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From the comfort of indoors – at home and in your favorite attire – a workout to keep you fit by Mary Le Merwinna

Take a look around your house. Does it look like a gym? No? Take another look. You might not see a pricey treadmill or a fancy set of free weights, but you’re probably looking at a number of everyday objects that can make terrific exercise aids. Got a gallon of milk and the yellow pages? Then you’ve got a workout!” Going to the gym isn’t the only way to stay fit,” says Cedric Bryant, Ph.D., chief exercise physiologist at the American Council on Exercise. You can stay home and still work up a sweat. Turning your humble abode into your workout spot makes fitting in physical fitness convenient, easy and, best of all, free! Denise Austin, your personal trainer and Lifetime’s exercise guru, says, “Make physical activity a part of your everyday life, whether you go out for a jog or work out with items available in your home! After you exercise, you’ll not only look great but you’ll feel wonderful too!” Roll over the objects in the virtual rooms below and get the prescription for your home gym workout, plus some inspiring words of encouragement from Denise herself.

(No matter what shape your are in, you can do the moves described here. Experts recommend that beginners start with three sets of 10 repetitions, then work up to three sets of 15 and, finally, 25. Just pick the exercise you like, and remember to stop anytime you feel faint or out of breath).

Living room
Object: A Wall
Exercise: Wall slides
Target: Thighs

Ready to feel the burn in your legs? Stand 12 to 18 inches from the wall, bend your knees and your upper body back until it’s touching the wall. Continue lowering your hips until your knees are bent at roughly a 90-degree angle (no lower), making sure your knees don’t extend beyond your toes. Hold for 10 seconds, then slowly stand up. Repeat.

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Object: A coffee table
Exercise: Seated dips
Target: Triceps

Get rid of that arm flap! Sit on a sturdy coffee table (or the set of an armchair), hands gripping the edge with fingers pointed toward your behind. Extend your legs out in front you, keeping your knees slightly bent, then point your toes and plant your feet flat on the floor. Straighten your arms and lift your backside off the table. Then bend your elbows and slowly lower your hips; stop as soon as you feel pressure in your shoulders. Push back up until your elbows are almost straight (don’t lock them). Repeat.

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Object: A Chair
Exercise: Semi-seated squats
Target: Thighs and buttocks

Bless that behind! Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, your back toward a chair and your abdominal muscles tight. Squat! shifting your weight onto your heels as if you’re going to sit in the chair; keep your shoulders back and your chin up. Just before your backside reaches the seat, stop and hold the position for a second; then slowly straighten up again. Repeat.

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Object: A couch
Exercise: Crunches
Target: Abdominal

Flatten that tummy! Lie on the floor on your back, with your hips a few inches from the couch, knees bent and heels resting on the couch’s seat. Press your lower back into the floor. Inhale, tighten your abs and lift your shoulder blades up and forward. Don’t lead with your head; keep your chin a few inches away from your chest. Pause for a second, then exhale and lower yourself back down. Repeat.

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Object: Your baby
Exercise: Pelvic lifts
Target: Hips and abs

Strengthen your core! Lie on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor, with your wee one seated securely on your abdomen or lying across your hipbones (for safety, keep both hands firmly on her!). Straighten your right knee and extend your leg, keeping your thighs parallel and your knees together. Press your left heel into the ground and lift your pelvis a few inches. Hold for a few seconds, then lower. Repeat on the both sides.

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Object: A fireplace mantel
Exercise: Standing side leg lifts
Target: Upper thigh

Get Rockette-like legs! Face the fireplace with your feet hip-distance apart; hold onto the mantel for balance. Maintaining a slight bend in both knees, slowly lift one leg to the side and hold for a second or two. Lower it slowly, without relaxing the muscles. Repeat, alternating on both sides.

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Object: A framed photo of your mother-in-law or another problem person
Exercise: Karate-style kicks
Target: Buttocks, thighs and pent-up aggression

Give your rear a boost! Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees bent slightly. Lift your knee so that its level with your hips, then kick your foot out toward the photo, contracting the muscles in your thighs and buttocks. Slowly lower your leg and return to the starting position. Repeat, alternating on both sides.

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Object: A folded blanket
Exercise: Push-ups
Target: Arms and chest

Improve your bust by getting on your hands and knees on your blanket, with your palms down and shoulder-width apart. Extend your knees back as far you can. Keeping your back straight and your abs tight, inhale and bend your elbows, lowering your chest until it’s a few inches from the floor. Hold for a second, then exhale and push back up to the starting position (do not lock your elbows). Repeat.

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Object: A pillow
Exercise: Lateral mule kicks
Target: Buttocks and outer thighs

Goodbye, saddlebags! Get down on your knees and place your elbows on the floor to prop up your upper body. Bend one leg behind you, holding a pillow between your foot and the back of your thigh. Lift that leg out of the side, squeezing the pillow and keeping your hips square. Hold, then lower. Repeat on both sides.

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Object: A flight of stairs
Exercise: Staircase drills
Target: Cardiovascular fitness

Get fit for speed-walking or jogging! Stand at the bottom of the stairs, imagine a starting gun firing and book it upstairs as fast as you can. Come down, then climb the stairs slowly, taking two steps at a time. Keep working up to more and more repetitions. (To motivate you to stick with this exercise, use it as an opportunity to take the laundry, your kids’ toys, etc. upstairs)

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Prevent buildup of fatty deposits on artery walls with regular doses of tea (actually, tea suppresses my appetite and keeps the pounds from invading….Green tea is great for our immune system)!


Salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines actually prevent arthritis. (fish has omega oils, good for our immune system)


A substance similar to that found in the cough syrups is found in hot red pepper. Use red (cayenne) pepper with caution-it can irritate your tummy.


Grate an apple with its skin, let it turn brown and eat it to cure this condition. (Bananas are good for this ailment)


Olive oil has been shown to lower blood pressure. Celery contains a chemical that lowers pressure too.

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