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Exercising At Home

Top tips for keeping active while at home

We all know that physical activity is an important part of living a healthy life, but sometimes it’s tricky to know how to keep active when we are stuck at home (like we are during this lockdown).

Is the weather not so appealing for outdoor exercise today? Are you sick of walking the same loop around the block? If so here are some ideas and top tips for exercise you can do without even leaving the house.

Before you get started, here are some top tips to consider:

  • Pace yourself - if you are new to regular physical activity or it’s been a while then remember it is important to not go too hard, too quickly and take breaks as you need to. Start with where you are at, not where you want to be!
  • Know your limits - This one is especially important if you are joining in with online exercise classes or the daily Les Mills workout sessions on the television. Remember we aren’t all superstar athletes that can manage 50 burpees at a time! Listen to your body and know your limits, if you aren’t sure about an exercise or it doesn’t feel right then take a break or fill the time in with an exercise you know you can do.
  • Make it fun! You are likely to be way more motivated to stick at something if you enjoy it - put some music on or do it with your family/friends that you are sharing home with.
  • Make sure to start with a gentle warm up -either by doing your chosen exercise at a more gentle speed for a few minutes or try some gentle step ups to get your heart rate up and body warmed up. A good cool down is just as important, so again slow down your exercise for a few minutes to help your heart rate decrease gradually, follow this by a few simple stretches for the main muscle groups you have worked on.
  • Don’t forget to stay hydrated- have a drink bottle close by for if you need it during your workout or make sure to re-hydrate after you are finished.

Five at home exercise ideas to keep you moving

1. Step Ups

Got a set of stairs or a step at home?

Grab your sneakers and start stepping! Step ups are a fantastic way to get your heart rate up without having to leave the house.

To make it more fun, put on some upbeat music and step in time with the beat, you might be having so much of a good time that you don’t even realise you are exercising!

2.Skipping

Search the garage for an old skipping rope. The correct length for a rope can be measured by standing on the middle of the rope with one foot and pulling the ends up towards your head. Ideally the ends of the rope should be at the height of your armpits (some ropes can be shortened by tying an extra knot at the ends)

Once ready, find a spot where you can skip without hitting the roof or ideally head for the deck or another flat outdoor area and start skipping!

Skip until you get a bit puffed and then push on a little bit more. Remember to take breaks. You will be surprised, even 1-2 minutes of skipping will start to get your heart rate up.

Extra for experts: Try skipping one foot at a time (like a boxers skip), skip backwards or aim for the rope to do two rotations per skip!

3. High Intensity Interval Training

High Intensity interval training (HIIT) involves doing a series of high energy exercises for short periods of time with a quick rest break between exercises. Lots of the exercise workouts online follow this principle but you can make up your own one at home!

It is important that with HIIT training that you give yourself rest days between (ie only do HIIT training 2-3 days per week)

Come up with a series of exercises that you are comfortable and able to do safely. Some exercises could include:

Marching or jogging on the spot

Step ups

Squats (or sitting down and standing up from a chair)

Lunges

Star jumps

Skipping (as above)

Running high knees

Sit ups

Next choose how long you are going to do each exercise eg. 1 minute followed by a 1 minute rest. Over time you can decrease the length of your rest phase so it is shorter than your exercise phase. If 1 minute of exercise is too long for you initially then start with 30 secs and build it up.

Then start building up your programme, alternating an exercise with a rest break and repeat!

4. Cleaning

Now is the time to get your spring (or Autumn) clean on! Cleaning can be a productive way to not only keep the house looking nice but it also can get your heart rate up. So now is the time to grab the vacuum cleaner or mop, scrub the kitchen bench and dust the skirting boards!

5. Dancing

Pop some music on and have a boogie! Dancing is a great way to get your heart rate up while having a good time! If you have kids around then get them involved and have a dance party!

An extra idea for kids:

Build an obstacle course, by combining several activities together -get creative and ask the kids to come up with some ideas!

Here are some ideas to get you started:

-Run a lap around the outside of the house

-Balance walking along a line of the floor and pretend that the rest of the floor is ‘lava’ or that they are walking a tightrope

-Leap like a frog down the hallway

- Balance on one foot like a flamingo

- Walk from one room of the house to the other like a bear

- Hop on one foot or on two feet like a bunny

- Shuffle sideways like a crab

Kids often understand when the instruction is related to animals, therefore get them to come up with ways that lots of different animals move

So give it a go! It doesn’t matter what you are doing, as long as you are doing something! It will help both you physical and mental health and aid you in surviving this lockdown period.