5 Household Items That Double as Fitness Accessories
Why not save the extra cash for an unforgettable summer trip and spend the time you’d be walking to the gym watching your favorite show?
You won’t have to sacrifice your health because – and you many not even know it – you have plenty of items in your home that can be perfect for resistance training, flexibility, endurance, and stretching.
Yoga instructor Alexis Novak is a proponent of using what you’ve got to get the most effective workout in. In fact, her athletic yoga class was born out of recognizing that most people don’t have time in the day to take a yoga class, go to the gym to lift weights and then go for a run. So she developed the one-hour class that combines all three.
Shoeboxes instead of yoga blocks
If you use yoga blocks for a more challenging isometric exercise to get deeper into a pose, then shoeboxes will do the trick if you’re at home.
“They are very close in size,” Novak says. “Women’s shoeboxes are usually just an inch bigger, which will actually aid to get into an even deeper pose because the extra inch gives you extra space.”
Such poses are especially beneficial if you have tight hamstrings, she adds.
A gallon of milk in place of a kettlebell
This easy trick Novak found by chance while helping her niece with the groceries. “Holding and lifting a gallon of milk involves almost the exact same motion as if you were using a kettlebell,” she says. “The handle is just a little bit different.”
One gallon is about 8.75 pounds. What is the right kettlebell size for you is a trick question, depending on whether you’re out of shape, in average or in excellent form.
The good thing about the gallon of milk is that you can regulate the weight to adjust it to your ability. This is much cheaper than buying several kettlebells to work out at home.
Towels instead of weights
Towels are especially helpful if you’re doing planks. The floor is a stable surface for this kind of exercises until you put a towel on. Your arms and legs are probably going to slide, because the surface is not so steady anymore, engaging your core even more, Novak says.
If you do reverse table tops, the towel surface is going to ensure that you use your core muscles and not your neck and shoulders to maintain balance, she adds.
Another exercise is holding a towel above your head and pulling it apart. “This is a reversed isometric hold,” Novak adds. “This is a great low-impact way to start engaging your muscles after an injury recovery,” she adds. Pulling away the towel adds just enough resistance to help you build strength without using weights.
Canned goods for dumbbells
Dumbbells have a smaller hold but cans are wider and that makes the move more challenging, according to Novak.
Hold the cans like traditional dumbbells and do bicep curls or other traditional biceps and triceps exercises.
Another good reason to use them is that you can adjust the weight ounce by ounce. Dumbbells, on the other hand, are set in weight.
Belts in place of a resistance band
Belts provide more leg support, especially when you’re doing leg extensions, Novak says.
You can also use a belt for a perfectly-shaped pushup.
Belts are also a good resistance accessory for inner thighs exercises. “Wrap the belt around your quads and push the legs away from each other,” she adds.