Fitness Fridays #2

Before the pandemic, it was no problem for us to get some steps in — all we had to do was walk from one class to the next, from Dobbins to Shah. Nowadays, it’s fair to say that it’s been more challenging to stay active and avoid a sedentary lifestyle of sitting in a chair all day. Have no fear, “Fitness Friday” is here! Below, I compiled my second list of five bodyweight exercises that you can do to get up and get your blood pumping!

Exercise 1: High Knees

Muthu Panchanatham
  • How to perform the exercise: Stand in a normal stance (feet about shoulder width apart). Bring your right knee up to your chest, then bring your right leg back to the ground. Alternate and repeat. 
  • Recommended duration:  Start at around 30 – 45 seconds and slowly increase the duration as you feel more comfortable with the exercise. Make sure to not overdo it.
  • Benefits: High knees strengthen the core, hip flexors, and leg muscles.
  • Tips: Land on and push off the ground with your forefeet.

Exercise 2: Lunges

Muthu Panchanatham
  • How to perform the exercise: Stand in a normal stance. Take a large step forward with your right leg, heel touching the ground first. Lower your body until your right quad is parallel to the floor (and your calf is perpendicular to the floor). Pushing off your right heel, bring yourself back to the starting position, then repeat with your left leg.
  • Recommended number of repetitions: Work your way up to 3 sets of 10 lunges on each leg.
  • Benefits: Lunges strengthen the lower body and core, while also Improving balance.
  • Tips: If you’re looking to challenge yourself, carry weights while performing the exercise.

Exercise 3: Calf Raises

Muthu Panchanatham
  • How to perform the exercise: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Lift both your feet onto your toes, staying in this position for a couple seconds then dropping back down. Repeat.
  • Recommended number of repetitions: Try starting at 3 sets of 10 reps. If you feel comfortable, start increasing the number of repetitions per set.
  • Benefits: Calf raises strengthen the calves (shocker!), while also improving stability and balance.
  • Tips: To make this exercise more challenging, carry weights in your hands.

Exercise 4: Flutter Kicks

Muthu Panchanatham
  • How to perform the exercise: Lie on your back on the floor. Bring both hands to the opposite shoulder (left on right shoulder, vice versa). Raise your legs about 4 – 5 inches off the ground and keep them straight. Raise one leg higher than the other. Alternate and repeat.
  • Recommended duration: Start at around 20 – 30 seconds and slowly work your way up to 60 seconds or more.
  • Benefits: Flutter kicks strengthen the abs and lower back and improve posture and endurance.
  • Tips: Contract your abs while performing this exercise. Additionally, try raising your head a couple inches off the ground.

Exercise 5: Bicycle Crunches

Muthu Panchanatham
  • How to perform the exercise: Lie on your back and bend your knees while keeping your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands behind/on your head. Bring your knees up, with your shins parallel to the floor, as you lift your upper back slightly off the floor. As you straighten your left leg out from an angle, turn your upper body to the right, bringing your left elbow toward your right knee. Return back to the neutral position and switch legs. Repeat.
  • Recommended duration: Start off at a duration you’re comfortable with. As you progress and the exercise becomes easier, increase the duration of this exercise, but don’t overexert yourself!
  • Benefits: Bicycle crunches strengthen the core muscles and improve posture, coordination, and endurance.
  • Tips: If you’re looking for a challenge, close your eyes – this will make this exercise even more difficult.