woman exercising at home

Easy ways to exercise at home

Whether you’re after some tips on how to work out indoors all year round or you’re hoping to keep your fitness levels up during the current coronavirus lockdown, there are many easy ways to exercise at home without any equipment.

Why is exercise important?

There’s an endless list of reasons why exercise is so important for our bodies; however, a few of the major factors are1:

It’s great for your heart

Exercise is hugely important for heart health as it allows a steady flow of oxygen and vital nutrients to reach the tissues in and around it.

It helps you maintain a healthy weight

One of the most significant reasons to exercise is for weight loss. Being overweight puts a huge amount of strain on your organs, so burning excess fat through physical activity is essential.

It supports mental health

Many studies show that exercise is able to boost your mood. This is because physical activity can stimulate the production of hormones like serotonin, which is associated with happiness.

It strengthens your muscles

Regularly using the same muscles through exercise will make them stronger and consequently boost your energy levels and overall endurance.

It improves your flexibility

As well as strengthening muscles, certain exercises – such as yoga and Pilates – are able to improve your flexibility by slowly stretching them out.

It lowers your risk of certain diseases

Research shows that those who exercise regularly are at lower risk of certain chronic diseases. That’s because you’re likely to have stronger organs and be a healthy weight.

How much exercise do I need?

Research suggests that the average adult should get around 150 minutes of exercise every week2. This should be a mix of different activities and not just walking or running.

For it to really count, you’ll need to make sure that it’s:

  1. Raising your heart rate
  2. Making your breathing more rapid
  3. Increasing your body temperature

How to exercise at home

If you’re stuck indoors and don’t have a home gym or any sports equipment to hand, don’t despair. Exercising in your house couldn’t be simpler! Why not:

Follow an online exercise routine

If you’re after a fun way to exercise with the family, a video routine may be ideal. You’ll find plenty of these on YouTube for all ages and abilities, with most requiring you to have little to no equipment. Joe Wicks (also known as The Body Coach) runs online PE style classes which are popular with both kids and adults alike, while FIIT has a bank of over 500 workout routines to choose from.

Practice some yoga

Yoga, as well as strengthening and stretching your muscles and improving your core strength, can do wonders for your mental health. That’s because the deep breathing exercises incorporated into yoga routines are designed to calm your central nervous system and slow down your heart rate3.

You’ll find numerous video tutorials on YouTube for beginner’s yoga sessions, plus various apps which take you through ten, thirty and hour-long classes for all abilities.

Do some chair aerobics

Seated exercises are great for people who may be immobile, less fit or unable to do high intensity exercises4. Select a sturdy chair and clear the space around you. Make sure you’re wearing lose fitting clothes and then try to do some:

  • Chair twists – sit with your feet flat on the floor, cross your arms and reach for your shoulders. Twist your torso to the left as far as you can without moving your hips and then do the same thing on your right. Repeat five to ten times on each side.

  • Ankle stretches – sit with your back straight and hold onto the sides of your chair with both hands. Lift one leg off the ground and then begin to stretch out your foot and point your toes. Bring your foot back towards you and repeat five times before swapping sides.

  • Arm raises – sit with your feet flat on the floor, your back straight and your arms hanging by your sides. Breathe out as you lift both arms out to the side and then above you. Slowly lower them again as you breathe in. Repeat five times.

Build an obstacle course or running track

If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, why not consider getting some exercise while soaking up some vitamin D? If you’re lacking equipment, you can easily create an obstacle course out of garden furniture or even mark out a running loop around the outside edges of your garden.

If you’re in need of a little pick me up before your indoor workout, why not take a look at our full range of energy bars? Made from natural ingredients and packed with plant-based protein, they’ll help keep hunger pangs at bay and boost your overall performance.

If you’re feeling unwell, it’s best to avoid doing vigorous exercise until you’ve completely recovered. Before starting any exercise routine, make sure you assess whether it’s suitable for your fitness levels and health.

Last updated: 28 April 2020

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