — from kickboxing, dance and Pilates to step aerobics, Tae Bo and boot camp — the possibilities are endless! And best of all, you can try these new routines in the comfort of your home, return them, and borrow new ones so you can constantly vary your workouts. If you’re more of a walker, replace your outdoor jaunts with my latest DVD, "Fat Burning Walk," which is available at Walmart stores now. It’s definitely a good one for those rainy, cold fall days! It’s a complete walking workout with over 4,200 steps that can all be done in front of the TV.

Turn idle time into toning time.

You can tone the 640 muscles of the body anytime, anywhere. Research has shown that small bursts of exercise throughout the day can increase your calorie burn up to 500 calories or more per day! Here are a few exercises you can try while dinner is cooking or while you're chatting on the phone:

  • Counter Top Push-Aways — Place your hands on the counter a little wider than shoulder-widt, and step a few feet away with your legs. Bend your elbows, bringing your chest to the countertop, then push back up.
  • Couch Dips (similar to my Triceps Chair Dip) — Sit at the edge of the couch and place your palms on either side of your body. Move forward so your body is off of the couch, bend your elbows behind you as you lower your body to the floor, then extend your arms to return to the start.
  • Leg and Butt Lift — While standing at the sink washing dishes, lift your leg behind you and pulse it up and down, then switch legs and repeat.

Put on your dancing shoes.

Want to switch up your workout one day? Turn on your favorite high-energy music and start dancing! Nothing beats a fun dance workout, so shake, twist and kick your body slim, all while dancing to your favorite tunes. The key to an informal dance workout is to keep your heart rate up! Make sure you’re challenging yourself and moving around as much as possible — incorporate the stairs and try to cover your whole house or apartment complex. Use my Heart Health Pedometer to see how many steps you can take in one dance workout, then try to top it the next time!

Cleaning can be a workout!

Housework, like vacuuming, sweeping, lifting boxes and more, can be an effective calorie burner! Depending on what you’re doing, you can burn up to 400 calories an hour by accomplishing these household chores that need to be taken care of anyway. This is a great way to cross something off of your to-do list while also getting a workout in — inside! Set aside time once a week to tackle a project in your home — work hard until you finish — then you’re done with your workout for the day.