Get Moving from Home with Exercise Bands
Move Your Way
We all need physical activity to stay healthy, and it can be hard to find time in your busy routine. No matter where you are, you can find safe, accessible, and fun ways to get active. Just small changes to your routine can add up to big health benefits! Overall, the evidence shows that regular physical activity provides important health benefits for all people, including people with disabilities. The benefits include improved cardiovascular and muscle fitness, improved brain health, and better ability to do tasks of daily life.
Adults need a mix of physical activity to stay healthy. The recommendations focus on obtaining at least 150 minutes a week of aerobic activity and performing activities that make your muscles work harder than usual on at least 2 days a week.
There are many ways to get active while you are at home like gardening, taking stroll, dancing, cleaning, and other housework to name a few. You can also find low-cost equipment such as exercise bands to add to your home movement routine. Exercise or Resistance Bands are available at many popular retails and online. They are also used often as a health promotion giveaway at a health fair. Exercise Bands are great for home-based movement and are small enough to take with you for movement on the go! This guide will provide you with tips and exercises to do with your bands focusing on improving your cardiovascular and muscle fitness.
For more inclusive exercise information and videos, please visit nchpad.org.
Let’s Start with Cardio
To increase your heart rate and get your blood flowing, perform the cardio exercises as an interval. An interval is when you do an exercise for a certain period like 30 seconds on, rest for a certain period, and then repeat. Make your interval ratios something that you can sustain but that is also challenging. If it becomes too hard, change the ratio to less work and more rest. Experiment with what works best for you.
Cross country ski: Place the band around an immovable object (such as a pole, door, or fence post) slightly higher than your head. Alternate your arms by pulling them down by your sides and keeping your elbows straight.
Straight arm pulls: Perform straight arm pull-downs by pulling both arms down together at the same time, while not bending your elbows and keeping them straight.
Punches: Turn around and face away from your anchor point. Begin cardio punches by holding one end of the band in each hand. Punch forward, alternating your arms.
Intensity Check –
Exercise intensity means how hard you are working. The benefits you receive from exercise are directly related to the level at which you work. That's why it's important to evaluate your exercise intensity.
Light Activity = Almost unnoticeable changes to breath and heart rate.
Moderate Activity = Small increases to breath and heart rate.
Vigorous Activity = Large increases to breath and heart rate.
The Talk Test:
In general, if you’re doing moderate-intensity activity, you can talk but not sing during the activity.
In general, if you’re doing vigorous-intensity activity, you will not be able to say more than a few words without pausing for a breath.
Move those Muscles
An exercise band is a very versatile piece of equipment. There are many ways to work all major muscle groups using a band! Below is a general routine for all major muscle groups in your upper body. For each group of exercises, start with doing 3 rounds of 10 repetitions. Complete a group of exercises before moving to the next. If your exercise band is shorter, you can adjust these exercises to perform them once side at a time.
Group 1 –
Chest Press: Attach the band behind you on an immovable object at chest height. With one end of the band in each hand, start your hands at shoulder height with elbows bent. Your arms should be parallel to the ground. Extend your arms out straight and return to the starting position.
Row: Using the same attachment spot, turn and face your band. Start with your arms fully extended at chest height and once end of the band in each hand. With your palms facing down, bend your elbows to pull back until your elbows are even with your chest, pinching your shoulder blades together. Slowly return to the starting position.
Crunches: Using the same attachment spot, or moving it up slightly higher, turn around and face out. With one end of the band in each hand, start with your hands near your collar bone with elbows bent. Perform a forward crunch motion by moving your shoulders towards your knees, crunching your stomach. Return to the starting position.
Group 2 –
Shoulder Press: For this exercise, the band needs to be below you. You can sit on your band, run it under a chair, or use another attachment site. Start with the end of each band in your hand, elbows even with your shoulders. Press both arms up over your head to a full extension and return to the starting position.
Lateral Raises: Place the band below you or attach it to the floor. With the end of each band in your hands, start with both arms down by your side and elbows straight. Keeping your elbows straight, bring both arms up in a V movement to shoulder height. Slowly lower your arms down by your side.
Crossover Crunches: Attach the band behind you on an immovable object at chest height or higher. Grab both ends of the band in each hand, keep your hands at you shoulders and crunch down bringing your shoulder towards the opposite knee. Complete reps on one side of the body and then repeat on the other side. Crunch right shoulder to left knee and then left shoulder to right knee.
Group 3 –
Reverse Fly: Attach the band behind you on an immovable object at chest height. Start with one end of the band in each hand and arms extended out in front of you at chest height and elbows straight. Pull your arms out to the sides making a T and pinching your shoulder blades together. Slowly bring your arms back to the starting position.
Bicep Curl: Place the band below you by sitting on it, running it under a chair or attaching it to the floor. With an end of the band in each hand, start with your arms down your side. Curl your hand straight up to your shoulders by bending only at the elbows. Make sure your elbows stay tucked into your side and do not move. Slowly lower your hands back down by your sides.
Triceps Extension: Perform this exercise one arm at a time. Hold one end of the band in your right hand behind your back at waist level. Grab the other end of the band with your left hand behind your head with your elbow bent and pointing up. Keep your left elbow tucked in close to your ear and extend your left hand up until your elbow is fully extended. Slowly lower it back down. During this exercise your right hand will be maintaining the tension on the band. After completing your reps on this side, switch hand positions to work the other side.
Complete your workout with internal and external rotations. This exercise is essential to keep our shoulders healthy, and great for those that use an everyday manual wheelchair. Use a lighter resistance band and complete 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
Start with the band attached to an immovable object at waist or chest height. You can place a rolled-up towel under your arm pit of the active arm. This will keep your arm in the right position and allow your elbow to remain tucked in. Start with your arm bent at a 90-degree angle. Your body should be perpendicular to the band, and the shoulder you are working should be the one farthest away from the attachment site. With your arm out in front of you, holding the band in your hand, rotate your arm out away from your torso. Once completed, switch to work the other shoulder.
To move to an internal rotation, stay in the same position and switch the band to the opposite hand. Your active hand and shoulder should start away from your body and you are pulling the band in towards your torso. After performing all reps, switch to the other side.
Staying active daily will keep you healthy and feeling good! For questions or to connect with an Inclusion Specialist about more inclusive exercises that you can do, please contact NCHPAD.