After varying levels of restrictions over the last few years many of us are feeling the pinch around our waistbands. If lockdown taught us anything (other than how to exhaust the entire library of our streaming services and recipes for banana bread!), it’s that you don’t need to spend time and money going to the gym for your workout. Whilst you might not have access to all the gear and equipment that your gym has, there are plenty of alternatives you can try, all from the comfort of your own home.
Note: I am not a physical therapist nor personal trainer, these are simple exercises that I like to do around the home during the day. Make sure that you warm up thoroughly before doing any exercise, drink water and consult your doctor if you wish to embark on a more strenuous exercise regime!
Here are some simple exercise ideas that you can do around the house
The plank is seemingly one of the simplest exercises, though I often find that this is one of the most difficult things to do! To adopt the plank, start by laying on the floor with your elbows underneath your shoulders and hands flat on the ground. Then begin to slowly raise yourself upward until you are on your toes and are forming a straight line from your knees to your head. The plank is a fantastic workout for your core, and also helps to improve your posture and balance. Hold for 30 seconds at a time, then increase to one minute when you start to feel stronger. You’ll really feel this one!
Take the stairs
Make use of your surroundings and start including your stairs into your exercise routine. The increased resistance you get from gravity on the stairs will give your cardio workout an extra component to prove a challenge. You might want to try step aerobics or simply just run up and down them – whatever you choose will be sure to help your cardiovascular fitness and leg muscle strength. Be careful when trying this if you have knee issues!
So you want to include weight training in your workout but don’t have access to dumbbells at home. Rather than spending a fortune on a set of weights, why not make your own? Try filling empty plastic bottles with water and lifting those instead (if you’re lifting multiple bottles, put them inside a bag and lift them that way). Plus, 1 litre of water weighs exactly 1kg, so it’ll also be easy to keep track of what you’re lifting. If you need to start with something a bit lighter, take some large cans from the pantry.
You can burn up to 300 calories from just 15 minutes of skipping, all while improving your cardio and strengthening your calves. A skipping rope is such a cheap and easy tool but makes for a really effective workout tool – why not try it out?
There are literally dozens of health benefits to yoga (and other similar activities such as pilates), both physical and mental. It is particularly useful for improving flexibility, muscle strength and posture, but also for your cardiovascular and respiratory health. Don’t worry if you don’t know where to start – there are lots of great free online classes on sites like YouTube where you can get to grips with beginner yoga classes before working it into your routine.
Cleaning is an excellent way to burn calories as you move around your daily household chores. For example, vacuuming for 30 minutes can burn 99 calories, mowing the lawn for 30 minutes uses up to 135 calories, changing the beds for 30 minutes can burn up to 187 calories. Strengthen your core muscles by sucking in your stomach as you move around and doing repeated squats in between chores.
What’s the best thing about home workouts? You don’t have to worry about who’s around. Throwing some shapes might not be on the top of your list of things you’d want to do at the gym, but what is to stop you from having a good dance at home? As well as being great fun, dancing is actually excellent for your cardio so you’re still getting your exercise in at the same time whilst listening to your favorite music – simply create a playlist of your favorite tracks and enjoy!
Like cleaning, doing dome gardening is a really effective way of burning calories. Seemingly simple activities like raking and bagging leaves can burn 350 calories an hour, pulling weeds or planting flowers can burn 200 calories an hour and shovelling snow can burn a whopping 400 calories an hour (I must burn hundreds of calories during the winter months simply by shovelling snow with the amount we get!). Remember to keep your back straight and bend your knees instead of putting pressure on your back by bending over and stay hydrated!
Whether it is targeted exercises like plants or squats, using household items as dumbbells or incorporating exercise into your cleaning and gardening routines, there are plenty of ways in which you can so simple exercise activities around the house!