Physical exercise offers fantastic benefits for your body and mind. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans highlights some of the most notable health benefits of physical activity, ranging from improved sleep to reduced anxiety and from reduced weight gain to a lower risk of death.
Although the benefits of exercise are well documented, plenty of people don’t get the exercise they need to stay healthy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that only about half of adults get the exercise they need. People have loads of reasons for skipping exercise, from not being able to get to the gym to not having the budget for fancy equipment to having no time to workout.
But you don’t need a gym membership, equipment, or oodles of free time to incorporate exercise into your life. There are plenty of equipment-free workouts you can do in the comfort of your home. You can do some in just 10 minutes or so.
You owe it to your body and your mind to find more ways to exercise, and there are plenty of ways to do so.
No matter your needs or abilities, there’s probably a yoga style out there for you. If you’re looking for gentle stretches, you can try a calm, relaxed style like hatha or yin. If you’re looking for something a little more intense, try a power yoga session.
Plenty of free online yoga classes are available — for example, you can find many yoga videos on YouTube, including the popular Yoga With Adriene. Once you get familiar with the poses and sequences, you can put together your own practice without the help of a video.
As far as equipment goes, if you have a yoga mat, that’s great. But you don’t need one. I find that a carpet is often supportive and soft enough for at-home yoga, but you can lay down a towel for even more softness.
Some yoga teachers use props, such as straps and blocks, but you don’t need them. You can substitute a roll of paper towels for a yoga block if you need the extra lift during poses. An old pair of tights or leggings can stand in for a strap. And if necessary, a folded-up blanket or pillow can take the place of a bolster (a cushion that provides support during certain types of restorative poses).