Stay in shape with these easy home exercises

You can lose a lot of weight without leaving the comfort of your home.

It's not always easy to get outside for exercise. Whether it's a rainy day, a long trip to the gym or an unusually busy day, life has a way of throwing a wrench in your exercise plans. You can help fight back by doing your own exercises at home, with simple things around the house and a little time to yourself.

Some pre-workout tips
Before you start, plan when and where you'll do your exercise in the home. Pick a room with plenty of space (and maybe some window shades) and figure out how you'll orient yourself while working out. Yoga and other mat-based sessions might demand a lot from the space around you, so be ready to stretch out.

Speaking of which, you'll also want to wear comfortable clothes and have any mats, weights or other equipment nearby for easy access. Finally, set realistic goals for yourself, and don't be afraid to change if something isn't feasible. You want to get into a habit you can keep.

Now that you're ready, here are some different exercises to try!

Crunches
Want to tackle those abs? This standby is a good way to do it, and doesn't take anything more than a mat. The American Council on Exercise and Ted Rickey, one of its certified professionals, suggest a simple torso lift with the hands behind the head. Everything should move fluidly and without unnecessary stress.

"Don't lose hope if you don't have ripped abs instantly."

Have some patience with this one. According to a Global News story from Canada, personal trainers believe it can take time to see results in your belly, so don't lose hope if you don't have ripped abs instantly.

The news source even spoke to one trainer who said that time gets "wasted" on crunches instead of other exercises. If you have realistic expectations, though, this could still be a good choice for your workout.

Movement (aerobics, yoga etc.)
As long as the breakables are out of the way and your neighbors don't mind the noise, cardio is a great choice for a home workout. Try jumping jacks, a few intense yoga poses or basic movements in the comfort of your living room and try to work up a sweat.

"You can turn a flight of stairs into your own exercise equipment!"

Stairs
A similar exercise could be stair stepping, going up and down a flight to put your calf and leg muscles to work, as Shape Magazine noted. It also said that the increased difficulty of stairs adds to the effectiveness of the workout, so this can be a good way to make up for some lost time.

Another advantage of stair training? Stairs are nearly everywhere. While we're mainly talking about home exercises here, you could also use this if you're at an office, mall or parking garage and need to kill some time. If you feel comfortable touching the steps, you can even use them to prop up on your side and do some lunges, leg lifts and other moves. You can basically turn a flight of stairs into your own exercise equipment!

Strength and core training
Using weights is all well and good, but there are other ways to toughen up that don't require any heavy lifting. Try planking, the suspension exercise where you lie down and prop yourself with your hands, or a side variation where you use your arm as a support. You could also try to crunch while on your side.

Make sure you're keeping good form and posture while you're doing all of this core work, though. You want to make sure you don't accidentally throw yourself off.

Done all of that? Phew! Go treat yourself to a little rest – you've earned it!

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