What will you do during your 15 minute break?
What are your biggest obstacles to achieving the fitness level you desire? Is it the time commitment required to make it to the gym? Is it the expense of a membership? Or is it a sporadic work schedule that requires odd hours and lots of travel? For many people, committing to an exercise class or a regular gym schedule just isn’t going to happen. An easy fix is fitness bands workout… wherever you are.
For me, the best way to achieve optimal fitness is to find a way to fit exercise into the extra moments of my day whenever possible. Getting a fitness tracker several years ago encouraged me to find short pockets of time where I could sneak in a speed walk here and there. That was great for getting in a little cardio, but it didn’t do much in the way of toning. However, I’ve recently discovered fitness bands and have been surprised to learn that effective strength training can easily be done on the go.
I’m sure you’ve heard of fitness bands, also called resistance bands, but there are many advantages to using one that you may not have considered. Here are some facts about fitness bands that you probably don’t know.
- Carrying around a fitness band is like having a gym full of equipment with you at all times. Many of the same exercises that would normally be done on a weight machine, can be successfully replicated with a fitness band at home, in the office, and when traveling.
- Fitness bands are among the most affordable exercise equipment you can buy. The two most common types are a loop band and a tube band. Loop bands are just what the name implies: envision a giant rubber band. Tube bands look like a thick, stretchy jump rope and have comfy handles at each end. Both kinds can be purchased in sets with varying degrees of resistance. The loop bands often come in packs of 5, and a sturdy set can cost less than $10. Sets of tube bands start closer to $20.
- Using a fitness band requires very little space. A cubicle at work or a cozy New York studio pose no space constraints to the types of exercises fitness bands require. Even a college student in a small dorm room can put a fitness band to use.
- A fitness band can be used while sitting down. Simply place the tube band around your knees or ankles and pull apart while watching T.V. or typing at your desk.
- Wearing a tube band while doing household chores is a great way to get in an extra leg workout. Some enthusiasts have even been spotted wearing a fitness band around the legs while shopping. Now that’s a fitness routine I always have time for.
- Using a resistance band as opposed to free weights forces you to use more muscle groups. The resistance that you experience with a fitness band is constant over a full range of motion whereas free weights only give you resistance based on gravity’s pull.
They’re cheap, they’re lightweight and portable, but are they easy to use? I think you’ll be surprised at how simple the fitness band exercises are. But just because they’re simple to learn, doesn’t mean you’ll find them to be easy.
Click here for some options for your routine: Fitness Accessories
Below is a basic 15-20 minute routine to get you acquainted with the world of fitness band toning on-the-go. None of these exercises will be new to you, but performing them while wearing the fitness band will challenge you in a whole new way.
The following routine uses the loop fitness band, which is the cheapest and easiest option for beginners. Remember, most fitness band sets come with 5 different levels of resistance. You will probably want to start with the lightest band and be sure to focus on good form.
Basic Loop Walk—30 reps
- Place loop band around the ankles and stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
- Lean slightly forward, tightening the abs.
- Slowly take 5 large steps forward and 5 steps back, which is one rep.
(This one is great for amusing co-workers on your way to the water cooler.)
Side Loop Walk—30 reps
- Place loop around the ankles.
- Stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
- With your right foot, take one large step to the right while squeezing the glutes.
- Aim to at least double the distance between your legs.
- Now move your left foot to the right, making your feet shoulder-width apart again.
- Continue until you’ve taken 5 large steps to the right.
- Repeat with 5 large steps to the left, which is 1 rep.
Loop Jumping Jacks—40 reps
- Place loop band around your ankles.
- Begin with feet about shoulder-width apart.
- Jump both feet out at once as far as possible.
- Return to beginning position, which is one rep.
Squat to Side Kick—15 reps
- Place loop band above the knees.
- Stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
- Bend knees to enter a full squat like you’re about to sit in a chair.
- Stand back up, then lift right leg to the side, squeezing the glute.
- Repeat the squat, this time lifting the left leg to the side, which is one rep.
Backward Loop Kicks—15 reps
- Place loop band around the ankles.
- Put all your weight on right leg and put left toes on the floor just behind right foot.
- Kick left leg back about 6-8 inches while tightening the abs and keeping both legs straight.
- Repeat 15 times and then switch legs.
Loop Leg Lifts—20 reps
- Place band around the ankles.
- Lie on your right side with legs straight.
- Slowly lift left leg as high as possible, tightening abs and glutes.
- Hold one second, then lower.
- Repeat 20 lifts and then switch to left side.
Don’t let the simplicity of the above routine fool you. There are dozens more fitness band workouts available online that will challenge every muscle in your body. Just remember, 10 minutes here and 10 minutes there can add up to a lot of fitness. You may never be the person who ends up doing the Basic Loop Walk at the mall, but once you give a fitness band a try, you’ll be hooked.