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Health & Fitness

Grab these cheap bands, tone your body at home

Lydia Atieno does full-body exercises with different types of resistance bands.
Lydia Atieno does full-body exercises with different types of resistance bands. PHOTO | COURTESY 

A few questions you must be asking yourself since the stay-at-home and curfew orders, “Do I want to lose all the fitness gains I had made since January because gyms are closed? How will I stop shuttling from one room to another, kitchen to the sofa, wondering how to exercise?

What equipment should I buy that will help me stay fit?”

Start with resistance bands. They are elastic bands that you can use to strengthen and tone your body at home. The bands are super-versatile, cheap, easy to use, and can help you exercise your entire body.

Fitness instructor Mark Amunabi says they help build strength because stretching the band requires effort, which creates resistance against the muscles.

“There are different types of resistance bands, but the basic ones are the small, circular ones and the long ones. While using them, it is like stretching a giant rubber band, repeatedly, which exercises the different body parts,” he says.

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1. Wear a resistance band around your thighs.

Lie on your back with your knees bent and hands placed on your sides. Lift your hips up, but the shoulders and hands should remain on the mat. Then lift one leg up with the other one bent. Keep lifting the left leg up and down. After repeating 20 times, change to the right leg. This exercise works on the back, lower stomach and it is a perfect stretch.

2. Wear the small, round resistance band just above your knees.

Lydia Atieno

Lydia Atieno. PHOTO | COURTESY

Pick the longer resistance band and stand on it with both feet and shoulders wide. Pull it up to your shoulders. Then squats. Do 20 squats and repeat three times. This exercise creates resistance against your thigh muscles as it works on the thighs and butt. It is a perfect lower workout.

b)Use thicker bands and hook them on a pole. Hold the bands with both hands, legs apart, back straight chest forward, start squatting.

3. Start by kneeling with the hands and knees on a stable surface.

Put the long resistance band on your foot and stretch it. Keep your back straight and tighten your stomach muscles. Raise the leg with the banded leg off the ground, stretching it upwards. This is a good exercise for the lower belly pooch fat and thighs. Do 60 exercises with each leg.

4. Put the long resistance band on the sole of your feet.

Lie down in a plank position. Pull the band in front and hold it firmly. Now start moving the leg. This exercise tones the inner thighs and stomach. Repeat with the other leg, doing 60 exercises each. You could also put the band around your ankles, lie on your left side, resting your head on your left arm, and lift your leg up and down.

5. Wear the small band on your ankles.

Lydia Atieno

Lydia Atieno. PHOTO | COURTESY

Lie in a plank position. Ensure that your legs are causing resistance to the bands. Hold your body in the plank position for 60 seconds. This is a good way to add vigour to the good old plank that strengthens and tone your stomach and shoulder muscles.

6. Use the long resistance band to get rid of excess fat on the sides of your abdomen.

Stand leg apart holding the band with both hands. Start by bending sideways to your right. Feel the stretch on the right side of your waistline and lower back. Repeat 60 times then switch sides. The side to side bending tones the abdominal areas and over time get rid of the ‘love handles.’

b) Using a thicker band, hook it to a pole and pull it until it causes resistance. Hold it using one hand, legs apart, bend to the side. Repeat the exercises to tone the abdominal muscles and get rid of love handles.

7. Use heavier bands for this exercise especially if you want to tone the arms faster.

Step in the middle of the band and hold its sides. Back straight and stomach tucked in, pull the band up.

8. With the heavy resistance bands on a pole or a tree, stand straight and pull the band towards your chest but with hands wide.

Lydia Atieno

Lydia Atieno. PHOTO | COURTESY

This is a perfect exercise for the upper back. Besides giving a sexy back, it helps alleviate shoulder pain, correct poor posture following years of sitting badly, and ease the tension that has built on the upper back.

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