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5 Ways You Can Exercise More Effectively All By Yourself

5 Ways You Can Exercise More Effectively All By Yourself

For many people exercise seems too daunting and too demanding of a task. There are numerous exercise programs to choose from, and many people don’t know which one is best for them. Getting started on an exercise program is a large enough challenge considering the busyness of your daily life. It’s easy to conjure up excuses for why you shouldn’t exercise today. Where is the time to exercise? You tell yourself you will start tomorrow, or the next day, or the next, etc.

Exercise doesn’t have to feel impossible. You are not expected to climb Mount Everest every time you work out. With the overwhelming amount of data available on the value of daily exercise to your health, both physically and mentally, exercise should be viewed with gratitude and positivity. Hopefully it can transform into something you look forward to, rather than something you dread.

Perhaps you prefer working out in a group setting. This is always desirable for many people because as a group you can endure mental and physical stress together, and help one another push through the work out. For many people this is not an option. So what do you do? Here I’ve outlined five ways for you to exercise more effectively by yourself. It doesn’t matter what kind of exercise you choose to perform. Implement these five simple steps into your routine and I believe you will witness wonderful results.

1. Set an exercise target or plan before you start

I don’t want to present the idea that you have to embark on a two or three month workout program and know exactly what you are going to do every day. If you prefer this kind of exercise regimen than go for it. I am proposing that for each day you exercise that you have a goal or plan of what you want to accomplish.

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It could be as simple as walking up ten flights of stairs or using the treadmill for twenty minutes. It doesn’t have to be grandiose but having a target for your exercise will help keep you focused. You will be more likely to complete your daily workouts when you choose realistic and attainable targets.

2. Focus on quality and not quantity

It took me a while to understand this one. There are a lot of people who go to the gym and spend two hours there. By the time they leave the gym they really haven’t accomplished much at all. It is not important that you spend a lot of time exercising but it is important that you spend quality time exercising!

Develop an exercise goal for the day so you can focus your workout without wasting unnecessary time. It will serve you better to spend thirty minutes at the gym lifting weights with a concrete plan of what lifts you are going to do and how much time you are going to rest in between each lift, than to wander aimlessly for a couple of hours. Spending more time at the gym doesn’t necessarily mean you exercised properly for the entire time you were there.

3. Challenge yourself with attainable exercise goals

Only you know your limits of how much you can push yourself. This is especially imperative when you are exercising alone. There is not going to be someone there yelling at you to push you.

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You have to go into each workout telling yourself that you are going to get the most out of the workout. A walk through the neighborhood can be a great form of exercise especially if you are walking at a brisk pace.

With an exercise plan in place, along with a time limit in which to accomplish the workout, you are more likely to challenge yourself. If you go into a workout with no plan you are more likely to coast through the workout.

If your goal is to run one mile in fifteen minutes then you have a tangible goal of what you are trying to accomplish. Let’s say you finish the mile in thirteen minutes. Next time you can make a goal that you will run the mile in under thirteen minutes. This is how you challenge yourself.

It is not necessary for you to increase the intensity of each workout but when you feel you can do more, expand your limits. Not every exercise routine is going to be grueling and intense, but you have to be willing to test yourself if you want to experience positive results from exercising.

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4. Concentrate on simple exercises, not complicated ones

This phrase can be utilized in many facets of your life. It is especially beneficial when exercising. You don’t need a complex exercise plan in order to notice results. You need to set a target, focus on quality, and challenge yourself.

Swimming ten laps in the pool might be an accomplishment for you. All you are doing is swimming, nothing else, but achieving the goal of ten laps will leave you confident and readier to swim more in the next workout. Exercise doesn’t have to include lots of fancy equipment. This stuff may help but if you are just beginning to exercise, this kind of equipment can be intimidating.

Focus on simple exercises and then work your way up to more complicated routines as you get more comfortable and gain confidence in your capabilities. This is vitally important when exercising alone because often you will not be able to use the fancy equipment on your own.

5. Be consistent

This is probably the most important aspect. You have to exercise regularly if you desire results. I am not saying that you have to exercise every day, although daily exercise has enormous advantages for your health. You have to exercise regularly, at least three or four times per week.

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This can be quite challenging for many people because they start exercising and they get excited for the first few weeks. Then maybe the results aren’t exactly what they expected so they give up or they get busy at work and they start making excuses for why they can’t exercise. Stick with it!

Exercise can never be harmful unless it is done irresponsibly and too frequently. If you maintain an exercise regimen of three to five times a week, you are living a healthy lifestyle.

Exercising alone isn’t always easy but often it can be necessary. If exercising alone is your only option, then make sure you take advantage of the time you have. Utilie these steps to enjoy more productive and fulfilling exercise!

Featured photo credit: Man run at autumn morning. Healthy lifestyle concept via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on August 15, 2018

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

Video Summary

Why is it important to train up our core strength?

There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

One Exercise, multiple benefits

There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

What will happen when you start doing planks every day

    1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

    Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

    • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
    • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
    • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
    • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

    2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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      Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

      Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

      3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

        Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

        4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

          Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

          A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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          A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

          On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

          5. You’ll improve overall balance

            Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

            6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

              Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

              7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                How to hold a plank position

                1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                  How to improve your plank time gradually

                  1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                  2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                  3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                  Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                  Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                  You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                  • Prolapse
                  • After prolapse surgery
                  • Pelvic pain conditions
                  • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                  • Previous childbirth
                  • Overweight

                  Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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