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10 of the best indoor exercises

Woman exercising at home with dumbell

All you need is 20 minutes!

If you spare just 20 minutes tomorrow morning to fit in some exercise, it can boost your mood and give you a real sense of achievement before the day has even really begun.

And guess what, you can do it in the comfort of your own home in front of the TV!

So that 20 minutes you might spend browsing social media, or watching TV; use that time to try these exercises out instead. Set an alarm each day to build up a routine, and don’t snooze it!

There are some super effective, easy exercises you can have a go at doing, without leaving the comfort of your home.

We asked one of our store managers, Beth, for her recommendations and here’s what she had to say…

  1. Leg Raises/Crunches

How do you do them?

1

Lie on your mat/floor and place your hands either side of you.

2

Straighten your legs out in front of you and do 20 reps of raising them up to a 90 degree angle and then back down to just above the floor. Don’t drop them back to touch the floor in between.

3

Then do 20 crunches by bringing your knees up to your chin and then straightening your legs directly out in front of you. 

How does it help?

Both of these exercises are fantastic for working your abdominal muscles and improving your core strength. Plus you don’t even have to get up off the sofa!

  1. Press ups

How do you do them?

1

Start in a plank position with your arms straight.

2

Your shoulders should be over your wrists, with your body in a straight line from head to toe.

3

Engage your core and bend your elbows, and lower your chest towards the floor.

4

Then, press upwards back to plank position. 

5

If this is too difficult, you could start building strength by doing push-ups with your knees lowered to take some of the pressure out of your wrists.

How do they help?

This is great for your triceps, shoulders and chest. But water bottle weights are also useful for any weights exercise without having to splash out on buying professional ones!

What’s more, you can easily alter the weight of the bottle if you need to by pouring some water out.

  1. Skipping

How do you do it?

1

Grab a skipping rope and with each rope rotation try to jump the rope with both feet simultaneously rather than stepping over it - attempt to increase your speed as you go.

2

Make sure you’re not going to wipe out any of your furniture in the process (I learnt that the hard way!) If you’re short on space, switch out skipping for star jumps - keep reading for guidance on how to do them.

How does it help?

This one is great for upping your heart-rate and getting in some cardio without facing an exercise that seems too intense.

Using the rope also improves your coordination; which first thing in the morning, I’m sure we all need a bit of.

  1. Chair Lunge

How do you do it?

1

Stand with a chair behind you, place one foot on the chair so you’re in a stance with your back foot lifted.

2

Bend your front knee until it reaches a 90 degree angle and then slowly straighten it back up. Keep your back straight and repeat for 30 reps before swapping legs.

3

To increase the exercise intensity try to tense different muscle groups in each rep.

How does it help?

Chair lunges work all of the major lower muscles, particularly the glutes, quadriceps (upper thighs) and calf muscles.

  1. Yoga

How do you do it?

If you’re unfamiliar with yoga then try a DVD or video to start you off with some ideas, as it would be difficult in just one paragraph to do justice to the broad array of yoga exercises.

A personal favourite is the tree pose.

1

Bring one foot up so the sole of it rests on the inner thigh of the opposite leg above the knee.

2

Hold your palms together and raise your arms above your head until almost straight.

3

Breathe in and out slowly and maintain balance.

How does it help?

The tree pose is fantastic for posture, balance and lengthening the spine. It is also a perfect way to end a morning workout because it opens the lungs and relaxes the mind.

Many yoga poses possess these same benefits in addition to improving core strength, flexibility and mental calmness.

Handpicked content: Which type of yoga should I be doing?

  1. Burpees

How do you do them?

1

Start in a standing position and then drop down into a squat with your hands on the ground.

2

Kick your feet right back so that you are in a push up position.

3

Jump both feet back into a squat before finally jumping up in the air with your arms extended over your head. Aim to do two sets of 15 to 24 reps.1

4

For an easier burpee, don't kick out into the push up position and stand up instead of jumping up.

How do they help?

Burpees get all parts of your body working. This includes your arms, back, chest, core, glutes and legs.

And with all the jumping up and down and kicking your legs in and out, they also get your heart rate going too.2

  1. Squats

How do you do them?

No at-home exercise routine is complete without doing a set of squats.

1

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands down by your sides or stretched out in front of you.

2

Lower yourself by bending your knees until they're nearly at a right angle, with your thighs parallel to the floor.

3

It should look and feel like you are sitting down on a chair. Keep your back straight and don't let your knees extend over your toes.

How do they help?

As a compound exercise, squats work numerous muscle groups and joints at the same time, particularly in the lower body.

This includes your glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves; they also strengthen the smaller stabiliser muscles, as well as the ligaments that support your main leg muscles.3

  1. Star jumps or jumping jacks

How do you do them?

1

Stand tall with your arms by your side and knees slightly bent.

2

Jump up, extending your arms and legs out into a star shape in the air. Land softly, with your knees together and hands by your side.

3

Keep your abs tight and back straight at all times. Aim to do two sets of 15 or 24 reps.4

How do they help?

Like squats, star jumps are a compound exercise that work all of the main muscle groups in your body.

This type of exercise is an excellent place to start if you would like to improve your overall cardiovascular fitness and strength.5

  1. Rocket jumps

How do you do it?

1

Stand with your feet hip-width apart, your legs bent and hands on your thighs.

2

Jump up in the air from this position and, as you do, drive your hands straight above your head and extend your entire body. 

3

Land softly, reposition your feet and repeat. Aim to do two sets of 15 or 24 reps.

4

To make them more difficult, start in a lower squat position and hold a weight or a bottle of water in both hands at the centre of your chest.6

How do they help?

This one exercise alone really works your legs – both the upper and lower part – and gets your heart rate going.

Over time, they can help strengthen your legs, including your ankles, and help you perfect your balance too.7

Handpicked content: Eight easy ways to fit exercise into a hectic lifestyle

  1. Tricep dips

How do you do them?

1

Place your hands behind you, shoulder-width apart on a stable chair.

2

Slide your bottom off the front of the chair with your legs, slightly bent, out in front of you.

3

Bend your arms, lowering yourself down to the floor until your arms are at 90 degrees.

4

Extend and straighten your arms back to the start position.

How do they help?

Press-ups use multiple muscle groups and, over time, strengthen your shoulder joints.

They’re also good for easing you into more strenuous shoulder exercises, such as incline bench presses.

A final few words about exercising indoors

We’re sure you’ve gathered from the exercises above that indoor exercise is something you can really make your own.

You can pick and choose the exercises you do on a day-to-day basis and you can do as many or as little reps as you like.

What’s more, most of the exercises don’t even require any equipment, and if they do, it’s minimal, such as a yoga mat, skipping rope, resistance band or set of hand weights.

While the ‘I’ll do it later’ mentality can be hard to break out of, it’s said to take just 21 days to build a new habit, so in less than a month you could be doing some or all of the exercises we’ve shared with you in your sleep!

The advice in this article is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP or healthcare professional before trying any supplements, treatments or remedies. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.

Last updated: 14 Jan 2022

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