10 exercises you can easily do at home
A lot of us don't exercise, even under normal circumstances. Why start now?
Before we were self-isolating, we had to go to work, pop by the store, visit a friend, etc. We maintained at least a certain level of activity. Now, none of that is happening, at least not on the same level. But you have to stay at least as active as before – while not leaving your house.
We’ve prepared some exercises you can do at home. But before we dive into them, let's talk about why staying active is important, first.
Stay active for your body…
Exercise is important for all body types. Let's go through one of the first effects of zero activity. Shortness of breath with minimal exertion. You wouldn’t want to panic and think something is wrong, when it’s just the lack of activity that's to blame, right?
How long have you been stuck at home? Is it still as comfortable lying on the couch as it was the first day? Your body adapts to inactivity, and soon even going to the toilet or to the fridge will feel like running a marathon. On top of that, your metabolism slows down, making your body burn fewer calories.
Every cell in your body has its own “powerhouse” (the mitochondria), that needs to be filled with energy for you to feel powered-up. Lying around on your couch won’t provide that. If you stay active, you’ll get the privilege of going to bed tired and feeling like you’ve earned a good rest.
Exercise has positive effects on our mood and stress levels. Just a few days of self-isolation is enough for a person to become cranky. Exercise will boost the production of endorphins and make you feel better instantly. Some studies* have even shown that exercise can be as effective as antidepressants.
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Let’s begin - and don’t forget to stretch!
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Mountain climbers – 30 seconds
Glute bridge - 20 repetitions
Jumping jacks - 30 seconds
We will do these three exercises one after another and repeat them 3 times. In between sets, take a short break. What do those fancy names mean? Let’s take a look.
1. A “mountain climber” is an amazing exercise to start with since it gets your heart pumping. It will wake you up and warm up the whole body. It helps build strength in your legs, core and arms.
How to do it: Get into a plank position (or push-up position). Hands should be about shoulder-width apart, abs engaged. Then as quickly as possible pull your leg into the chest, first right, then left - alternating between the legs.
2. “Glute bridge” is an effective way to strengthen the hips and the glutes. It is an important exercise for improving posture.
How to do it: Lay down on your back, bend your knees and place feet flat on the ground, then lift hips up to maximum level and repeat it. If it's too easy, you can put weights on your hips or do it with only one leg on the floor.
3. “Jumping jacks” are an aerobic exercise, also known as “cardio”. This means your heart rate will increase. It will activate your glutes, quadriceps, hip flexors, abdominal and shoulder muscles.
How to do it: Jump into a position with the legs spread wide and hands touching overhead, then return to a position with feet together and arms at the sides.
The next 4 exercises will probably be a little more familiar to you. But things will get more intense now. Take your time, you have no place else to be right now.
Push-ups - try 10 reps
Squats - try 10 reps
Bird-dog - each diagonal 10 reps
Body saw plank - 10 reps
We will repeat these exercises 3 times, as before.
4. “Push-ups” are traditionally one of the best exercises for your upper body strength. They activate triceps, pectoral muscle and shoulders. With proper form, they can strengthen your lower back and your core.
How to do it: Get down on all fours, legs extended, placing your hands slightly wider than your shoulders. Lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor. Pause, then push yourself back up.
5. “Squats” will engage your legs, glutes and lower back to stabilise the body throughout the motion.
How to do it: Stand with your head facing forward and your chest held up and out. Sit back and down like you're sitting into an imaginary chair. If you don't see your toes over the knees, you are doing it wrong.
6. “Bird-dog” exercise is good for your lower back function as it engages the core and back muscles at the same time.
How to do it: Kneel with knees hip-width apart and your hands firmly placed on the ground about shoulder-width apart. Point the arm out straight in front and extend the opposite leg behind you. Repeat 10 times. Then switch the arm and the leg.
7. "Body saw plank” is a version of the ordinary plank. It improves your posture by activating your back, shoulders, neck, abs and even the chest.
How to do it: Get into a plank position on your elbows shoulder-width. Find a place where you can slide your feet. Use your elbows to push your body back, exhale and return to your starting position, squeezing your abs the entire time.
Round 3 – the final
And the last 3 exercises are:
“Superman” - hold for 10-15 sec
“Bear crawl” - once around the apartment
“Reverse lunges” - each leg 10 reps
We will do these three exercises, one after another, and repeat them 3 times, and then we are done.
8. The “Superman” is a perfect exercise to avoid lower back pain, which occurs soon after sitting for long periods of time.
How to do it: Lie face down on a mat, with your legs straight and your arms outstretched in front of you. Raise both your arms and legs at the same time so they are 10-15 cm off the floor.
9. “Bear crawl” is a total body exercise that can rehabilitate and strengthen shoulder joints, leg muscles and core. It also has a positive impact on the cardiovascular system.
How to do it: Start on all fours and lift your knees so they're at a 90-degree angle and hovering an inch off the ground. Move one hand and the opposite foot forward an equal distance while staying low to the ground. Switch sides, moving the opposite hand and foot.
10. “Reverse lunges” activate your core, glutes and hamstrings.
How to do it: Stand upright with your hands at your hips. Take a large step backwards with your left foot. Lower your hips so that your right thigh (front leg) becomes parallel to the floor with your right knee positioned directly over your ankle.
That’s it! Not only did you exercise, but you also learned some fun exercise names. Since this wasn’t an easy workout, we suggest you replenish with some magnesium (link).
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Hopefully, this exercise plan made you feel more energised and positive. Let’s make the most of our time at home!