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Key Points

  • Stay hydrated by drinking water or sports drinks. More ↓
  • Skip the stretching. Do warm ups instead. ↓
  • Try aerobic exercises like jumping rope, swimming, jogging, or biking. ↓
  • Try anaerobic exercises like running, lifting weights, or doing burpees. ↓
  • Exercise your core with planks, crunches, or sit-ups. ↓
  • Stretch only after warming up or exercising. ↓

Part 1 Preparations and Warm Ups

  1. Wear the right clothes. You will want to wear clothes that will not restrict your movements or blood flow. Don’t wear clothes which are too tight, especially around your joints. You will also want to wear clothing which is made of a material which breathes well, since you will sweat when doing many forms of exercise. Clothes specifically designed for exercise can easily be found.

  2. Wear the right shoes.

    Just because we call them tennis shoes does not mean they are great athletic shoes. Shoes like Converse have little shock absorbency and can be terrible for your feet and bones. Get shoes which fit comfortably and are designed for the type of activity that you intend to do.

  3. Hydrate.

    Drink lots of water before you exercise. Your body will need the water to help your muscles work and also to help you sweat. If you’re dehydrated before you start, just think about how you’ll feel afterwards!

  4. Don’t stretch! Don’t stretch before exercising. Contrary to popular belief, studies have shown that this is not helpful and will not allow you to perform any better. If anything, stretching before exercising will make you worse off: it’s a great way to pull or strain a muscle and hurt yourself! Needs citation.

  5. Do warm up exercises.

    Though researchers cannot agree definitively on whether or not warm ups help you to perform better in exercises, they all agree that warming up certainly won’t hurt.

    Warm up before exercising by doing a less intense version of your intended workout for 5-10 minutes. If you plan to run, jog first. If you intend to swim, swim slowly.

  6. Check with your doctor.

    Certain conditions may make it a good idea to check with your doctor before starting an exercise regimen. There are exercises for every health condition

    , but it’s a good idea to know what to avoid. Exercising should make you feel healthy and good in your own body: not hurt you!

    • If you have diseases or conditions like asthma or lung problems, arthritis, diabetes or liver and kidney problems, or heart disease, definitely talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise regimen.
    • If you notice certain problems, you will also want to talk to a doctor. These include things like pain or dizziness following physical exertion, shortness of breath after very mild exertion or when at rest, or swelling in the ankles.
    • You may also want to talk to a doctor simply to find out what kind of exercise they recommend for your particular goals and health conditions. You can also consult with a nutritionist and a trainer for more information on exercising and how you can best meet your goals.

Part 2 Aerobic Exercises

  1. Understand aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise is often called a “cardio” workout, since it is designed to increase and improve blood flow. These types of exercises are of a lower intensity but last for longer periods of time.

  2. Climb stairs. Climbing stairs is a great way to get your heart rate up. You can climb actual stairs or you can use a stair machine at a gym. Climbing stairs improves your leg muscles as well as your butt. Be careful if using actual stairs, however, as you do not want to fall and get seriously injured. 

  3. Jump rope.

    This is not just a fun game for children but also an excellent workout. Working the arms, legs and core muscles, this is an exercise that you can easily do at home. It is also well known for improving balance and is excellent for people who intend to play sports.

  4. Do jumping jacks.

    Jumping jacks are an exercise performed by standing with the legs together, arms at your side, and then jumping to move the legs outward and raising the arm together above your head. Jump again to return to the starting position. These are great for getting your heart rate up and burning calories.

  5. Walk or jog.

    Walking and jogging are wonderful ways to get your heart rate up. Though jogging may be difficult on the knees for some people, walking is certainly an accessible exercise and should be done by those at every level. Studies have shown that walking an hour a day can help you maintain your weight over time and reduce your likelihood of certain conditions, like hypertension and obesity.

  6. Swim.

    Swimming is great exercise and is fun to boot. This will work different muscles depending on the style of swimming you do. Swimming is frequently recommended for people with joint problems or those that are significantly overweight, as it can take a great deal of strain off of the skeleton while still raising the heart rate.

  7. Bike. Riding your bike is an accessible, environmentally friendly, and very effective way to get exercise. Working muscles in most areas of the body, bike riding will get your heart rate up while it gets you somewhere! You can bike outside or you can get a stationary bike and stay at home.

Part 3 Anaerobic Exercise

  1. Understand anaerobic exercise.

    Anaerobic exercises are those done at a higher intensity for shorter periods of time. These build strength and help your body to become accommodated to working hard. Paired with a healthy diet, these exercises can also help you to lose weight, as your body’s caloric use will increase. These types of exercise are actually arguably better for burning fat than aerobic exercises.

  2. Run. Running is tough on the knees and bone structure but is still an excellent form of exercise. You can run locally around your neighborhood or around a track at a gym. Remember that running is different than jogging: it’s much faster and much harder to do!

  3. Lift weights. There are many different types of weights you can lift and ways to lift them, but doing this type of exercise will help you build a variety of muscles and increase your strength. Be sure to start small and work your way up, since trying to lift something which is too heavy is a common way to injure yourself.

  4. Do push-ups.

    Push ups are done by placing yourself with your stomach on the ground. Place your feet so that your toes are flat on the ground, then place your hands flat on the ground at face level, a shoulder’s width apart. Then, keeping the line of your back and legs completely straight, lift your body with your arms by pushing against the ground so that your whole body is supported on your toes and hands. Lower yourself back down so that your nose is nearly touching the ground and then raise yourself back up. Repeat.

  5. Try squats.

    Squats are done by standing with your feet a shoulder’s width apart, back straight, arms crossed in front of you, and slowly lowering yourself down as if to sit in a chair. Once in the sitting position, slowly raise yourself back up. These are a great exercise for your core and leg muscles.

  6. Do burpees.

    Burpees (a common military exercise) are done starting in a standing position, then drop to a crouch, jump the legs back into push-up position, do one push-up (if you want), hop your legs back to the crouch position, and then jump straight upwards with hands raised to return to the standing position. This is a great workout as it exercises all areas of the body.

Part 4 Core Muscle Exercise

  1. Understand core exercises. Core workouts develop the muscles around your abdomen. This has many benefits. With a stronger core, you will be less prone to back pain and injury and you will also be able to improve bad posture. Paired with weight loss, strong core muscles will also give you defined abs.

  2. Try planks.

    Planks are probably the most efficient core exercise. You can greatly improve your core strength with just a few minutes of this exercise every day. Planks are done by taking a position similar to a push up, but supporting the upper half of your body on your forearms and holding the position for as long as possible. It will surprise you how difficult it is if you’ve never tried it but the exercise is extremely effective.

  3. Do crunches.

    Crunches are another great core exercise, done by lying face up, knees bent, arms crossed at your chest, and lifting just the head and shoulder up towards the pelvis. Lower yourself back down and repeat.

  4. Do sit-ups. Sit ups are similar to crunches and are done by lying face up, knees bent only slightly, and rolling your upper body into a sitting position. You can cross your arms in front of you or run your palms up and down your thighs as you move to guide your movement.

  5. Try bridges. Bridges are a great core exercise because they also work on your bottom and lower back muscles. These are done by lying on your back, with your knees bent and your arms flat on the ground at your sides. Slowly roll your back and lift your hips until a straight line is created between your shoulders and knees, your back and thighs parallel, and then slowly lower it back into starting position.

Part 5 Balance Exercises

  1. Try T’ai chi. T’ai chi is a Chinese martial art, the forms of which are done in sequences of slow movements. Doing t’ai chi will allow you to build better balance but it can also be very relaxing. Find a local group to practice with or take a class from a local gym or community center. You can also find lessons online or DVDs which will allow you to practice at home.

  2. Do weight shifts.

    Weight shifts are a great starting balancing exercise. These are done by standing with both feet on the ground, hip width apart. Next, shift all of your weight onto one leg and lift the other slightly off of the floor. Hold the position, trying to maintain good form, for 30 seconds. Do the other leg. Repeat as much as you want.

  3. Try to single-leg balance. These are done same as the above, with the exception that the lifted leg is bent backwards at the knee. This will work on your front-to-back balance, whereas the previous one focuses more on side-to-side. Both should be used in conjunction.

Part 6 Flexibility Exercises

  1. Try Pilates. Pilates is a series of forms and movements which occasionally makes use of tools like exercise balls, weights, and resistance bands. This form of exercise helps train muscles with the correct movement patterns which can improve balance, core strength, posture and flexibility. Find a local group to practice with or take a class from a local gym or community center. You can also find lessons online or DVDs which will allow you to practice at home.

  2. Try Yoga.

    Yoga is an Indian meditation technique and exercise which has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety (in turn aiding weight loss) and is excellent for building better balance and flexibility. Find a local group to practice with or take a class from a local gym or community center. You can also find lessons online or DVDs which will allow you to practice at home.

  3. Try dance. Various forms of dance, such as ballet, are actually fairly rigorous exercise and can significantly improve your flexibility, as well as your coordination. Find a local group to practice with or take a class from a local gym or community center.

  4. Do stretches.

    Stretches should be done after warming up or exercising, as this will help prevent muscle strain and injury. Stretching your muscles will help provide much greater flexibility and can reduce the likelihood of injury due to strain during other exercises later on.

    • A basic stretch to try is a hamstring stretch. This is done by sitting, splaying your legs apart, and reaching forward to touch one foot at a time. You can bend the leg which is not being reached across.
    • Another basic stretch is a butterfly groin stretch. This is done by sitting on the floor and pulling both ankles in towards your crotch, getting as close as you can. Try to press your knees to the floor as you do this.
    • Try a simple shoulder stretch. This is done by pulling your elbow across the front of your body towards the opposite shoulder. Press against your arm as you do this.
    • This wall stretch aids mobility in the chest, shoulders, abs, hip flexors, quads and calves. Face a wall standing about a foot away from it, then reach your hands up as high as you can flat against the wall, leaning forward into it with your chest and hips while keeping your feet in position flat on the floor.

Part 7 Busy People Exercises

  1. Fit exercise in whenever you can. You don’t have to dedicate hours of your day to exercising. Anything helps, so find ways to fit exercise into the smaller “in between” moments of your day. You can do squats while you wait for food to cook or microwave or fit in a minute of planks when you first wake up. Look and you will find moments in your day to get a little more active.

  2. Skip the chair.

    If you spend most of your day sitting in a desk chair, you will find you have a lot to gain from finding an alternative. Using a standing desk or a standing desk in combination with a treadmill will get you burning calories while you work (it doesn’t even have to be fast paced, though the harder it is the more you’ll get out of it). If that’s not for you, try an exercise ball instead of a desk chair. Some research has found that using these methods can help you lose over 40 lbs a year if you’re overweight.

  3. Stop using elevators. When getting to your apartment or office, skip the elevator and take the stairs instead. This is great because you can add a floor at a time as it becomes easier for you to get up the stairs. Eventually you can also run up the stairs for some added exercise.

  4. Get out of the car.

    Whenever you can, stop using your car if it is possible for you to get yourself where you’re going on foot or on a bike. Turn grocery shopping into a workout by walking to the store a few times a week to pick up a smaller number of items. Take a bus to work and get off a few stops early to walk. Ride your bike to work if you can. If you have to take your car, park really far away from your building. This is a great way to introduce physical activity into your day.

Part 8 Beginner Routine

  1. Walk or jog for 30 minutes. This can be broken up into three 10 minute sets.

  2. Do 30 bridges. If you can, do these in one set. However, they can be broken up into 2-3 sets.

  3. Do planks for 1 minute. This will obviously need to be broken up. Simply keep the position for as long as you can, rest for a few seconds, and then return.

  4. Do 30 push-ups. If you can, do these in one set. However, they can be broken up into 2-3 sets.

  5. Do 30 seated squats. Sit in a chair, stand up and repeat. You can try doing these squats without the chair if you have the strength and balance to do so.

Part 9 Intermediate Routine

  1. Walk or jog for 1 hour. This can be broken up into two half-hour sets.

  2. Do 50 crunches. If you can, do these in one set. However, they can be broken up into 2-3 sets.

  3. Do planks for 2 minutes. This will obviously need to be broken up. Simply keep the position for as long as you can, rest for 30 seconds, and then return.

  4. Do 25-50 burpees. If you can, do these in one set. However, they can be broken up into 2-3 sets.

  5. Climb stairs for 15 minutes. This can be broken up into three 5 minute sets.

Part 10 Hard Routine

  1. Jog or run for 1 hour. This can be broken up into two half-hour sets.

  2. Do 100 sit-ups. If you can, do these in one set. However, they can be broken up into 2-3 sets.

  3. Do planks for 2-3 minutes. At this point you need to work in variations like the side plank and reverse plank as well. Simply keep the position for as long as you can, rest for a minute, and then return.

  4. Lift weights for 30-45 minutes. You will want to choose weights and positions based on the muscle groups you wish to focus on. Break up the hour into three 20 minute sets and try to work different muscle groups in each set.

  5. Jump rope for 30 minutes. This can be broken up into three 10 minute sets.

Part 11 Interval Training Routine

  1. Understand interval training.

    Interval training is any exercise done at a very high intensity for only a few brief minutes (2-3 at most) and alternated with either no activity or a slow paced activity. Interval training is widely regarded to be one of the most effective exercise regimens, since it is less time consuming but appears to produce identical effects.

  2. Do a sprint-walk routine.

    The most basic interval training routine would be to sprint for 2-3 blocks (or the equivalent of 400 meters) and then walk back to the starting point, beginning the process over again.

    • An alternative would be to combine this with an aerobic workout. Warm up by walking slowly for five minutes, quickly for ten minutes, sprint for three blocks, walk back two block, sprint for three blocks, walk back two blocks (and so on, lasting 15 minutes), and then walking back quickly to your origin point to cool down.
  3. Apply to your preferred activity. You can apply interval training to almost any exercise activity. Try cycling, swimming, many core exercises, and so on. Try to alternate between exercise activities on different days to ensure that all of your muscle groups get attention.

Part 12 Elderly Routine

  1. Devote time to exercising.

    You will want to set your goal for exercising at least ½ an hour a day. Slowly, over time, you should draw this out to 1 hour. This time period, however, can be broken up into sections and spread over the course of the day, however, those sections should be no less than 10 minutes. When you begin, exercise at least 2 days a week. Over time you should increase your frequency up to 5 days a week.

  2. Walk.

    Walking is the best thing you can do for improving your health. As discussed above, a study found that a mixture of intense and relaxed walking in senior citizens decreased the likelihood of certain diseases by 20%.

    You can walk with your friends, family members, or by yourself. If you want to walk in the comfort of indoors, you can walk around the inside of your apartment building or you can walk the inner corridor of the local mall. You can also walk outside if you prefer.

    • Try to walk for at least half an hour a day and go at a pace that gets your heart rate up. If you do not push your body at least a little, you will not gain nearly as much from the exercise.
  3. Do balance exercises.

    As we age, we tend to lose a lot of our balance. This is normal. However, you will want to work on your balance to help ensure that you can move around without hurting yourself. Do balance exercises to protect yourself and prevent injury.

    • A good, basic balance exercise is to try standing on one leg. Make sure to do both legs in turn and to also have a chair nearby to hold on to if necessary to prevent falling.
  4. Do flexibility exercises.

    Muscles lose their elasticity over time, which can make it difficult for you to move around or get up if you fall. Do flexibility exercises like stretches to maintain your muscles and keep you safe and independent.

  5. Do strength exercises. Lift small, 2lb weights (more if you can). This will help you maintain the strength in your hands and arms, allowing you greater independence for longer.

Part 13 Post-Exercise Techniques

  1. Do cool down exercises.

    Cool down exercises, like warm up exercises, are a gentler exercise, meant to ease your body between working hard and being at rest. Cool down by walking for 5-10 minutes and (preferably) stretching. Stretching before exercising is likely to cause injury but stretching after exercise, when the muscles are warm and active, will help improve their tone and flexibility.

  2. Get electrolytes and drink water. When you exercise, your muscles use up and your body sweats out a number of essential nutrients. You need to replace these nutrients or you can hurt yourself or become sick. These nutrients, water, sodium, potassium, and sugar, can be consumed in a number of ways. You could try drinking water and eating a banana or drinking water and eating a protein bar, among a variety of other options. If you choose to drink a sports drink, it is best to dilute the drink at a ration of 6 to 1 (that is 6 parts water for each part drink) since these drink’s sugar content is unnecessarily high.

  3. Manage the pain.

    Exercising, especially the kind that pushes your body beyond its comfort level (the good kind!), can cause muscle pain and discomfort. This is normal and a healthy sign of your body getting into shape and becoming stronger. You may want to manage the pain though. This can be done by taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen or using an ice pack.

    • Intense pain with a fast onset is an indication that you have injured yourself. Consult with a doctor or nurse, especially if it is very severe or lasts for more than a few days.
    • Prevent muscle pain to begin with by slowly easing into exercise, both in an individual routine but also over the course of time. Don’t leap straight into a high intensity program but rather build yourself up to that level over the course of several months.

Community Q&A

Add New Question

  • Is it okay to exercise even late night? Please answer

    Michele Dolan is a BCRPA certified Personal Trainer in Canada. She has been a personal trainer and fitness instructor since 2002.

    Yes of course. Exercise at the time that works best for you. Some people have better sleep after working out. Only if you have trouble sleeping after exercising should you consider exercising earlier.

  • How often should you train per week, e.g. if you take the ‘Hard Routine’ Plan?

    Michele Dolan is a BCRPA certified Personal Trainer in Canada. She has been a personal trainer and fitness instructor since 2002.

    Everyone should get 60 minutes of physical activity each day. How intense that activity will be varies depending on a person’s fitness level, age and health. If someone were to do the hard routine three times a week, one hour of moderate activity per day on the other days of the week would maintain a fairly high fitness level.

  • How long should you wait to exercise after eating a meal?

    wikiHow Contributor

    It takes the gastrointestinal tract about 3 to 4 hours to completely digest a full meal. Note too that the digestion phase varies between what you are eating — for example if you ate a banana, you can exercise after 30 minutes or 1 hour after eating it but if you ate a steak, it would take you about 3 hours before it would be good to begin exercise. That said, most people find that eating trail mix mid-hike doesn’t prevent them from continuing to walk, as human beings were built to eat and move.

  • Why do I have to exercise in different ways to be totally fit?

    wikiHow Contributor

    This is so that every muscle in your body can be targeted. Also, it provides variation so that you don’t get bored and give up. If you don’t like exercise, revert to what your ancestors did instead and walk everywhere, move constantly and do plenty of physical work at least once a day, such as chopping wood, gardening, carry loads or cleaning your house vigorously.

  • What kind of diet should I follow to maximize my results?

    wikiHow Contributor

    It depends what kind of results you are seeking. If you are looking to burn fat, then take carbs out of your diet and eat lots of protein rich food. If you are looking to bulk up, then carbs and proteins are your best friends.

  • Is it okay to feel warm inside after exercise?

    wikiHow Contributor

    When you exercise for a minimum of 10 minutes, your heart rate will increase, therefore your blood flow will increase, making you feel warmer. This is both normal and desirable.

  • How can I reduce tummy/midsection fat?

    wikiHow Contributor

    Walking and jogging are very helpful for removing stomach fat. Also, any core exercises ranging from sit-ups to planks and any other core exercises are good. Check your diet and eat cleanly. Make sure your diet is not mainly high in sugar and fat. Your diet is the biggest impact on your stomach fat.

  • How soon will I see results after starting these steps?

    wikiHow Contributor

    It depends on what type of body you have, how fast your metabolism is, how often you exercise, etc. Most people start seeing results in about 1 month, however.

  • Is doing yoga better than going to the gym for a regular workout?

    wikiHow Contributor

    It depends on what your goals are. If you want to relax and calm your body, then yoga is great. But if you want to lose weight, gain weight, get stronger or be more active, the gym is a better idea. In general, you don’t have to sign up for a gym to get great workouts and train well, though. You can exercise without equipment.

  • I’m a diabetic. Will this work to lower my blood sugar?

    Exercise — along with a healthy diet — is actually recommended to help lower and balance out your blood sugar. Talk to your doctor about specific workouts you may do.

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  • Pair exercise with healthy eating. Not only will this help you maintain a healthy weight, but it will give you more energy and make you feel less sluggish when exercising.
  • Listening to music while you work out can be a great way to keep you entertained and motivated. It’s the Eye of the Tiger!
  • It is impossible to target exercise to lose fat in one particular area of your body. If you wish to reduce belly fat, thighs, etc., you will need to lose fat over your whole body first. This can, however, be paired with strength building and muscle toning in the area you wish to improve.
  • Consistency is the most important part of an exercise regime. Don’t expect results in a few days and don’t expect those results to stick around if you stop. Exercise several times a week and keep it up if you want to stay healthy.
  • Walk your dog. Only if you have one. You can adopt one, but remember the responsibilities.
  • Don’t push yourself too hard. Try to increase the difficulty after about 2 weeks of doing exercises.


  • It is important to remember that each type of exercise (aerobic, anaerobic, core muscle, etc.) needs to be used in conjunction with the others. This will work out your entire body, building strength and healthy muscles as well as improving your heart and circulation.
  • Exercise is meant to make you healthier, not make you look like someone out of a magazine. You should remember this. Not everyone can look like a movie star. Some people will always have a lot of bulk. This can be perfectly normal and healthy. What is important is to ensure that you feel comfortable and energetic and great in your own body.
  • It is possible to seriously injure yourself if you overwork your body or strain your muscles. Be careful and consult with a physician or trainer for advice on how to prevent injury. If you do hurt yourself, go to the doctor.
  • Pregnant women can and should exercise. However, remember that your center of balance is off and that your body will have less resources available to devote to recovering. Be realistic and don’t push yourself too hard. You should not exercise if you have certain health conditions, a low placenta, a history of miscarriages, or a weak cervix.

Things You’ll Need

  • Equipment

  • MP3/CD Player

  • Water to keep you hydrated

Article Info

Categories: Calisthenic Exercises | Sports and Fitness

In other languages:

Español: hacer ejercicio, Italiano: Fare Esercizio Fisico, Русский: делать зарядку, Français: faire du sport, 中文: 锻炼, Deutsch: Sport treiben, Português: Se Exercitar, العربية: ممارسة التمارين الرياضية, ไทย: ออกกำลังกาย, 日本語: エクササイズする, Nederlands: Bewegen

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Expert Reviewed

Three Parts:Setting Up Your WorkoutDoing Cardio in a Small SpaceToning Your BodyCommunity Q&A

Exercising has many benefits, including improved cardiovascular and immune system, increased brain function, better sleep, and a boosted mood. Excuses for not exercising often focus on lack of time or space. By exercising in the comfort of your own bedroom, you can work around both excuses. The result of your hard work will pay off when you start feeling and looking just as you desired.

Part 1 Setting Up Your Workout

  1. Designate a place in your room to exercise.

    To determine if a space is big enough, lay down and spread your arms and legs. If your arms or legs don’t hit anything, you should have enough space to exercise. Still, make sure there aren’t any sharp surfaces or furniture that you could hit during the course of your workout if you were to move slightly out of the designated space.

  2. Clear out the space.

    Make sure that the bedroom is tidy before exercising. There shouldn’t be anything on the floor that could trip you up during the exercise. Ideally, the space should be completely empty except for your chosen workout equipment.

    • If you share the bedroom with another person, ask for their permission before clearing out a space.
  3. Purchase exercise equipment you would like to use.

    While this isn’t mandatory, exercise equipment can allow you to do more types of workouts in the comfort of your own space. You can choose a couple of items to begin with and then work up to other equipment as you advance in your workouts. Some good starter items include:

    • Yoga mat
    • Stability ball
    • Small weights
    • Jump rope
    • Stretching bands
  4. Make sure the room will be free of distraction during your workout.

    Even if you have plenty of space, it is difficult to focus on a workout if others are in the room. If you share a bedroom, find a time when you will have the room to yourself. Also, make sure that you won’t have any responsibilities for at least 15 minutes to an hour, depending on how long you’d like to exercise.

  5. Look up exercise plans on fitness websites.

    If you have trouble coming up with your own exercise routine, there are plenty of fitness websites that offer routines for you to follow. Typically, you will be able to choose a routine that is ideal for your fitness level and desired type of workout. Many of these websites are free, but some of them require you to pay a one-time or monthly fee for access.

    • These websites will also offer other fitness advice—such as diet plans.
  6. Follow workout videos on YouTube.

    There are almost an endless amount of fitness YouTube channels out there. You can find a workout routine to follow in just about any form of exercise you desire. For example, you can find a workout routine that focuses on cardio, strength, dancing, yoga, or even workouts tailored for small spaces. These workout routines are often easy to follow because you have an “instructor” guiding you on the video.

    • You can search for random exercise videos or subscribe to one, specific fitness YouTube channel.
  7. Purchase a workout video to follow.

    If you have a DVD player and television in your room, you can purchase a workout video to follow. The workout can be traditional, or you can find a workout that incorporates dance or yoga. These videos can be purchased online, at a fitness store, or even at select supermarkets with a workout section.

    • Some libraries have workout videos available to borrow.
  8. Use a fitness smartphone application.

    If you have a smartphone, there are many fitness applications available for download. Some of these apps require a fee, but many of them are free. Search through fitness applications in your app store and download the one that looks most appealing to you. Follow the exercises given on the app as often as you’d like.

Part 2 Doing Cardio in a Small Space

  1. Warm up before your workout.

    It’s important to do a warm up before doing any type of exercise. Warming up reduces the possibility of injury and allows you to fully use your body as you exercise. Warm up for 5 to 10 minutes by jumping rope,

    doing lunges

    , and doing


    . Boost your range of motion with activities like arm circles, leg circles, wrist and ankle circles, hip bends, and knee bends.

  2. Run in place.

    Cardio doesn’t only mean running or swimming long distances. You can also get a cardio workout without covering any distance. For example, you can run in place. Start by kicking your feet behind you as you run. Then, bring your knees up as high as possible when you feel like you’ve warmed up. Start by running in place for five minutes. Then, try to run in place for ten minutes

    • Take breaks if you need to.
  3. Do heel kicks.

    Heel kicks are similar to running in place. Bring your right arm up to a 90-degree angle, kicking your left leg behind you. Then, alternate the arm and leg. Continue to alternate your arms and legs. Try to kick your butt with your heel as you do this. Do three 30 second or one minute sets.

  4. Work on mountain climbers.

    Start by getting into a standard push-up position. Then, bring your left knee to your chest, keeping your arms in place. Replace your left leg and bring your right knee to your chest. Continue to alternate legs. Repeat three times for thirty seconds each set.

  5. Try jumping jacks.

    Start by standing with your feet together and your arms at your side. Then, jump and spread your arms and feet. Continue to repeat this motion. Start by doing three sets of ten. Increase the amount of jumping jacks you do when you feel ready.

  6. Jump rope if you have enough space.

    Any jump rope will work. To jump rope, hold one handle of the rope in each hand. Stand with the rope behind your heels. Then, use your hand to swing the rope over your head and jump over it. Repeat this motion. Try to jump for 45 seconds. Increase your time or how many sets you do as you feel more comfortable with the motion.

    • Check that there are no light fixtures or fans that are likely to get hit in the spot you’ve chosen. Also, check wall hangings, shelves, etc., anything that could be in the range of the rope’s fall.

Part 3 Toning Your Body

  1. Try planks for full body toning.

    To do a plank, get into a standard push-up position. If that is too difficult, lower yourself onto your elbows. Hold this pose for 30 seconds to one minute, engaging all the muscles in your body.

    • You can do advance planks once you feel comfortable with a standard plank. For example, you can lift one arm at a time directly in front of you as you plank.
  2. Do sit ups and crunches to work on your core.

    Sit ups and crunches will tone your abs and help get your heart rate pumping. Start by lying on your back. Put your hands behind your head or cross them over your chest. Lifting from your core, bring your head and shoulders off of the floor to a crunch. To do a sit up, lift your back completely off of the floor. Return to the floor and repeat the motion as many times as you feel comfortable doing.

    • Have someone hold your feet if you have trouble keeping them still. If you don’t have a workout partner, try tucking your feet under the bed.
  3. Tone your legs with squats.

    Squats are a great way to tone your legs and bottom. To do a squat, stand with your feet hip-width apart. Then bend your legs. Bring your bottom as low as you can. Stand back up and repeat the motion. Start by doing 20 to 25 squats, and work your way up to doing two or three sets of 20. If you want an added challenge, hold weights while you squat.

  4. Work on wall squat.

    Start by standing up straight against a wall. Walk your feet one to two feet (30 cm to 60 cm) out in front you. Keeping your back flat against the wall, begin to bend your legs. Bend them until they are parallel with your knees. Hold your arms straight out in front of you for balance. Hold for 10 seconds and then stand up. Repeat as many times as you feel comfortable doing.

  5. Do push ups to tone your upper body.

    Begin by getting into a plank position. Then, bend your elbows and lower yourself towards the floor but do not touch the floor. If this is too difficult, bend your knees as you do the push-ups. Start by doing a set of 10, and work your way up to more sets as you build strength.

  6. Lift weights.

    Start by using standard hand weights. You can buy them at any sports store and at many supermarkets. If possible, test out the weight before you buy them. The weight should feel challenging, but not too difficult. If you haven’t used weight, start with five or ten pounds and work your way up from there. Hold the weights in your hand and bend your arm, bringing the weights toward your shoulders. Start with ten sets per arm and work your way up from there.

  7. Try yoga.

    Yoga is a way to wind down and refresh your mind. It’s also a gentle form of exercise that will keep you well toned and flexible. Yoga is a great supplemental form of exercise—meaning that it is great to do along with cardio and strength training workouts. You can purchase a video of yoga routines, follow a video online, or practice moves you may have learned previously.

  8. End your workout by stretching.

    It’s almost as important to cool your body down as it is to warm it up. Finish every workout by stretching. You should stretch as many muscles as possible, but it’s good to focus on stretching the muscles you worked out the most during your workout. Do not push yourself during these stretches. The point is to relax and rejuvenate your body.

0 / 0

Planks, crunches, squats.

Close! You certainly don’t want to forget that squats will help train the muscles in your upper legs (including your butt), which are an essential part of your core. Planks and crunches will also help train your core, but you can diversify your workout with other exercises as well! Choose another answer!

Planks, sit-ups, yoga.

Almost! While all of these will help tone your core, you might be missing out on some other important exercises that you’ll want to work into your routine. Pick another answer!

Sit-ups and crunches.

Not quite. These exercises target the core–especially your abdomen. But your core includes muscles in your back, sides, and upper legs (like your butt!) that you’ll be missing out on by only doing these exercises! Try another answer…

All of the above.

Nice! Your core is that band of muscles below your chest to near the top of your thighs. It’s a vitally important area to train and luckily all of these exercises will help! Don’t forget to do your squats or wall squats, as your butt and lower back muscles will thank you! Read on for another quiz question.

Community Q&A

Add New Question

  • Is there an exercise that affects all muscles in the body?

    Michele Dolan is a BCRPA certified Personal Trainer in Canada. She has been a personal trainer and fitness instructor since 2002.

    Burpees are probably the one exercise that works the most muscles because it includes the arms raised above the head, and it works the heart as well as all the body parts.

  • If I don’t have a jump rope, is there a different exercise I can do in my bedroom?

    wikiHow Contributor

    You can imitate jumping rope by jumping up and down in the same spot while swinging your arms slightly as if you were using a rope.

  • How long should I exercise?

    wikiHow Contributor

    If you don’t have much time, 30 minutes is a good amount. If you have a lot of time though, an hour is even better!

  • How can I build up my arms without just doing the usual stretches?

    wikiHow Contributor

    Try lifting weights, or even doing push ups. Anything that involves exercising your arms will help you build muscle.

  • How long will it take to see results after I start exercising?

    wikiHow Contributor

    Honestly, it depends on the person. Usually about 2-3 weeks. I know that may seem like a long time but believe me, it’s totally worth it.

  • How would I build my gluten from my bedroom?

    wikiHow Contributor

    Squats are extremely good for toning your bum. Make sure to keep your back straight when squatting.

  • What are good stretches to lose belly fat?

    wikiHow Contributor

    Cat and cow stretches help. Crunches also help, but they are not necessarily stretches. In general, stretching helps to lose excess fat in all the places you stretch and it is good for you, so try and stretch every muscle.

  • How long do I do this?

    wikiHow Contributor

    If you are just now beginning to do these exercises, then you should probably start off with 5 to 10 minutes for each exercise. You can increase the amount of time as you get used to doing the exercises. If you have recently had broken or dislocated bones, you should probably stick closer to 5 minutes or so, to avoid further injuries.

  • How do I build muscles as a kid?

    wikiHow Contributor

    You can do push-ups or lift light weights. A lot of arm work can definitely improve your arms, such as washing the dishes/putting dishes away, or doing housework. Make sure to drink a lot of water and eat dairy to build muscles. Drink milk before bed.

  • How many times a week should I exercise?

    wikiHow Contributor

    When you have time, you should exercise for at least half an hour each day. You should exercise on at least 3-5 days a week. Don’t push yourself too hard, though. Too much exercise is not healthy, either.

Show more answers

Unanswered Questions

  • What are exercises I can do with an ab wheel?

  • Can you give exercises with pictures for fitting?

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  • Some exercise bikes require very little space. You could always consider purchasing one.
  • Look for a small treadmill to fit into your bedroom if you have enough empty space.


  • It is possible to overwork yourself through exercise. If you are on the brink of collapse, stop what you are doing immediately, rest, and get plenty of water.
  • Visit your doctor if you experience shortness of breath or injury as a result of your workout.

Article Info

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 All photos courtesy of the Rugged Grace Tumblr

Have you ever played rugby? I haven’t. I had the chance once. The super rad Jen Sinkler (you may know her as the strong-woman who coined the phrase, “How do I get my cardio? I lift weights faster.”) once invited me to play with her team. Actually I think she invited me like five or six times. Yet despite my whole shtick being trying new athletic stuff I balked at rugby. I’ll be honest: they were some of the most super-fit ladies I’ve ever seen and I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to keep up at all. I’m not usually one to mind public humiliation but I was really intimidated. I mean, it’s rugby.

At the time all I knew about rugby was that it had really complicated rules, people got hurt a lot and it most closely resembles American football, the sport I most detest. (Yell at me if you want but for me watching football is worse than watching my cat lick her biz. The players only move for 11 minutes out of 3+ hours of game time – the rest is just watching people yell at each other without being able to hear what they’re saying. How is that fun??)

I was scared. And I let my fear stop me from trying it.

But now I’m seriously regretting that decision. (The decision to play rugby, not the decision to never watch football again. I will stand by that one to my grave.) I should have trusted Jen. After all, she’s the one I made the MMA video for Lifetime Fitness with and taught me how insanely fun tackling someone is.

Because today I came across the the Rugged Grace project. The Harvard women’s rugby team dressed in identical gray sports bras and shorts, were given markers and told to write on their teammates’ bodies what they love and admire about them. It’s hard enough defining what it means to be a girl (or a woman or a lady) in our society, in our culture and in our bodies on our own. But what would happen if we let those who love us the most tell us what they see in us?

The team started the photo-essay as a way to fight the “frightening normalcy of hating your body” after a survey showed that a whopping 86% of female students said they had an eating disorder by age 20. (Question: Is this a Harvard thing? I mean I know how prevalent eating disorders are, especially in college students but nearly 9 out of 10?? I can’t decide if Harvard co-eds are just more honest or perhaps more perfectionist than my state-school girlfriends.)

Being strong women who played an “unfeminine” game, the women’s rugby team felt like they were in the perfect position to challenge that mentality and help redefine what it means to be female. “There is almost nothing in our society besides rugby that allows women to be truly physically aggressive, to use our bodies in the same unselfconscious, unafraid, assertive way that men use theirs all the time,” writes author and rugby player Amy Perfors.

Not only is this attitude different than what you find in many female sports but the players say that because all body types are necessary to play the game that rugby provides a more body-positive environment than other female sports. Unlike stereotypes like “a dancer’s body”, “a swimmer’s body” or “a runner’s body” there’s no such thing as a “rugby body” as apparently every body is a rugby body. If you doubt that, the pictures are definitely worth more than a thousand #thinspo words.

In fact many of the words they wrote on each other aren’t ones typically associated with the stereotype of a woman. But when you see the pride, camaraderie and love among the girls on the team suddenly the words look perfectly feminine.

One woman has “battle tested” written across her stomach, turning a long scar into a medal of honor.

“Squat master”, “Quad Lyfe” “Hey quads” and “So ripped” adorn a picture of muscular thighs that defy the fragile Hollywood standard we are all told we must aspire to.

The word “Huge” appears several times, challenging the assumption that women need to be as small as possible.

“Power sized” scrawled across a stomach replace all the iterations of tiny (anyone remember when “fun sized” was in?) that women have been taught to prefer.

Then there are the words like “Inspired/inspiring” (on chiseled calves) “powerful” (across the knuckles of two fists) and the simple “Proud” (across a chest).

Brooke Kantor, Helen Clark and Lydia Frederico write in an article on the team’s project in the Harvard Political Review that the team is fighting the message that women are supposed to be in a constant state of self-improvement through beauty products, diets, and exercise. “Exercise in particular has now taken its place as a piece of the “sexualization” of women phenomenon. Women are bombarded with the idea that the purpose of exercise is to attain a fit body, rather than to improve athletically,” they write.

I couldn’t agree more. These days “health” for women is all about looking a certain way rather than feeling a certain way. We pay lip service to the myriad mental and physical benefits of fitness but in the end it’s “bikini body boot camps” that sell.

According to Amy Perfors, shedding this version of health and beauty is one of the best parts of rugby. “There is a wonderful transformation during the season as recruits come to realize that being strong and muscular makes someone more beautiful, not less; that routinely tackling other women into the ground on the weekends not only doesn’t compromise femininity, it increases self-confidence and assertiveness; and that women really can do something that almost everything and everyone says we can’t do.”

I found this especially meaningful as I just go a comment on an old post, one where I talked about doing Krav Maga as way to get past the PTSD from being sexually assaulted, that said basically, “Women doing MMA? And you bitches wonder why men don’t want to hold open doors or pull out chairs for you. Chivalry is dead because girls like you killed it.” (Note: I deleted the comment as it violated my no-cursing policy. And also my no douchebags policy.) But I’ll admit that I thought about that comment for a long time. Was it impossible to be both aggressive and feminine? Was learning to protect myself (and I guess lessening the need for men to play their traditional role of protector) effectively castrating men? No. Just because we can be tough doesn’t mean we have to be tough in every situation. And I find the fact that this attitude even exists to be terrifying.

And then there’s something particularly touching about watching the girls write the statements on their team members. We’re so often encouraged to see other women as rivals and competition or bitches and ho’s. Heck, I think the entire premise of reality television shows, all the way from Toddlers and Tiaras to the Real Housewives of Wherever, are written on the premise of women tearing down other women. So it feels rare and special to see women taking such care with each other. This isn’t some hypersexualized picture of women in underwear having a pillow fight or doing a fashion show or even showing off unrealistically ripped pictures of “strong is the new skinny” – it’s just women being awesome.

You know, like we do.

I wish I had tried rugby and I’m sad now that I didn’t jump on that opportunity. Yet I think the larger message of Rugged Grace is even more powerful: Even if we don’t play rugby, sometimes we just need to see ourselves through someone else’s eyes to recognize how beautiful, unique and especially strong we truly are.

Any of you ever play rugby? Anyone else ever not tried something because they were afraid?? And I can think of lots of words I’d love to scrawl across the lovely, talented, smart, strong ladies in my life — do you think my friends would let me attack them with a marker?? (I know Jelly Bean would – child is ALL about drawing on herself with markers!)


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