Easy Resistance Band Exercises

Not everyone has the space and equipment required to set up a home gym. But that doesn't mean that everyone can’t create a gym-quality workout at home or on the go. All it takes is one simple little tool: the resistance band. These stretchy bands are low in price but high in impact and wildly versatile. Use them to stretch, stabilize and build muscles with a series of bodyweight workouts. 

Here are a few of our favorite resistance band exercises from the experts at Women’s Health.

“Overhead Squat

How to: Wrap a resistance band around your forearms, and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Raise your arms overhead. Sit your hips back, bend your knees, and lower down until your thighs are nearly parallel with the floor. Push through your heels and rise back to start. That's one rep.


How to: Stand with your feet hip-distance apart. Wrap a resistance band around your feet. Grab the top of the resistance band with both hands, and stand up straight. Hinge at your hips and lower down, with a slight bend in your knees, until your hands go just past your knees. Slowly return to start. That's one rep.

Standing Obliques

How to: Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Wrap a resistance band around your right foot, then stand onthe other end with your left foot. Bend your arms and place your hands behind your head. Bend your right knee and lift it toward your right elbow. Slowly lower back down to start. That's one rep. Complete all reps on your right side before switching to the left.

Bicycle Crunch

How to: Lie flat on your back, wrap a resistance band around your feet, and place your hands on the sides of your body. Bring your left knee toward your chest as you extend the right. Then switch sides. Keep your lower back firmly planted on the ground. That's one rep.

Plank Row

How to: Get into a high plank position, with your shoulders stacked over your wrists. Loop one end of a resistance band around your left thumb, and hold the other end in your right hand. Keeping your core tight and hips stable, pull your right hand to your shoulder. Slowly lower back down. That’s one rep. Complete all reps on one side before moving on to the next.

No home gym? No gym membership? No problem. A simple set of inexpensive resistance bands can set you up with a whole body workout regimen that’s easy to commit to and as versatile as it is effective.

More Exercise For a Happier You

As temperatures cool and the days get shorter, it’s especially important to think not only about our physical health, but our mental health. One way to take care of our bodies while also taking care of our minds is a new exercise routine. According to a study by Yale and Oxford Universities, “regardless of age, race, gender, income or education levels, people who exercise regularly have higher self-reported levels of happiness.”

How can exercise make people happier? Here are eight ways.

Release Endorphins for Improved Mood

During and after physical exertion, the brain releases endorphins. These feel-good hormones reduce our sense of pain and produce a feeling of euphoria. Studies have also found that the more intensely you exercise, the higher your endorphin release will be.

Feel More Energetic and Refreshed

Exercise boosts your circulation, ignites your cardiovascular system and stimulates your central nervous system. All of these effects lead to an increase in alertness and physical energy. 

Breathe in Fresh Air

Studies show that the longer we go without being outside, the more depressed we feel. By spending time outside we can interrupt negative emotions and relieve stress.

Get a Better Night’s Sleep

A regular moderate exercise routine can help people to fall asleep and stay asleep, and even achieve deeper sleep for longer.

Socialize With Your Workout Buddies

Having someone else as committed to fitness as you are helps maintain accountability, and it can be fun too. 

Boost Your Confidence

As you begin a new exercise routine, you may start to notice physical changes in your appearance and your stamina. Whether you’re losing weight, gaining strength or developing your coordination, becoming a better version of you is always a confidence booster.

Enjoy Deeper Intimacy

As you improve your physical health, you might also start to enjoy deeper intimacy with your partner. You’ll have higher energy levels and be in better physical shape. 

Get Away From Daily Stressors

Going to the gym, heading to spin class or running track are all ways to de-stress and make more time for yourself. The more time you make for your personal health, the more energy and focus you’ll have to tackle your to-do lists. 

So as the seasons continue to change and, perhaps, our moods along with them, keep in mind that an easy way to remedy our mental health (and to feel healthier, fitter and stronger) is a little exercise.

Recovery on Water

Every once in a while we discover an organization that truly inspires us. Recovery on Water (ROW) is one of those organizations. ROW is more than a group fundraising for a cause or supporting a mission, ROW is a team. To be more specific, Recovery on Water is a rowing team for breast cancer survivors.

Founded in 2007, ROW harnesses the power of sport to help breast cancer patients and survivors across the country take on their post-diagnosis life and reclaim their bodies, get fit and support one another.

Their values say it all:

“We believe in the power of sport.

It is a valuable tool, capable of improving fitness and quality of life for patients and survivors of breast cancer. Rowing is a low-impact sport that utilizes the whole body and is accessible to all, regardless of fitness level.

We value teamwork.

While we know that a boat is made up of many individuals, we come together and row as one.

We put the team first. Through partnership and relationships, we will create stronger, healthier communities with our boathouse partners, our Bridgeport neighbors, and the greater South Side area.

We celebrate diversity.

Our team and board are ethnically and socioeconomically diverse. We believe this makes us stronger, more open minded, more empathetic and most capable of changing lives. We value all survivors, those who come to us as athletes and those who do not.

We aim for quality.

We are thoughtful stewards, results oriented and data driven. We are constantly evolving our impact based on the needs of those we serve.

We value commitment in all the forms it takes.

Showing up and working hard is essential. For some, commitment is attending practices regularly, for others it is fundraising or volunteerism. All are necessary and equally appreciated.

We aim to build a sustainable organization.

We want ROW to serve patients and survivors for years to come. We achieve this through the leadership of the board, creating a diverse funding pool, and establishing ongoing relationships with breast cancer treatment centers.”

Survivors and patients can get involved with ROW from anywhere, too. VirtuROW offers digital programs and an app that provide access to live-streamed classes, fitness tracking and community groups. Whether you want to join or donate, check out ROW and discover how you can get involved.

Goal Season: Run a Virtual Race

Earlier this month, we told you a little about how to get into a running routine. If you’ve been running, just started or want to start, one of the best ways to get or stay motivated is by signing up for a race. Of course this year things are a bit different, but that doesn’t mean you can’t register for something virtual to keep yourself motivated and get yourself moving.

According to Outside, virtual races can be unexpectedly rewarding and fun.

Know Your Why

As with traditional races, setting a personal goal is step one. “There are so many reasons to do a virtual race right now,” says Morgon Latimore, a North Carolina–based running coach. “Whether you’re doing it for health, to obtain a PR, or to relieve stress, you need to know what that is if you’re going to prepare for it properly.” There’s no right or wrong “why,” stresses Latimore, but you’ll get more out of the experience if you nail that down first.

Take It Seriously—But Have Fun

Whatever your goal might be, it’s helpful to go after it the same way you would if you were lining up with hundreds of others. That means having a training plan, mapping out a course, and planning your race-day shoes and kit. In addition to the planning and training, says Latimore, the way you talk about virtual racing is every bit as important. “Avoid using the word just—as in: It’s just a virtual race. Paint the picture around what you want from the day and then line up what you need to support that.”

While your goal might be personal, everything is more fun with friends—and tapping into your own community can really enhance the experience.

Use It As a Learning Opportunity

According to Latimore, there’s no better venue for working on your mindset than a virtual event. “Use this opportunity to educate yourself as an athlete and prepare for returning to live competition,” he says. “Rarely are you all by yourself in a race environment, so work on your strategies while you have the chance.”


A handful of cheering friends along your virtual route is just the start. If you’ve completed in-person races in the past, try to replicate the celebrations the best you can. If you’re running a sponsored virtual race, you can likely print a bib, make a finisher’s certificate, and maybe even earn a race shirt, just like normal. Snap a photo and post it to social, have a socially distanced beer and burger with a friend, or frame your bib. 

Whether it’s a 5K or a marathon (and whether you’re running or walking), Fall is the perfect time to jump into a race and accomplish something you can be proud of. So, there’s only one thing left to say: Ready, set, go!

How to Start Running

Anyone can be a runner. Say it with us: “Anyone can be a runner!” Whether you’ve been an athlete for years or you simply want to start moving a little more, the right routine can help anyone start a consistent running regimen that makes a difference. 

Runners World broke down how anyone can start running today:

“Get good gear: Resist the lure of the old trainers languishing in your wardrobe – even for walking. Worn-out or ill-fitting shoes are a recipe for injury. Go to a specialist running shop to get a pair with the fit and support you need. ‘There’s no magical shoe that makes running easier, but a bad shoe will ruin your running,’ says physiotherapist Bruce Wilk. Also, invest in socks made from technical sweat-wicking fabric to avoid getting nasty blisters.

Sneak in activity: Take 15 minutes of your lunch break to walk the office corridors; set an alarm every hour to remind you to get up. A study in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity found taking a five-minute walk break once an hour burns 132kcal over an eight-hour day.

Find your place: Map out a few safe, scenic, traffic-free routes that you can cover in various weather conditions and times of day.

Find your pace: When you first start running, the trick is to be consistent enough to build strength and endurance, but slow enough that you don’t get injured. So, do all of your training at an easy pace. Get into a rhythm that feels like you could maintain it for ever. ‘A lot of runners try to run too fast, because they feel like they’re not a runner unless they go at X pace,’ says coach Jeff Gaudette. ‘Your pace needs to be comfortable. If you run faster than you should, it’s going to hurt all the time and you’ll never get to a point where you can do it for 30 minutes.’ Develop the endurance; speed will come later.

Stay flexible: It is OK to split workouts into two or three sessions at first. Studies have shown that three 10-minute exercise sessions deliver the same health boost as a single 30-minute workout, says Blair.

Log your miles: Use a trusty notebook and pencil, or go tech with a GPS – either way you’ll draw confidence from watching the miles rack up. The Garmin Forerunner 45 is affordable and has a run-walk timer.

Practice patience: Many of the positive changes that are happening to your body won’t yet be visible in the mirror or on the scales, but don’t panic. ‘Trust that the weight loss will come, and be aware that it takes time to condition your muscles, ligaments and tendons,’ says Paul.”

To get into a running routine, all you have to do is put one foot in front of the other — literally. So grab your running shoes, pick your route and get out there today for a brisk walk or an easy jog. Are you ready to get started?

Five Stretches for Staying Injury Free

Olympian and Cross Fit legend Tia-Clair Toomey knows a thing or two about staying healthy while working to get fit. “The Fittest Woman on Earth,” Toomey has made a career out of weightlifting and exercise, and she’s also proactive about stretching as a means to stay injury free and mentally balanced.

Her daily stretching routine is made for anyone, not just world-class athletes, and was featured in Men’s Health.

“The first three stretches work the lower body, starting with a seated straddle. Toomey sits with her legs placed as wide as is comfortable. "As I slowly breathe into the stretch, I slowly get a little deeper, I can take legs wider," she says. "This really hits my adductors, and I feel like whenever I get lower back pain, this is a really great stretch to do and takes a lot of that pressure away."

The second stretch is a single-leg forward fold. From a seated position, Toomey stretches one leg out in front of her, tucks the other inward towards her body, and then leans forward onto the extended leg, holding for 3 to 4 minutes. "This one really hits the hamstrings, it's one I do if my back, my glutes or even my hamstrings are blowing up throughout a workout, or just sore in general," she says. "Having tight hamstrings can put a lot of pressure on the glutes, which will then tighten up and put a lot of pressure on the lower back."

Next up is a lunge, which targets the hip flexors and quads. "You want to make sure your knee and your shin is nice and lined, you don't want your knee going over your toes or behind your foot," she says. Then Toomey twists back and grabs her other foot with the opposite hand.

Moving onto the upper body, Toomey sits with her hands facing backwards behind her, and slides forward to place a stretch on her chest, biceps and forearms, holding for 3 to 4 minutes.

The fifth and final stretch is one which Toomey recommends for anyone who has been spending even more time than usual with their shoulders hunched inwards over a computer or phone over the last several months.”

Stretching is great for our bodies, but it’s also great for our minds. "Within our really busy lives, we tend to forget and we don't actually understand the importance of stretching," Toomey says. "It doesn't matter whether you're young and you're active, or you're a little older, I think spending at least 10 to 15 minutes a day stretching your muscles and taking that little bit of time for yourself, focusing on your breathing, is so crucial to having a really nice balanced mental state in order to get on with your day."

Cardio Vs. Strength Training: Which Is Ideal for Your Fitness Goals?

While it’s important to incorporate both cardio and strength training into your exercise routine, we typically tend to focus on one or the other. Depending on your unique fitness goals, narrowing your focus may help you succeed quicker.

A recent LiveStrong article took into account insight from fitness experts to help you decide which movement is optimal to support your health and fitness goals.

Cardio, or aerobic exercise, is any movement or activity that increases your heart and breathing rate. This includes running, cycling, kickboxing, and dance classes like Zumba. Known for its ability to aid in weight loss, due to the high number of calories burned, cardio also helps improve brain health, supports healthy blood sugar levels and overall mobility, and promotes longevity -- among countless other benefits.

While resistance training, also known as strength training, was once thought to be reserved for those seeking to build muscle mass, more and more people are learning how vital it is for overall health.

"As we age, growth hormones in the body decrease, which contributes to muscle loss," says Amanda Murdock, CPT, director of fitness for Daily Burn. "Strength training helps us maintain and build muscle tissue."

Some overlooked benefits of strength training include better overall cardiovascular health, weight management, improved bone health and better quality of life as you age.

To reiterate, both cardio and strength training are important for optimal health, yet individuals with specific fitness goals and limited time may want to focus on one or the other.

For example, if you are training for a race, go with cardio, focusing on whatever form of cardio you’ll be doing come race day so that you can train the right muscles and avoid injury.

If you want to burn more body fat, pick up the weights. According to Bret Contreras, Ph.D., CSCS, author of Glute Lab: The Art and Science of Strength and Physique Training, strength training is the best workout for fat-loss in the long-term. Strength training builds muscle and increases your metabolism to help you stay leaner in the long-term, while cardio burns calories and helps with short-term weight loss.

A more obvious choice for building muscle and getting stronger would be strength training, as it builds muscle mass the fastest.

"If you want to get stronger, there's only so much stress you can put on your body just using your body weight." When you strength train, you can progressively overload your body to continue making gains,” says Contreras.

If your goal is simply to become more active, try a combination of the two. Balance is key, especially for beginners, who would benefit from full-body strength training sessions a couple of times a week, and a few cardiovascular sessions per week.

For strong bones, go strength-training, while for stress management, most find light cardio optimal. However, it’s important that each individual listens to their body and their emotional needs, and chooses based on that intake.

In order to reduce the risk of chronic disease, both cardio and strength training have been proven to offer notable benefits that protect long-term health.

Should You Listen to Music When You Workout?

A new report from the University of Southern Queensland in Australia, which reviewed nearly 140 studies on music’s effects on exercise, suggest that you should throw on the tunes for an overall better workout.

Researchers used existing studies that included about 3,600 people, some dating back as far as 1911. They found that listening to music during physical activity affected not just performance, but other factors such as oxygen use, and the level of enjoyment you get from exercise.

Per MindBodyGreen: “They looked at sport-related activities and exercise routines in relation to music but left out things like dance, which usually involves music already.

Not only was music found to strengthen positive feelings during exercise, but it also improved oxygen consumption, which sums up both a more efficient and enjoyable workout.

Peter Terry, Ph.D., dean of graduate research and innovation at the University of Southern Queensland says, ‘No one would be surprised that music helps people feel more positive during exercise, [but] the fact that music provided a significant boost to performance would surprise some people. And the fact that music was shown to improve physiological efficiency would certainly raise eyebrows.’”

As for the best kind of music for exercise, the research suggests that it depends on your goals. For example, slow-tempo music may be best for longer-distance running as it can help maintain a slower heart rate. For something like HIIT or sprints, music with higher BPMs will support a higher heart rate.

That said, the recent report indicated that faster music is the best for working out overall. Out of the 13 distinct emotions that the researchers found that music can evoke, the one that best promotes better workouts is “energized or pumped up.”

To learn more about workout playlists and wellness trends in the media world, Spotify recently released a report on its 54 million workout playlists.

5 Reasons to Exercise Every Day

For anyone that has exercised for the sole purpose of losing weight, you probably have experienced disappointment and even a sense of lack of fulfillment and enjoyment from your movement regimen. 

While exercising regularly is one of the best ways to maintain a healthy weight and a “good physique,” reminding yourself of its other benefits will help you stay motivated even when it’s hard. Below are just some of the many reasons why you should make exercise a top priority every day. 

It makes you happier. 

When you’re feeling down, getting moving may be low on your checklist. However, when you exercise, feel-good chemicals called endorphins are released in your body. These endorphins spark a positive, euphoric feeling, per MindBodyGreen

Exercise is a natural antidepressant, and especially when coupled with time outside, it can relieve stress and negative feelings that come from stagnation. By moving, you're finally able to see your situation from an outside perspective. There, you have the opportunity to let go of whatever happened to you instead of sitting in it. 

Movement can clear stress hormones out of your system, leading to a clearer and more focused you. 

Tap into your creativity.

Instead of meeting in an office or catching up with a friend over coffee, consider a walk and talk. There’s a reason some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs are choosing to move when they make decisions and work on new projects -- getting outside of the box helps you think outside of the box!

Reduce your chance of heart disease. 

“Did you know that worldwide, 8.6 million women die from heart disease each year? According to the American Heart Association, exercise helps dramatically reduce heart-related diseases, strengthens your heart muscle, and can help decrease the risk of having a heart attack,” per MindBodyGreen. 

You’ll feel energized. 

It may seem counter-intuitive, but getting off the couch and into a high intensity workout can actually increase your energy level. People who exercise regularly report feeling less fatigue throughout the day. So ditch the coffee, try a run instead, and build a workout into your everyday routine. 

Exercise improves sleep.

Sleep deprivation can serve as the big domino that negatively affects all other aspects of our lives, from work, to relationships and health. Incorporate movement in your day helps keep your circadian rhythm on track. For the best results, try to avoid exercising too close to bedtime.