During summer months it can be more difficult to keep a consistent schedule at the gym. With kids out of school, vacations and heat and humidity sapping your energy, it's nice to have an alternative workout plan. • Options for home workouts require little to no maintenance, take up very little space and are far less expensive than a gym membership. Marjie Gilliam, © 2017 Cox Newspapers
Dumbbells: A staple of many home gyms, dumbbells allow you to work all major muscle groups and move in a nonrestrictive way during exercise.
Ankle weights: Exercises using ankle weights include hip abduction, adduction and extension, leg curls and leg extensions. Hip abduction can be performed by lying on your side and slowly raising the top leg upward, adduction by bringing the lower leg upward. Standing hip extensions can be performed by bringing the leg straight behind you, with standing leg curls, the heel is raised toward the rear end. Seated leg extensions are performed by simply straightening the leg.
Resistance bands: Lightweight and easy to store, bands are ideal for home or when traveling. Although strength gains can be achieved, there are a few drawbacks. The amount of resistance is not measurable with bands, and the greatest amount of resistance is felt only at the end of the movement when it is fully stretched.
This is different from most types of exercise equipment, where the body normally generates the greatest force at the start of the movement. So if using bands, be sure to adjust tension appropriately as you get stronger. The result should be that the muscles being worked are fully fatigued.
Hand/wrist weights: If you're restricted to doing lightweight resistance training, or if you have difficulty grasping and/or holding on to objects, hand and/or wrist weights are ideal. Most have adjustable straps or come in different sizes that slip right over the hand onto the wrist, making the need to hold onto weights unnecessary.
Tip: Wrist weights usually range from a half-pound to as much as 5 pounds and can be used as additional resistance when exercising with dumbbells or resistance bands.
Exercise videos: These can be very helpful if you are a beginner, are looking for motivation or for adding variety to your workouts. Great for cardio, strength training and flexibility, exercise videos can teach you how to use equipment and can be found to fit nearly any exercise goal and fitness level.
Body weight: You can get an effective workout at home or on the road without any equipment at all by doing body weight exercises. Options include lunges, squats, planks, back extensions, calf raises, leg lifts, crunches and pushups.
Steps: Climbing stairs is a super leg strengthener, while reps of sitting/standing during commercials will also help keep legs toned.
If you are looking for opportunities to stay strong and independent, you'll find them all around you, so there's never an excuse to miss a workout.
Marjie Gilliam is a personal trainer and fitness consultant. Contact her at email@example.com. This article appeared in the Dayton (Ohio) Daily News.