You want to get in shape. But you don’t want to join a wellness center – it’s too expensive, there’s no convenient gym for you, or you can be freelance. Or maybe you’re already a member of a gym, but your schedule has been too manic for you to escape.

This allows you to exercise at home. But can you really do a good workout without leaving home?

Absolutely, says Kevin Steele, PhD, an exercise physiologist and vice president of 24-hour fitness.

“In today’s world, the reality is that people don’t have time to go to a facility every day anyway,” he says. “And consistency is the key.”

Believe it or not, says Steele, at 24 Hour Fitness, they encourage people to exercise at home and also at the gym. Thus, they are more likely to adopt fitness as a lifestyle. “The key is that you do something somewhere, sometimes,” he says.

Steele and other fitness experts say it doesn’t take much effort or money to create an effective exercise program at home. Things like adjusting balls, weights, exercise bands or tubes and pumps are an inexpensive way to create a routine that works for all major muscle groups.

But even without accessories and machines, you can build muscle and burn calories.

“If someone wants to start, they can do a brisk walk and do sit-ups and push-ups,” says Richard Weil, MD, CDE, physiologist and exercise consultant at the WebMD Weight Loss Clinic.

The 5 elements of fitness

According to Steele, an effective fitness program has five components, which you can do at home:

  1. A warm-up
  2. Cardiovascular (aerobic) training.
  3. Resistance exercises (strengthening of forces).
  4. Flexibility movements.
  5. Recharge time

A warm-up can be an easy walk outside or on a treadmill, or a slow pace on an exercise bike. For the cardiovascular part, walk or cycle faster, do aerobics with a video or jump rope, whatever you want to speed up your heart rate.

The resistance portion can be as simple as squats, push-ups and sit-ups. Or you can work with small weights, a barbell, bands or tubes.

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