Your Health

working out at home

Better Heart Health from Home in 10 Minutes a Day

The lockdowns and quarantines of the last several months have been challenging for those of us who are housebound. But in the interest of staying well and sane, don't just flop on the sofa and scroll through your Netflix options. There are simple things you can do to improve your heart health from home.

Eating and sleeping well, staying fit – these are objectives that may keep you healthy in these uncertain times. And you don't need elaborate gear or complicated routines to keep the whole family thriving. Go for a walk if the weather is nice. Dance around your kitchen while preparing dinner. And set aside a bit of time each day for yoga, calisthenics or some other form of exercise.

This American Heart Association-designed home workout takes just 10 minutes and doesn't require special equipment. Do these simple exercises in your living room or backyard as part of a living well regime that will keep you calm and feeling fit. Oh, and they are great for your heart health as well.

A few key things to remember before embarking on any exercise plan: if something hurts, stop doing it. If the weather is hot, be sure to stay hydrated by taking small sips of water during and after your routine. Hand weights can add intensity to most of these exercises, and don't need to be fancy – water bottles or canned food will do the trick.  Just make sure they weigh the same for exercises on each side.

Shoulder rolls

Stand or sit on a sturdy chair with feet hip-width apart. Slowly roll both shoulders forward, up, back and down. This targets the tight muscles of the neck and shoulders, where many of us hold a lot of tension. Make this exercise more difficult by holding hand weights while you roll. Loosening up your neck is a natural part two – carefully tilt your ear toward your shoulder. Also, slowly turn your head to look to the left and right. Repeat for each side and don't force it.

March in place

To raise your heart rate, march in place, knees high. March for 30 seconds, pause, then march again. Slowly build up your tolerance for longer periods of marching.

Leg lifts

This exercise works your large thigh muscles and the hamstrings at the back of the leg. Sit on the edge of a sturdy chair with feet flat on the floor. Slowly straighten your leg (being careful not to over-extend your knee) and hold it in place for five seconds. Slowly return your foot to the floor and repeat. Be sure to alternate legs.

Squats

This is a classic exercise that targets your thighs and butt. Stand with feet hip-width apart, keeping your back straight. Bend your knees and hips as if to sit down in a chair with your arms out in front of you.

This workout keeps it simple and utilizes objects that you may already have in your home, making it easy to do once or more each day. And, the brevity of this workout means you have absolutely no excuses for procrastinating on exercise.