Before you think about losing weight, the first thing you have to ask yourself is – do you need to? There are many basic ways to evaluate for yourself whether you are fat, heavily obese or if you simply healthy. Most of them are based on simple height weight ratios, of which the most commonly used method is Body Mass Index (BMI). While none of them are 100% accurate, they do provide a good gauge for measure. Usually BMI overrates the weight category of the user, putting normal people into the obese category rather than under.
If you do think you belong to the obese category, the next question to ask yourself is whether you are losing weight because of health or aesthetic reasons. If it’s simple for aesthetic reasons, then chances are that you’re not overweight and you do not need to lose weight. Note that exercising to lose weight is very different from exercising for good health.
If you serious about losing weight for health reasons, you are probably facing a major problem. You lack the muscle to support your own weight and as a result you tire too easily to keep a sustained exercise regime.
To help you get started, the following exercises are designed with low intensity and impact; firstly, to reduce the risk of injures, especially for beginners and secondly, to make it possible for you to actually achieve them.
Here are 6 exercises that are simple to perform and can be done in the comfort of your own home.
1) Overhead Clap
This exercise is also known as the Buddha Clap. You can do this exercise while sitting on the ground. Start with both your arms fully outstretched to the sides and with your palms facing the sky. While keeping your arms straight, bring both hands at a comfortable speed overhead and clap them together. Return to the original position with arms straight and palms facing upwards.
This exercise appears simple enough, but that’s exactly how it is meant to be. But once you have repeated the action for 10 to 20 times, you will realise it is not exactly effortless. It stretches your back and arm muscles and works your cardiovascular system. Do 20 to 40 sets of this exercise daily.
You can also do this exercise while standing to increase the intensity of the exercise.
2) Twinkle Twinkle Star
If you remember how you danced while singing the nursery rhyme, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, then you should remember the action of twinkling stars. This exercise is exactly that action. Hold out your hands straight in front of you with your fingers open. Next, simply clench and open your fists (it doesn’t have to be tight) repeatedly.
Each time you clench and open your fist counts as one. Do this for about 20 to 40 times daily. This strengthens your shoulders and forearms. Like the Overhead Clap, this exercise can be performed while sitting or standing for better results.
Most of us should be very familiar with Crunches, however, few of us actually know how to utilise this exercise properly. There is no right or wrong way of doing Crunches, but different ways of doing them have a different result. Since we are looking at weight loss and muscle strengthening, we should be doing our crunches in a slow and steady manner.
Firstly lie flat on the ground and with your knees bent, raise your legs such that your thighs and stomach are approximately at 90o. This is the starting position for Crunches. Next, cover your ears with your hands and bring your upper body up so that your elbows touch your knees or thighs. Hold in the position for 2 seconds before returning to the starting position. All this while, keep your legs as they were in the starting position. If you find difficulty in keeping your legs raised, you can place a cushion or chair to support your legs. Eventually, you should progress to a stage where you don’t need the support.
This exercise trains your upper abdominal muscles. Do this for 10 to 20 times daily. You can alternate this exercise with the alternate crunches where the right elbow touches the left knee and vice versa. The alternate crunches train your side abdominals.
4) Leg Raisers
To start with Leg Raisers, first look for heavy furniture that you can hold on to. Lie down flat on the ground and extend your hands to hold onto the furniture (preferably the furniture legs). Keep your arms half bent. Raise both legs up (keeping them straight, do not bend your knees if possible) so that your thigh and your stomach are approximately at 90o. This exercise can pose difficulty for a large number of us. If you find raising both legs difficult, you can try starting one leg at a time.
This exercise works the lower abdominals, and is especially good for reducing the abdominal fat or belly, as we term it. Do this for 10 to 20 times daily.
5) Knee Raisers
Again, look for heavy furniture that can support your weight at home. This time you will need to hold onto it for support, so make sure the height is comfortable for yourself. Place both hands on the furniture with your body upright and legs shoulder width apart. Start by bending one of your knees and lifting that leg up to your chest slowly. Put down your leg slowly and proceed to repeat the action with the other leg.
Each time you lift your leg and put it down, it should count as one. Do this for 20 to 40 times daily. This exercise builds up thigh muscles.
6) Tip Toe-ing
This exercise is similar to the Knee Raiser. Again, place both hands on the furniture for support with your body upright but keep both legs together. Start by tipping your toes up and down. Do this for 20 to 40 times daily. This exercise builds up your calf muscles.
Each of the above exercises will take you less than 5 minutes, doing all 6 should take you at most half an hour a day. No matter if you’re looking to lose weight or simply to stay active, these exercises are very useful in keeping yourself reasonably active.
These exercises work the major muscles on your body and strengthening them for higher intensity workouts. This is very important especially if you are obese. Since this routine is only for beginners, you should move on to higher intensity workouts after a few months for better weight loss results. However, do not skip ahead to start with more difficult workouts immediately! By skipping the basic training, you risk injuring yourself with exercises that your body is unable to withstand.