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The No-Workout Exercise Plan

These trainer-approved random acts of fitness are 15 easy and fun ways to keep you strong, sane and shapely while at home.

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Jade Schulz
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Even with public spaces beginning to open up, many of us still aren’t getting around like we used to. That means missed activities like walking in the mall, yoga classes and strolling downtown while at lunch during the workday no longer contribute to many peoples’ daily activity levels. As a fitness instructor, I might suggest a structured exercise routine. But there are also ways to plug and play more movement into your day a few minutes at a time. And many of them put the emphasis on play! How’d you like to spin a Hula-Hoop or get your dance groove on? Here are 15 ways you can boost your activity levels, as well as your mood, while at home.

1. Tone your calves and butt while brushing your teeth or washing dishes. As you’re standing by the sink, lift your heels high for two seconds and then lower them. Keep the glutes engaged as you repeat the calf raises 20 to 30 times.

2. Take a West African dance class virtually. Ailey Extension is offering dance classes online.

3. Participate in a TikTok dance challenge. You’ll spend lots of time practicing before you upload your own moves to the popular short-video app. Try the Tootsie Slide dance challenge like LeBron James and his family. They slayed it!

4. Set your alarm for hourly movements. For example, try 10 pushups or 10 burpees every hour.

5. Try this stretch to loosen tight back and shoulder muscles. Stand tall with feet about hip distance apart and arms to your sides. Slowly curl your upper body down toward your toes, letting your arms hang. Goes as low as you feel comfortable. Hold this position for 15 seconds, breathing deeply while feeling the tightness in your back and shoulders release. Slowly roll your body back up to standing position.

6. Invite friends to a Zoom line-dance party!

7. Pull out the jump rope or Hula-Hoop. Go back to childhood to jump as many times as you can without missing. Same with the Hula-Hoop. Once you get that hip action back, keep it going.

8. Grab weights or soup cans (placed in bags to replicate weights) for a resistance workout that works your arms and core.

9. Tone up with micro movements. The small repetitive moves typical of a barre class need no equipment. Try “walking arms.” While standing or kneeling, extend arms in front of you and alternate raising and lowering each arm about 3 inches, keeping your shoulders relaxed. Continue alternating for 90 seconds, at a steady pace.

10. Stand while working at your computer. Standing can burn between 100 and 200 calories per hour compared with sitting, which burns between 60 and 130 calories. If you’re telecommuting or just surfing the net, put that laptop on the counter for 20 minutes or longer.

11. You’ll dig this one — get busy in the garden. Bending, digging and squatting while planting and tending a garden burn calories and benefit almost every muscle group. Of course, the best reward is enjoying the fresh flowers, veggies or fruit.

12. Wash your car!

13. Try yoga.

14. Pull out the vacuum. A 150-pound person can burn about 150 calories performing 40 minutes of housecleaning chores.

15. Climb and descend the stairs for a 10-minute cardio activity that works the lower body.

If you’re sedentary or have physical ailments, check with your doctor about which activities are right for you.