Updated: Feb 11
Struggling to fit in your exercise daily? Have no fear. I’ve got 5 Fast Alternative Exercises when you have no time!
Not everyone has the luxury of committing a full hour for a Zumba or Pilates class at the gym, particularly for working mothers and those who put in long hours at work. Without a late night gym nearby your home or office, it is easy to put off working out for the proverbial “tomorrow”. Soon, the New Year's resolution of getting into shape and shedding that last ten pounds or maintaining your current weight goes out the window.
Leaving exercise for “tomorrow” doesn’t have to be that way anymore with this guide to 5 fast yet effective exercises that can be done anywhere (even with no equipment around!). Besides, why spend 40 minutes on a treadmill when there are better exercises to help achieve your ideal physique and fitness level?
Remember when you were a kid in school? Jumping rope, or skipping, is an underrated exercise among novices who might regard it as a little girl's game.
If you visit any boxing ring in your city, you’ll quickly learn that jump rope is the exercise of choice for cardiovascular conditioning and agility among champion boxers. As a cardio workout, skipping torches calories at an alarming rate; a 150-pound individual can burn 750 calories per hour jumping ropes, roughly equivalent of a 10-mile run.
And guess what? All these calories burnt without leaving your house, apartment or hotel room. Contrary to common belief, jumping rope is not bad for the knees. However, acquiring the right techniques and mastering it will help in jumping safely and effectively. Consistent practice will also result in gentler footwork and landing impact, which might come handy in our everyday lives.
Jump rope is an amazing exercise for your core and strength and the best part is, it can be done anywhere, anytime.
You might have heard of High-Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, gaining popularity in recent years as a fat-burning workout. HIIT is the ideal short workout for those who lack time. Performed in alternating intervals of high-intensity bursts and rests, HIIT can be applied to any endurance exercise such as running, swimming, cycling or even stair-climbing.
A great example of HIIT exercise combo is to sprint for 45 seconds, walk for a minute, then repeat this sprint-walk cycle for 15 to 20 minutes in total. Research shows that a 15-minute HIIT can reap the same cardiovascular benefits as a steady-state workout that takes twice the amount of time.
When it comes to HIIT, not only calories are burnt in shorter workout time, it also increases the amount of burnt energy after exercise, which helps you achieve your fat loss goals faster.
Those who have done burpees as part of a fitness routine probably have a love-hate relationship with this full-body exercise. This kind of routine works the arms, back, core and legs simultaneously. Traditional burpees include 4 main moves; squatting, kicking back the legs quickly to assume a push-up position, resuming the squat position then jumping up to full height. The body moves on both vertical and horizontal plane and the explosive movements involved make burpees an intense exercise.
Burpees are so intense that beginners may have problems performing continuously for more than 30 seconds. Aim to complete three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions in 30 seconds daily to reap the conditioning benefits and to maximize your time. A five-minute burpee routine alone is very effective in building muscular strength and cardiovascular fitness.
For those who are more athletic and want to ramp up the routine, adding a full push-up while in the push-up position before jumping back up is a commonly suggested variation. The addition of full push-up results in a more body-weight resistance work to the chest, back and core, and therefore increases the benefits of this exercise.
Planks and variations
Another fitness fave is the plank: a simple single-position exercise that engages the whole body, particularly the core, which is essential to maintaining a good posture. Aiming for a beach-ready body by next summer? Ditch the crunches and do the plank instead. Slowly build up your ability to hold the position by adding 15 seconds daily, and you’ll start to see positive results within a month.
Another variation of the static plank hold is the push-up plank, where you start off in a plank position, and raise yourself up to a push-up position and lowering yourself back to the plank position. This set of dynamic movement calls for balance and control, and increases arm strength as well as your core muscles.
If you go for a daily walk, then why not start benefiting from adding walking lunges at the end of your workout as a strength-building exercise? Walking lunges can also be performed on their own on your spare time everyday. The American Council on Exercise ranks lunges as one of the exercises that elicit the most muscular activity on the butts and thighs, making lunges a good exercise for sculpting the body.
Walking lunges are more dynamic if done from across a distance. Alternate left and right to provide more challenge in ensuring a horizontal movement, on top of the lowering and rising movement of a typical lunge.
To do a walking lunge, simply take a step and crouch down into a lunge position, hold for 1-2 seconds and take another step, each time crouching down into a lunge.
So there you have it. 5 super-fast and effective exercise when you have no time or has zero exercise equipment available around. Which among these five do you plan to try today and possibly incorporate on your daily routine?
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