There are plenty of different ways you can exercise from the comfort of your own home, making use of whatever space and equipment you have.
Being active can help you stay in good shape and keep you healthy, both physically and mentally. Besides, you might actually enjoy it.
While any activity is a good start, the guidance from the World Health Organisation is for adults aged between 18 and 64 to notch up at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity each week. Children and young people aged 5 to 18 should aim for an average of at least 60 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity a day.
Here are some tips and techniques to keep you and your family moving at home.
Get your timing right
Try setting a specific time of day to exercise. The NHS suggests that you're more likely to find time to be active if you do your exercise at the same, regular times and days each week.
It’s important to find what works best for you and change it up if you need to. If, for example, you try exercising in the evening and you realise it’s a struggle, perhaps you’d find it easier it in the morning.
That said, you don’t need to do all of your daily exercise in one go. Instead, you can split activity into slots of 10 minutes or more and spread them throughout the day - for example, by following these NHS 10-minute workouts.
Set a goal
For some people, setting targets or making commitments can help them to stay motivated and ensure they do their daily dose of exercise.
You could share your goal with your family and friends to hold yourself accountable, or even compete against them to make it more fun.
There are several apps, like Strava and Fitocracy, that can help you set up competitions online and share your results with the fitness community.
Keep kids active
If you have kids at home, then you’ll also need to help them stay active. Like adults, children can spread their activity throughout the day.
It’s important to lead by example. If you are physically active - and even better, show signs of enjoying your exercise - then your children are likely to follow your lead.
You could even do your exercise together. For example, race them in the garden, if you have space. Or perhaps try some rough and tumble - it can be quite the exercise and children usually love spending time playing with their parents.
Try involving your kids in deciding how they get their daily exercise, as they will probably be keener to take part if they’ve had a say and feel like they’ll have fun doing it.
There are plenty of resources to help. For example, Change4Life has created some Disney-themed indoor games and activities to get the kids moving. Among others, Joe Wicks is holding daily live ‘P.E. lessons’ on his Body Coach TV YouTube channel. He also has hundreds of free workouts for all fitness levels. If you take a look online, you’ll be sure to find many other resources that can help you keep your kids active and happy.
Take an online exercise class
There are plenty of online classes available for adults too. Many of them are free and available through smartphone apps, You can also find several options on YouTube, Zoom or Instagram. If you have no experience with the type of exercise you’re trying, then go easy on yourself and be aware of your limitations. A few examples you may want to check out include:
- Les Mills on Demand, which has more than 800 workouts and is offering a 30-day free trial.
- Fiit, which has more than 600 workouts and training plans, and is offering a 30-day free trial and 25% off their app
- Nike Training Club, where you can find over 190 free workouts ranging across strength, endurance, yoga and mobility
Dancing is a great way to get your daily exercise hit, and it can be a lot of fun too.
You can dance in front of the TV while a music show is on or play some music yourself – Spotify and YouTube, for example, will give you plenty of choice to suit everyone’s musical taste. You could even strut your stuff along to the rhythms of a virtual concert.
Kids often love dancing too, so this could be a great way for the whole family to exercise together. Why not have a disco in your front room?
Use the stairs
There are plenty of ways of using the stairs in your home to stay in shape, from stair pushups to crab walks. You can try some of these ideas and get some stairs safety tips too.
Do some household chores
Have you ever noticed that a bit of hoovering can sometimes take it out of you? From swiping the floor to cleaning up your room, doing your household chores can be great exercise.
You can also multitask, getting in some exercise while you sort out the housework or go about your daily business. For example, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) suggests doing some small squats or knee-bends while you brush your teeth. Or you could do some leg-kicks or squats while you’re waiting for something to bake or standing at the sink, it suggests. You could even lift some weights or do yoga while you watch TV.
Gardening and lawn mowing are also great ways to stay active, if you’re lucky enough to have a bit of garden space.
Try circuit training
If you’re up for something a little more vigorous, then why not try circuit training at home?
Circuits combine a range of exercises to work on different parts of the body, and can be done without equipment, or by improvising with what you have around the house.
The BHF suggests incorporating activities like step-ups on your stairs, shuttle walks from one end of the living room to the other, single bicep curls using a can of baked beans or double bicep curls using a broom.
For more ideas of exercises to include in your circuit, see these suggestions from the American Heart Association.
Try a gentle workout
You could also include some more gentle exercise in your daily routine. This could mean the likes of yoga, tai chi or qi gong. They may help reduce your stress and can be done just about anywhere.
Again, there are plenty of classes available online, such as CorePower Yoga’s YouTube classes, which are live-streamed twice a day, at 2pm and 7pm.
Don’t sit all day - even while working
For many people, staying active is made more challenging by the need to work from home.
But as well as taking regular breaks from sitting in front of your computer or laptop, you can actually keep yourself moving while working.
Try to switch between sitting and standing. You could, for example, stand up for all of your telephone calls. You can try creating your own stand-up desk area, by using a high table or stacking a pile of books.
There are many ways to stay active in your home. It’s just a case of giving them a go and getting the whole family moving.
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