Being in the kitchen can be just as good for you as being at the gym. That is, if you spend the time toning up while cooking, cleaning, or putting away groceries. Do these body-strengthening moves in short bursts when you can. You’ll burn calories—and not what’s on the stovetop.
Have a step stool lying around to get to those hard-to-reach cupboards? Use it to work your lower body, engaging your butt and thigh muscles. Stand with your feet about hips-width apart. Step up onto the step stool with your right foot, bringing your left foot next to it. Step down with your right foot, bringing your left foot down next to it. Repeat, this time leading with your left foot.
Make it harder: Move the stool a little farther away from you (so you are lunging more) or swap in a taller piece of furniture, like a sturdy kitchen chair.
2. Incline Push-Ups
Use the kitchen counter to strengthen your arms and upper body. Place hands on the counter slightly wider than your shoulders, fingers pointing forward. Step back so you are about two feet away from the counter and extend your arms (this is the starting position). Tighten core muscles and inhale as you bend your elbows and bring your chest to the counter. Exhale as you push up and return to start.
Make it harder: Step back more (the less of an incline, the more your muscles have to work) or place hands narrower than your shoulders on the counter (you’ll engage more of the upper body muscles).
Use the fact that you do a lot of standing in the kitchen to work most of the major muscles in your body. Stand with your feet shoulders-width apart, arms either extended in front of you or bent with hands clasped. Push your hips back and bend your knees, lowering your body until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Pause, then push back up.
Make it harder: Deepen the squat by dropping your hips lower than your bent knees or activate muscles differently by widening your stance.
4. Calf Raises
Being on your feet can also challenge your calves and ankles. Stand with feet hips-width apart. Slowly raise your heels until you’re standing on your toes, then slowly lower your heels until your feet are flat on the ground.
Make it harder: Turn your toes out (so heels are together) or turn your heels out (so toes are together) to work the muscles differently.
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