Exercise is a great way to burn calories and lose weight. But if you don’t do it regularly, it’s not as effective as you might think.
If you’re trying to lose weight, exercise should be a daily routine. People who exercise regularly are more likely to keep weight off than those who don’t exercise at all. They also have higher levels of self-esteem and better mental health.
The best way to start an exercise routine is to choose something that interests you. If you enjoy one activity, chances are you’ll stick with it — even if it doesn’t result in immediate weight loss.
“Exercise is like brushing your teeth,” says Dr. Cathy Fieseler, an obesity expert at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine and author of Eat Yourself Skinny: Break the Rules, Cut the Calories, and Still Eat the Foods You Love (Rodale). “It’s something that people need to do on a regular basis.”
Exercise can help improve your mood and energy levels while lowering stress hormones — all things that make losing weight easier. But you may need some encouragement to get started or maintain your program long-term
Routine Exercise For Weight Loss
Between an insane work or school schedule, a freak thunderstorm, and crowded locker rooms, exercising at home can easily trump trudging to the gym.
And while sweating it out in your living room may seem like a surefire way to fit in a workout — no long commute or shower line in sight — sometimes it doesn’t turn out quite as well as you’d hoped.
Like that time when our downstairs neighbor banged on the front door mid-squat jump, or when our roommate threatened to kick us out after the fifth burpee. Bottom line: Noisy workouts aren’t worth the risk of alienating our roomie (or angering our neighbors).
So we asked the experts, certified personal trainers Lacey Stone and Erin Nemeth for a solution that doesn’t involve taking your workout to an overpriced gym.
This 30-minute, total-body circuit involves static holds and bodyweight-only moves for a seriously effective workout that targets every major muscle group. And your roommate won’t hear a peep (unless you’re playing Billie Eilish way too loud).
The quiet workout
Ready to sweat without making a sound? Complete 3 rounds of the following circuit. If you need to, scroll down for detailed descriptions of each move.
For a competitive flair, time yourself and try to shave seconds off each round. Or for a social twist, Stone recommends challenging your roommate to a friendly face-off — just keep the smack talk to a low whisper.
Breaking down the at-home exercises
Time: 30 to 60 seconds
To warm up all the muscles in your body and hone in on that core, start in a plank. Place your palms on the ground about shoulder-width apart, aligning elbows below shoulders like you’re about to do a push-up.
Ground your toes into the floor, squeeze your glutes, and look to a point on the floor in front of you. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds without compromising your form.
Make it harder: For a true challenge, balance your hands on a medicine ball or a basketball. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
2. Air squat
Stand with feet hip-width apart, pointing toes slightly outward, arms by your sides. Bend knees and push your butt down and out, as if you were sitting into a chair. As you bend down, raise arms out in front of you, parallel to the floor.
Keep the majority of your weight in your heels, making sure your knees never go past your toes. Lower yourself as far as possible without compromising your form. Then, straighten your legs and squeeze your glutes to rise back up, lowering arms back to your sides.
Make it harder: Pause for one second at the bottom of each squat. If you have a bed, couch, or coffee table that’s low to the ground, get your butt to touch the surface before standing up.
3. Triceps dip
Sit on the edge of your bed or couch, keeping your hands just outside your hips. Lift your body up and walk your feet out until your knees are above your heels.
Bend your elbows to a 90-degree angle. Lower your hips to just above the floor. Extend your elbows, pressing your body back up.
Make it harder: Straighten your legs out, rather than keeping a bend in the knees. You can also add a hold at the bottom of the exercise.
4. Lunge with hold
Reps: 10 per leg
Stand with your feet together. Take a big step forward with your left foot. Lower yourself straight down so your left knee stays over the top of your left foot.
Lift onto the toes of your right foot as your back knee hovers over the floor. Hold for 3 full counts before returning to the starting position. Alternate legs.
Make it harder: Grab a pair of dumbbells and hold one in each hand, or raid your pantry and use two cans of soup.
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s… a misleadingly simple core exercise. Lie facedown with arms and legs extended. Keep your head facing the floor for a neutral neck position.
With core engaged, lift arms and legs up toward the ceiling, forming an elongated “U” shape with your body. Pause for 3 seconds at the full extension of the exercise before lowering back down. If you feel any tension or pain in your low back, lower down immediately.
Make it harder: Hold the exercise for 5 or 10 seconds, then go fight off some bad guys.
6. Russian twist
Reps: 15 per side
Sit on the ground. Bend knees so heels are about a foot away from your butt. Lean slightly back, without rounding your spine. Lift feet a few inches off the ground. Crossing your ankles may help with balance.
Place arms straight out in front of you and clasp hands together, bending elbows slightly. From your core, rotate as far as possible to the right, allowing arms, shoulders, and eyes to follow.
Keep legs in the starting position. After extending as far as possible, change direction without pause and mimic the movement to the left.
Make it harder: Hold a medicine ball (or heavy textbook) in your arms.
7. Glute bridge
Lie faceup with knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Your hands should be at your sides, palms down. Raise hips until your body forms a straight line from shoulders to knees. Hold here for 2 seconds.
To return down to the mat, first lift onto your tiptoes. Then lower your butt back to the ground, one vertebra at a time.
Make it harder: Hold the pose for longer. You can also try straightening out one leg at a time.
8. Wall sit
Time: 30 to 60 seconds
Stand about 2 feet from a wall, facing away from it. Lean back against the wall and slide down as if sitting into a chair. When knees are at about a 90-degree angle, contract your abs, making sure your knees stay directly above your toes. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
Make it harder: Lift both heels and hold. You can also hold a dumbbell in each hand. Might as well do some bicep curls while you’re there.