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At-Home Fitness: Seven Simple Exercises to Do Around the House

woman doing lunges in living room

Getting to the gym isn’t always easy. Some people are just too busy, others get anxious about working out around new people, and some face expensive membership fees. Luckily, there are still plenty of ways to break a sweat at home. Here are seven easy exercises you can do at home—no equipment necessary.

woman sitting on a chair with her arms stretched forward

1. Chair Squat

Chair squats are a great way to get your heart rate up while you’re in between meetings, watching TV, or browsing the internet. Perfecting your form, squatting strengthens your legs and core, while the chair helps you get your posture down. To do the exercise:

  • Start by standing up, straightening your back, and raising your chest and shoulders.
  • With the chair behind you, repeat bending both knees simultaneously at a ninety-degree angle and gently tapping the chair without completely sitting down.
  • Once you can do this consistently, remove the chair and do your squats without any assistance.

Aim for 3 sets of 12-15 chair squats a day, five days a week, monitor your progress, and increase from there. You can try adding jump squats, side squats, or squat pulses for some variation, too.

woman doing a lunge with one knee on the ground and another knee bent in front of her

2. Lunges

Whether you want to do them in a stationary position or as you walk around the house, this quintessential exercise will develop your lower body and endurance. All you have to do is take a big step forward with one leg, engage your core, and lower your body until your knees are bent at ninety degrees. Then, push yourself back up and repeat the move with the opposite leg. If you want to add some weight or resistance, hold onto some cans of food or even a couple of water bottles as you lunge. Take your time with these, and aim for ten lunges on each leg for three days a week. If that seems too easy, crank it up!

woman doing high knees exercise

3. High Knees

High knees improve circulation while also increasing strength in your legs and flexibility in your lower body. Stand with your legs slightly apart and alternate lifting each of your knees to your chest in a running motion. These can be done as a standalone move or as a cardio warm-up for any other exercises. Keep in mind that high knees go fast, so pace yourself and limit the duration.

man and woman doing jumping jacks exercise

4. Jumping Jacks

Jumping jacks is just one of several easy exercises to do at home to lose weight. It's a classic, but it'll definitely help you get in shape—and the exercise is especially useful if you’re limited on space. Start with your legs together and your arms by your side, then jump out, separating your legs while putting your hands above your head, all in one swift motion. A way to improve your cardiovascular fitness and strengthen your legs, challenge yourself by setting a goal—aim to complete 50 or even 100 every day and gradually move up when you’re comfortable.

legs climbing stairs

5. Stair Climbing

If you have stairs in your house, lightly jogging up and down them for 10 to 15 minutes should be enough to break a sweat and get your blood pumping. With such active movement, climbing steps feels like a run—but you don’t have to set foot outside. Make sure your stairs are clear of any obstacles, and you have comfortable shoes on before you get going. If stairs aren’t accessible, consider jogging up and down your hallways for a similar cardio burn.

Running is actually really good for you, too! And it doesn't take much to get started. Read "How to Start Running When You Aren't a Runner" to learn more. 

woman dancing in a living room

6. Dancing

To get an intense, equipment-free full-body workout, move to some music. While dancing might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about getting some exercise in, it’s one of the most effective methods to shed calories at home. Look up an instructional video online, or just give yourself some space, turn on your favorite songs for 10 minutes, and let loose.

woman doing crunches exercise

7. Crunches

Crunches are an exercise that work your abs. To do a basic crunch:

  • Lie down on your back, bend your knees, and place your feet on the floor, hip-width apart.
  • Position your arms behind your head, with each hand touching the back of each ear.
  • Inhale, lift your head and shoulders off the ground, contracting your abs.
  • Exhale and return to the starting position.

While doing two to three sets of 10 crunches may be enough for your personal fitness goals, doing up to 50 crunches a day may help reduce belly fat.

Whichever move you choose, exercising around the house makes it easy to meet your personal fitness goals without the stress of going to the gym. Fit these workouts into your daily schedule and consider making them a part of getting other tasks done so they become more of a routine and less of an obligation. You can jog up and down your stairs as you unload groceries, do lunges while you fold laundry, or even practice chair squats while you’re on your phone.

Your phone can be a great tool in your wellness journey. Check out "Our Favorite Apps for Staying Healthy," for ideas on nutrition, exercise, and mindfulness apps to consider.

brightly colored neighborhood playground

Using Your Community’s Playground as an Outdoor Gym

Even though there are several easy exercises you can do at home, sometimes, it's nice to get out of the house and get some fresh air while you move. Look no further than your community playground! Check out our article, “How to Use Your Community’s Playground as an Outdoor Gym,” and take advantage of all the fun this space has to offer.