Sometimes the thought of exercising is overwhelming. We simply don’t have enough time in the day to take an hour out to go to the gym or on a long walk. It can be much easier to do nothing and use the excuse of being too busy.
However, there are many ways in which we can add little bursts of exercise into our daily routines anywhere and at any time without equipment.
According to the European Society of Cardiology just 15 minutes of exercise per day could increase lifespan. Adding in extra exercises can really make a difference to daily calorie expenditure, increasing muscle tone, keeping bones and joints healthy, reducing stress, improving mood and your overall wellbeing.
Here are 5 quick exercises that you can do anywhere and at any time using your own body weight:
- Squats utilise every muscle in your lower body including your hamstrings and quads.
- Squats can be done anywhere, even when brushing your teeth!
- Adding weight can enhance this exercise. Try holding bottles of water
How to do squats:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart (wider if you struggle with hip flexibility).
- Keep your knees in line with your toes, your core tight and back straight, and bend at the hips to lower down as if you’re sitting in a chair. Aim for a 90-degree bend in your knees. Go as deep as you can comfortably.
- Move your weight back into your heels rather than on your toes.
- Press into your heels and straighten legs to return to standing
- Repeat this exercise, pausing at the bottom each time. Click here for a video.
Top Tip for Beginners: Have a bench or a seat behind you to sit down to and provide extra support.
2. Push Ups
- This is one of the best upper body exercises focusing on the chest and arm muscles.
- It encourages strength and stability
- You can do push ups using your kitchen surface when waiting for food to cook or for the kettle to boil!
How to Do Push-Ups:
- Form a plank with your hands below your shoulders and your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Tighten your core muscles and keep your head in a neutral position. Bend at the elbows to lower your chest towards the ground.
- Ensure your body remains in a straight line.
- Once your elbows reach a 90-degree bend, press your palms firmly into the ground to rise back to the top. Click here for a video.
Top Tip for Beginners: Lower your knees to the floor to reduce the stress on your core. You could also try standing press-ups against a wall or raised surface.
3. Jumping Jacks
- A fun childhood exercise which adds cardio to your day whilst activating various muscle groups
- Try these during TV adverts!
How to do jumping jacks:
- Stand still
- Jump up and down, extending your hands above your head and stretch your legs (just like a star jump). Click here for a video.
Top Tip for Beginners: If Jumping Jacks are too hard, try doing sequential step-ups onto the first step on your stairs at home. Step-up and step-down, alternating legs as you go.
4. Mountain Climbers
- This exercise increases your heart rate and activates nearly every muscle in the body
- Try these at home before or after work
How to do a mountain climber:
- Start in the plank position, keeping your abs pulled in and body straight.
- Pull your right knee into your chest and then switch to your left knee.
- Continue to switch knees, switching simultaneously like a running motion
- Start slowly and gradually increase your speed when you feel ready. Click here for a video.
Top Tip for Beginners: Rather than bringing your knees into your chest, practise walking your legs away from the centre and back in again. You could ‘jump’ your legs from a narrow to a wide position, whilst maintaining a good core (plank) position.
5. Running up stairs
- Anytime you see stairs, try jogging/running up them instead of walking
- The more effort you put in, the more calories you will burn
- Run up and walk down
- Running up stairs can build speed, power, agility and improve cardio fitness
- It activates major muscle groups.
- Start slowly, begin by walking quicker until you feel ready to pick up the pace. Don’t run straight away without warming up or practising.
- Always be careful on stairs.
Always be careful when trying new exercises and consult your doctor first if needed. Always start slowly and gradually build up the intensity, duration and frequency.