09/20/2010 05:50 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Exercise in Your Living Room

No matter the weather outside, you can effectively exercise in your living room. To assist Americans in developing a personal exercise program, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a guide that suggests that adults should start with two and a half hours of medium-intensity exercise each week, and increase to five hours as they're able.

Speed Walking
Clear away any furniture or other obstacles in your living room to maximize your floor area. Walk briskly around the perimeter of the room three times. Cross through the middle of the room. Then, walk around the room in the opposite direction. Repeat for 20 minutes. Change the pattern to your liking and room shape. Step with a lunge for more of a muscle-strengthening challenge, keeping your bent knee in line with your ankle at the maximum lunge point.

Stand with your legs hip-width apart or slightly wider. Focus on using your gluteal muscles, hamstrings and quads. Bend your knees, and sit back as if you are sitting in an imaginary chair. Keep your knees just behind your toes. Return to standing position. Repeat 12 to 20 times for two or more sets.

Lie on your stomach and on the balls of your feet. Position your hands flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart. Keep your elbows in line with your rib cage. Push your entire body upward to a straight elbows position while hardening your core abdominal muscles and keeping you body in a rigid, straight position. As you rise and lower, count to 10 or 20; the slower you move, the more intense the workout. Start with two or more sets of 10 reps and increase to feel the burn each session.

Chair Triceps Dips
Find a stable piece of furniture that can support your weight without tipping over, such as the front edge of a sturdy chair. Squat with your back facing the chair and place your hands on the seat with your fingers facing forward. Keep your hands in line with the sides of your body and straighten your elbows to hold yourself up, keeping your feet flat on the floor. According to Fitness Magazine, the ideal position for a triceps dip is to bend your elbows 90 degrees and dip down until your upper arms are parallel to the floor and in line with your shoulders. Push back up to the starting position without locking your elbows when you straighten them. This completes one rep. Perform a minimum of one set of eight reps.

Do classic sit-ups with your arms behind your head and clench your ab muscles as you rise, keeping your back straight. To exercise your lower abdomen, straighten your legs and lift them in the air perpendicular to your back as you sit up. For a more intense workout, lower your legs just above the floor. Do at least one set of 50 and increase to fatigue in future sessions.


About this Author

Diana Gamble's health-oriented articles have been published in magazines such as The Natural Journal since 2007. She earned certifications for massage therapy and nutritional consulting from the North Carolina School of Holistic Medicine. She graduated from the University of North Carolina-Asheville with a Bachelor of Arts in literature.