Little Village asked the Best Fitness Instructor winner to share some advice for working out at home.
Now is the time to make exercising a priority for our mental and physical health. A new study in the Journal of Affective Disorders shows that strength training, like aerobic exercise, may be an effective way to alleviate symptoms of, or prevent, depression. Bodyweight workouts were included among the strength-training workouts shown to ward off depressive symptoms.
Some tips to get you on your way:
Use multi-joint movements that utilize multiple muscle groups. These include popular movements such as squats, pushups, planks, lunges and bridges.
Move from one exercise to the next with minimal rest to maximize cardiovascular benefits.
Use stair steps to change the angle of push-ups, tricep dips, lunges or split squats.
Pay close attention to form to achieve maximum benefit and reduce likelihood of injury. Instead of just going through the motions, concentrate on the muscles you’re working.
Find ways to challenge an especially strong area of your body by being creative! A few examples include:
Time Under Tension. Slow your repetitions down to 3-5 counts during the contraction (concentric) phase, and 3-5 counts during the lengthening (eccentric) phase.
Pulse. Add 1-10 tiny, low-end range pulses to overload the muscle. This is an especially effective way to work lower bodies.
Add a negative. Slow the eccentric phase of the exercise. For example, take 3-4 seconds to lower yourself towards the floor in a pushup.
Stack exercises. Challenge yourself by creating an overload, and select 2-3 exercises for the same muscle groups. For example, after completing 15-20 squats, do 10-15 side lunges for each leg, followed by 15-20 sumo squats.
Optimally, you’re strength training 2-3 times per week on nonconsecutive days. Take pride in completing each workout, and find your success in feeling good!
This article was originally published in Little Village issue 289.