For many of us, our New Year’s resolution includes taking better care of our bodies. While there are many workout options to try — from full-body to yoga, one you may want to consider adding into your routine is weight training.
Weight training provides an assortment of health and wellness benefits and helps to build and tone your muscles. If not having gym membership is what’s keeping you from lifting weights, we have great news for you.
It’s easy to create an at-home gym without investing in costly dumbbells or weights. We’ll let you in on a little secret: You have items in your home that can double as weights.
So what are you waiting for? Put on your favorite workout leggings, lace up your tennis shoes, and let’s get started.
Benefits of Weight Training
We all know that the benefits of movement on the body and mind are plentiful. While it’s obvious that weight and strength training can help you build muscle, the benefits don’t stop there. Here are a few more reasons why you may want to prioritize weight training within your workout routine:
- Protects bone and muscle mass: As we age, our bones grow more fragile and are more susceptible to breaks and fractures. Studies have shown that strength training can help slow bone loss and strengthen bones, especially bones more prone to breakage like wrists, hips, and spines.
- Improves mental health: Strength training can also help improve the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Endorphins caused by exercise likely play a role, but strength training can also help a person overcome obstacles and increase mental resilience.
- Assists with weight loss: Building muscle also helps us burn more calories. Strength training also accelerates your resting metabolic rate (RMR), which accounts for 60 to 70% of your daily caloric burn.
- Recover from injury: Strengthening exercises help pump blood to injured areas, which can help speed up the recovery process.
- Boosts mood: Strength training releases endorphins, which can help you manage stress, ward off worry, and boost your mood.
- Helps maintain a healthy heart: Having good circulation is a great way to look out for your heart. Weight training helps you target which areas of the body you want to focus on. For example, when you’re doing a superman exercise, you’re working on the circulation in your back.
5 Everyday Items that Double as Weights
Luckily, you don’t need to shell out for effective workout equipment at home. We guarantee you have at least a few of these at-home weight objects in your home. All it takes is getting a little creative.
Milk jugs work well for upper body workouts. You can keep the milk inside your jugs or fill them with water or sand once they’re empty. Milk jugs are great for bicep curls or bent-over rows.
Shop your pantry for effective arm weights. You can either use them in place of dumbbells or fill a bag with canned goods to create a heavier weight you can use for squats or presses.
You can use a stack of books to switch up your typical plank or push-ups. Place two evenly sized books shoulder-width apart to do an elevated push-up or place a stack of books under one shoulder and do a shoulder tap to target your back and arm muscles.
Laundry detergent can be used as a heavier weight for presses or row exercises. A typical 150 oz. bottle of Tide evens out to about 9 pounds, making it a bit heavier than a standard milk jug.
A cast iron skillet is a great option for shoulder exercises or good old curls.
For even more ideas of how to use everyday items as weights, our friends at Adidas have created this helpful infographic outlining some surprising statistics about weight lifting and offering tips for how to stay active while working from home.