Become a Lean, Green Workout Machine
Spring has sprung and the days are getting warmer, but if you’re still wearing your 5- or 10-pound “winter coat”—you know, the one you put on during the holidays—don’t lose hope! Your summer bod is just around the corner, and you can get it without creating any waste or spending money. All you need are items around the house that might have been headed for the trash or recycling bin.
Paper Plates, Not Weight Plates
Almost everyone has leftover paper plates from a party. But, if you recently decided to ditch the single-use plates and go less-waste at your next shindig, what do you do with those remaining paper plates? Turn them into glider discs, obviously! Using glider discs can add a degree of difficulty to your lunges and pushups. Placing your foot on the glider disc—or in this case paper plate—and doing a reverse lunge requires more stability from your torso and works your abs in addition to your legs. You can also add a level of difficulty to your pushups by placing your hand on a paper plate glider disk and sliding it to the side or front of you as you go down and toward you as you go back up. Just make sure you’re gliding on a smooth or carpeted surface.
Tickets for the Water Gun Show
Bulk up your biceps and triceps with water bottles and laundry detergent jugs. Instead of tossing them in the recycling bin, fill them up with water—a gallon weighs approximately 8 pounds, and the easy-to-grip handles are perfect for grasping. Curl, press, or swing your jug for seriously sculpted arms. You can also use small water bottles as light weights and substitute them for any regular dumbbell workouts. One of the best parts about using water or detergent jugs is the fact that they’re adjustable. You can add or remove water as necessary to achieve a weight that works for you. When you’re done with your workout, you can use the water for your house plants.
Not sure why you’re still receiving the Yellow Pages on your doorstep? While you can opt out from ever receiving them again, you can use the ones you already have for almost any exercise that requires a weight plate or medicine ball. Holding a heavy book while doing exercises like sit-ups, oblique twists, or weighted planks are a great way to get abs as firm as a big book.
Instability Can Be a Good Thing
Balance is a major part of a good workout routine. It works your core and it keeps you from falling during those extra-strenuous exercises. One way to develop strong balance is to work on something unstable like a Bosu ball, but this is all about using something that would normally go in the trash, right? You can achieve the same instability by using some old pillows you were planning to throw in the garbage. While they might seem too personal to donate to a secondhand store, they are definitely something you wouldn’t mind putting your workout shoes on. You can do a number of exercises on your cushions, like bodyweight squats, step-overs, and pushups. Try a few reps until you achieve perfect balance.
Throw in the Towel
A very important part of every workout is the cool-down and stretch period. If you have a ripped towel, instead of throwing it away or adding it to the pile of dusting rags, use it in place of a yoga mat. Or, cut it into long strips and turn it into stretching straps. Straps are a great way to help with hamstring stretches, which improve mobility. You can do this stretch by placing the towel strip on the arch of your foot and holding on to both ends of the strap. This can be done sitting up or lying on your back.
As with any exercise routine, make sure you consult your physician to make sure you’re healthy enough to work out. Give yourself plenty of rest and recovery time between workouts. And always stay hydrated with your reusable water bottle!