If you’re like me, you sometimes like to workout at home and push yourself in order to improve your health. You just sometimes wish you could make the exercise harder by increasing the weights/resistance you are using. You can either get heavier dumbbells – which can cost an arm and a leg – or another option is resistance bands.
Resistance bands make for a great, relatively cheap, easy to store, effective at-home gym.
You can get bands that range in resistances from as little as a few pounds to bands that are 50+ pounds. Plus, if you have bands that are stackable (meaning you can attach several bands to one grip) you basically have created your own personal workout system that is tailored to your strength. For instance, if you have stackable bands that are 3, 5, 8, and 12 pounds you can combine them to have a resistance up to almost 30 pounds! Having that many dumbbells could be a pain to store but with bands you can put them in a bag or easily place them in the closet – for a fraction of the cost!
Plus, one of the best things about resistance bands is that they can be taken anywhere. Going out of town for a week but still want to exercise in your hotel room? Good luck packing 30 pounds of dumbbells in your luggage. With bands, you can place them in your bag without taking up a ton of room or adding too much extra weight!
The best part about resistance bands – minus everything we have described – is that they are simply effective and make for a great full body workout! For instance, grab a 5-8 pound band and try these 5 simple exercises (for 12-15 repetitions each for 3 sets) to hit your entire body:
[Note: make sure you are cleared by your physician before beginning a program.]
Resistance Band Workout
Place the band firmly under your feet with your feet a little closer than shoulder width apart. Simply curl the band up doing a normal bicep curl. This will torch your biceps!
Side/Front Deltoid Raise
Start by placing the band firmly under your feet with your feet a little closer than shoulder width apart. Then raise your arms straight out to your sides (arm slightly bent) to about eye height before returning to the starting position. Then alternate and raise the bands straight up in front of you. Once again with your arms slightly bent to about eye level.
With your feet slightly wider then shoulder width apart and the bands firmly underfoot, hold the handles up behind your ears with the bands behind your back. Then sit back like in a chair, keeping your weight back (knee should be over your toe). When your thighs are roughly parallel to the ground, raise back up to the standing position.
You will need a door anchor for this or wrap it around a sturdy piece of furniture. With your weight on one knee, kick the grip of the band backwards (one arm at a time). You want to do this by contracting your tricep (muscle on the back of the arm) and keeping your bicep stationary against your upper body.
Low Lat Row
Once again with your band anchored and your weight on one knee, you want to bring the grip straight towards your side by contracting your lats (your back muscles). Hold that for 1-2 seconds before returning to the starting position.
Resistance bands really are a great way to create your own at home gym all while saving you a ton of money and space around the house. Try this quick workout today and add your own moves to get the best workout possible!
For more workouts and simple food, fitness, and lifestyle tips visit Always Active Athletics: “Your Source for DIY Fitness, Food and Lifestyle.”
Are you thinking about staring an exercise program or incorporating exercise into your daily routine on a regular basis? This article offers tips for beginners on how to first begin and what to pay attention to as you learn to make exercise part of your life.
Start with Low Impact.
Start an exercise program by choosing low-impact exercise including walking, swimming, light resistance training or beginner-level classes. Make sure exercise is easily accessible and fits into your schedule. So for instance you may want to pack an exercise bag with you when you leave the house in the morning so you can go to the gym on the way home. Or, you may set a goal to walk at lunchtime. Aim to progress by about 10% per week. So for instance, if you walked around your neighborhood this week, add about 10% distance the following week (this may equal your neighborhood and an extra block).
Strength Training Guidelines.
Warm up for 5 to 10 minutes with light aerobic exercise followed by light stretching before beginning. Also, if you’ve never done strength training exercises before, schedule time with a trained exercise specialist to learn how to perform the exercises correctly (and ask them about doing a dynamic warm-up as well). This will help prevent injury and also ensure that you get better results. Start off 2 to 3 days a week allowing at least one full day of rest in between workouts.
Focus on Form.
In the beginning, it is important to ignore activity tracking devices, the amount of weight you are lifting, repetitions and sets. If you’ve never performed strength training exercises before, learning the proper movement patterns is the most important thing you can do. Your entire body needs time to adapt. If your tendons and ligaments don’t get the time they need to adapt, you may risk an injury. After at least nine workouts, you can start to focus on reps, sets and weight and increase all slowly and under the guidance of a trained exercise specialist.
Sticking with it.
You are more likely to stick with an exercise program if you have identified one or more goals. For instance, your goal made to make specific health improvements or transform your body. Once you have your short and longer term goals laid out and you have developed a baseline level of physical conditioning, you can work with the exercise specialist to identify the type of physical activity, intensity, duration and days per week to help you meet your goals. In addition, gathering baseline measures and setting up plan for tracking your progress will also help you stay motivated and adjust your exercise routine when necessary.
As with any exercise, stop if you are mentally or physically fatigued, feel dizzy, lightheaded, nauseous or feel pain, as your form (bio-mechanics) will suffer and this may lead to a strain or injury.
Great resources for older adults are available from the National Institute On Aging.
I have a secret addiction, and it’s nuts. I cannot get enough of them. If you open my freezer door, you’ll see bags and bags of them waiting to be used in recipes. (I keep them in the freezer so they won’t go bad in the CA weather.) On my counter, you’ll see several containers full of them. Right now as I write this, I have pistachios, pecans, almonds, and cashews. If you dropped me off on a deserted island with just water, some cheese and a barrel full of nuts, I’d live happily ever after. The great thing about my nut obsession is that there’s a ton of health benefits that I’m getting.
The best way to eat nuts is in their raw form (my favorite) for the most nutritional benefits.
Nuts provide a mix of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and fiber that will help you feel full and suppress your appetite. WebMD says: the past several years have shown the health benefits of nuts — which contain monounsaturated fat, vitamin E, folic acid, magnesium, copper, protein, and fiber, and are rich in antioxidant phytochemicals. They are a powerhouse of good nutrition that can dramatically reduce the risk of heart disease. They’ve also been shown to play an important role in helping to lower “bad” cholesterol levels and raise “good” cholesterol levels. In addition, they can help dilate blood vessels and prevent hardening of the arteries. (By the way? My cholesterol levels are consistently PERFECT.)
Nuts can be incorporated into your diet in so many ways: eating them raw, adding them into your favorite recipes, adding them into smoothies, turning them into “butters,” and using them as a garnish. And now, you can even DRINK them. I have a half gallon of Almond Milk and a half gallon of Cashew Milk in my fridge right now. Both are delicious and make my smoothies pretty killer!
I was recently watching PBS News Hour and heard them mention that eating almonds daily can increase your lifespan by 20 years. Considering almonds are my absolute favorite nut, I’m making plans to live for a pretty long time. Nuts about nuts? You betcha. Nuts about living a long, healthy life? Absolutely!
Taunia is a professional musician and music educator. She performs regulary with several area big bands and teaches middle school music in the Los Angeles area. She had RNY Gastric Bypass surgery on 3/25/2008 and has maintained a 150 lbs loss. She uses Wellesse liquid vitamins and supplements as part of her daily post-bariatric nutritional routine to maintain her new healthy life. For more information about Taunia, her weight loss, and her music, please visit: www.divataunia.com.