starting a home workout routine

Courtney Takabayashi
January 04, 2024

Whether you’re making a New Year’s resolution or you’re tired of getting winded from walking up a flight of stairs, incorporating more movement into your daily routine is always a good idea.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, physical activity can improve your health and mood and lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. But what if you don’t want to join a gym or don’t have time to hike three hours every day? Home workouts may be the way to go! Jordan Ng, personal trainer and HMSA community well-being analyst, answered our questions about health and exercise and showed us some simple but effective workouts we can do at home.

Of course, check with your doctor before starting or changing an exercise routine.

Q&A with Jordan Ng

How active should I be in a week?
Ideally, try to be active every day. When it comes to exercise, three to five times a week is a great target, but it depends on your individual goals. However, being active doesn’t necessarily mean you need to run a mile or lift heavy weights. It simply means to move around: go for a 15-minute walk, pick up a sport like pickleball, or go to the playground with your kids.

Taking your keiki to the playground is a fun reason to get out of the house.

I want to move more, but don’t have the time. What can I do?
The key is to just start. Time will always be a possible obstacle. With our busy lives, the first thing I suggest is to plan to move 10 minutes a day. Schedule it in your calendar and set a reminder just like you would for a work meeting. In the time that we’re awake, about 16 hours a day, 10 minutes of movement accounts for only 1% of our day.

 Other easy ways to sneak more activity in your schedule include:

  • Keeping a water bottle at your desk and walking to refill it at the top of each hour.
  • Standing up every one to two hours to march in place or stretch for a few minutes.
  • Washing your car or vacuuming the house.
  • Walking down every aisle of the grocery store and parking the car farther away than usual.

Washing your car is a good way to get moving. Bonus: Your car will look great!

The truth is, everyone has the time, but they don’t realize that the difficulty lies in knowing what to do to move more. Plan it, schedule it, and do it!

How do I stay motivated to work out?
In the grand scheme of things, motivation isn’t permanent and will come and go. The focus should be on the intrinsic component of motivation or inspiration. With all the priorities we have in life, it’s essential to discover your “why.” Why do you want to work out? Some examples could include:

  • I want to stay healthy for my kids.
  • I want to improve my energy levels.
  • I want to take control of my lifestyle.

Your “why” will be the tool that reminds you to work out and can help to push you to do something small on the days when you don’t feel like doing anything. Again, set yourself up for success and do things like pack your gym bag the night before and put it in the front seat of your car. Or block out 10 minutes in your schedule to go for a quick walk during the day. Beyond internalizing your “why,” developing goals and establishing discipline can help you stay motivated and develop new lifestyle behaviors.

Work out at home
Here are some simple workouts you can do using items you probably have in your home. The exercises are adaptable depending on the equipment you use and your fitness level. “You can use lighter or heavier equipment or if you can’t do regular pushups, doing pushups from your knees works, too,” Ng says. “The goal is just to move throughout the day and keep your body active.”

Remember that safety comes first and listen to your body.

In each video, Ng goes through one round of exercise. Choose the number of rounds or “sets” to do based on your fitness and comfort level. Each time you do an exercise, it’s called a repetition or rep. You can also decide how many reps to do within a round of exercise.



  • Two soup cans
  • One case of canned food


  • Pushups: 10 reps
  • Soup can raises: 15 reps
  • Canned case press: 15 reps
  • Quick hands: 20 reps
  • Canned case press: 15 reps



  • Duffle bag (fill bad for a more challenging workout)
  • Bag of rice
  • Two cans luncheon meat


  • Duffle bag curls: 12 reps
  • Rice rows: 15 reps
  • Luncheon meat reverse fly: 12 reps
  • Plank pushups: 10 reps



  • Two small cans sausages in broth
  • Sturdy chair or couch


  • Sausages punch: 24 reps
  • Chair or couch dips: 12 reps
  • Hand-release pushups: 10 reps
  • Static pushup hold: 20-25 seconds


No equipment


  • Squats: 15 reps
  • Lunge: 10 reps per side
  • Hip bridge: 15 reps
  • Quick feet: 20 reps per side



  • Backpack


  • Backpack squats: 15 reps
  • Single leg deadlift:12 reps per 
  • Lateral lunges: 10 reps perside
  • Skaters: 10 reps per side



  • Laundry basket
  • Case of canned drinks


  • Laundry basket deadlift: 10 reps (add laundry to increase the challenge)
  • Case of canned drinks squats: 12 reps
  • Lunge jumps: 10 reps per side
  • Wall sits: 20 seconds


No equipment

Exercises (20 to 30 seconds per exercise)

  • Mountain climbers
  • Bicycles
  • Plank with hip extension


No equipment

Exercises (20 to 30 seconds per exercise)

  • V-sits
  • Tick tocks
  • Toe taps


No equipment

Exercises (20 to 30 seconds per exercise)

  • Plank
  • Superman
  • Plank pushup

Fitness inspo
Here are some fun fitness stories to get you going!

adventures in biking
Biking is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and get some exercise. The health benefits of riding a bike include improved cardiovascular health, stronger muscles, increased coordination, and more. We talked to Chris Halsall, lifelong bicycling enthusiast and HMSA sales operations supervisor, to find out how biking has helped improve his physical health and well-being.

dantastic: a zumba leader
As a teenager, Daniel Isobe had no intention of becoming a dancer or teaching anyone else how to dance. Today, he teaches “Dantastic Zumba” classes for HMSA employees at the company’s Fitness Center. Read about his journey of discovery and his passion for teaching others.

from pool to open water
The Waikiki Roughwater Swim is a nearly 2.4-mile open water race from San Souci Beach to the Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel channel. Follow HMSA Director of Strategic Communications Anna Koethe’s journey from training to race day.

hiking to beacons of light
National Lighthouse Day honors the guiding light that marks dangerous, rocky coastlines and shallow waters, guiding boats and ships to safety. In Hawaii, there are 15 lighthouses associated with the U.S. Coast Guard. You can hike to see two major lighthouses on Oahu! Learn about their history as we take you on a hike up Diamond Head and Makapuu Point.

pickleball: a growing craze
On any given day on Oahu, you can find a group of co-workers focused on a sport that’s growing faster than any other in the nation. Read how pickleball is drawing people around the state for fun, friendship, and exercise.

the power of physical fitness
Each year, public school fifth graders in the Honolulu District participate in a pre- and post-fitness test. We stopped by a Roosevelt Complex post fitness meet to watch the kids in action. We also caught up with Vinson Diep, M.D., a former Kaimana Scholarship winner who’s now a pediatrician, to discuss how to keep the whole family healthy and active.

surfing safety with waikiki beach boys
Ocean activities abound in Hawaii, from canoeing to snorkeling to standup paddleboarding. But surfing is synonymous with Hawaii culture. Learn about the history of the Waikiki Beach Boys and how groups continue to spread their mission of surf and aloha spirit today. Plus, we’ll also talk water safety in honor of National Water Safety Month and share some tips if you’re hoping to catch a wave.

twin gymnasts going for the gold
Two promising young gymnasts from Hawaii are entering their senior year of high school with hopes of becoming Division 1 college athletes. Cady and Camryn Chiu are 17-year-old twin sisters with remarkable gymnastics resumes. They share their journeys so far, their goals ahead, and what it’s like to compete alongside each other.

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