As most of you know by now, I have limited mobility. I am still in physical therapy working my way back to “normal.” Even though I am limited when it comes to workouts at the moment, that does not mean I have turned into a couch potato.
I want to share three exercises and other helpful tips for any of you who are not physically, or mentally, strong enough to dive right in to my old workouts from previous posts. During the summer of 2014, I posted advice on power lifts such as squats, bench press, and dead lifts. People dealing with post-injury blues or beginners to the lifting lifestyle, cannot expect to be successful right out of the chute. It doesn’t work that way. Practice makes perfect as they say!
In order to get myself back to the old me, I have to essentially start from scratch. When I first began doing intense lifts, I had to start off with low weight and high reps. However, even before I began with additional weight, I focused on getting my form down with body weight exercises.
- First is push ups. Every single time I do a push up, I think back to elementary school when students were required to participate in the presidential fitness challenge (or something like that). For the longest time, I was doing push ups incorrectly and noticed from how sore my upper body was afterwards. Not the good kind of sore, either.
Remember, when doing a push up, engage your core, squeeze your glutes, and pack your elbows. I used to always flare my elbows, much like doing the chicken dance, especially when I got tired towards the end of my sets. Avoid this at all cost. You can really hurt yourself if you do not keep your elbows tucked close to the side of your body. Below is a photo to give you a visual reference.
- Next, for more core focus, you can do a few different body weight/machine-free exercises. My favorites include crunches, sit ups, bicycles, and toe touches. You can also do planks. I am involved in a group on Facebook where the members rave about the plank challenge. Check it out below and give it a shot! It involves between 20 seconds to five minutes of your day depending on your abilities.
- Finally, these next exercises are focused on your legs. I am not able to do squats like I used to, which is a bummer (for now). In lieu of squats, I have found that single-leg hip raises really work the glutes and hamstrings. I am also able to do lunges, but I have to modify them a bit. If you find you are able to, try lunges with weights. You do not need dumbbells either. Grab a bag of potatoes, a pumpkin from your Halloween festivities (obviously one that was not carved), or even your baby (if you have one). All of these are make-shift weights that are just as effective. If you have no options, just do extra reps of your lunges or single-leg hip raises. *Low weight… high reps!
I highly recommend engaging in some physical activity daily. I use my Fit Bit to help remind me to at least reach 10,000 steps a day. It doesn’t always happen, especially during a busy workday, but when it does, I feel a lot happier and healthier.
Here are a few ways to get those steps in each day:
- Take the stairs, not the elevator
- Do some chores around the house, like vacuuming
- Take the dog for a walk around the neighborhood
- Go on a hike
- Walk around the grocery store
- If possible, walk to work or use ten minutes of your lunch break to walk down the street
- Bad weather tip: Walk around the office. Encourage your coworkers to join you. Whoever reaches their goals for the week first, wins a small gift card!
- Take a few extra trips to the water cooler
- Pace while food is baking or water is boiling
All of these tips have proven to help me reach my goal. Personally, I love to hike. My hikes are not nearly as long as the used to be, but I have found that with each hike, my strength increases. David and I try to mix it up and visit new spots in Maryland, but it can be tough with our busy schedules. Ideally, we would travel the world and hike one amazing mountain after another. Logistically, that is not likely. For now, we attempt to conquer any trail we find within a 100 mile radius.
Do not be afraid to get out there and move! Invite your friends to join you and have fun with it. Your workouts are not expected to be Olympic in nature. They should be tailored to fit you and your body. Stay safe and get fit!