exercising at home - how to improve your physical activity

Being at home doesn’t mean you have to be inactive. There are lots of forms of exercise you can try at home, allowing you to find a way to workout without it feeling like work. Here are some things you could do to improve your daily physical activity from home.

Regular exercise can relieve feelings of stress and anxiety, improve your immune system, prevent muscle decline, and even make your skin healthier. It can also improve your mood, help you sleep, increase your strength and flexibility, and reduce chronic pain symptoms.

If you’re limited on time, self-isolating, or go to the gym, why not try exercising at home? 

Experts recommend 150 minutes of physical activity each week. Ideally, this should be made up of both aerobic and resistance exercises - enough to leave you feeling warm and out of breath with an elevated heart rate.

You could reach your goal by exercising for 30 minutes, five days a week. If it fits better with your routine, you could do several 10-minute sessions, two to three times a day.

how to exercise more

know why you’re doing it

There are lots of benefits to exercise, but some will mean more to you than others.

Find the ones that resonate with you the most, and remind yourself of them when you’re exercising, and on the days you’re less motivated to move.

make it fun

It’s important to find a form of exercise you enjoy because you’re more likely to want to do it. There are free and paid video tutorials for everything from yoga to boxing to dance.

Sometimes all it takes is a little research and experimentation to find what’s right for you.

don’t miss two days in a row

To build a healthy habit, it really helps to do it every day, even if on slower days you only do a few minutes.

When you take a couple of days off, it quickly turns into five, then 10, then 30…

be specific

Aiming to exercise more is vague, and therefore hard to stick to. The more specific your plans are, the easier it is to do.

Ask yourself:

  • what are you going to do?
  • where are you going to do it?
  • when will you do it?
  • how long will you exercise for?
  • what will you wear?

And don’t forget to remind yourself why you’re doing it.

exercises you can do at home

guided home work out

There are free online videos for just about every exercise out there now, or you can pay for a subscription to services like Peloton or Apple Fitness.

If you’re not sure where to start, subscription services can help you find new forms of exercise to try. You’ll get the same energy and enthusiasm as an in-person class without the need to leave your house.

If you’re on a budget, doing a little research to find something that might help with your health and fitness goals can work just as well.

The Body Coach, Yoga with Adriene, Annie Clarke, and many more offer free YouTube workout videos that you can do in your own time.

stretching

Gentle stretching exercises, which use your body's own weight as a source of resistance, improve circulation and reduce the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis.

Stretching can also keep your joints supple and mobile. See if you can find a five-minute morning stretching routine online. You might be surprised at the difference it can make.

skipping

Skipping isn’t just for children! It’s a fun way to exercise whether you’re indoors or outdoors.

Just a few minutes can improve your heart and lung fitness, strengthen your bones, and develop your balance and flexibility.

To get started, skip for 20 to 30 seconds, march on the spot for 30 seconds, then repeat. As your fitness improves, you can increase how long you skip for.

gardening

Do you enjoy spending time in the garden? Have you ever ached the day after a long gardening session?

You may already be doing more physical activity than you realise!

Digging, mowing the lawn, and weeding require a range of movements and stretches that work and build muscles all over your body.

Remember to stretch afterwards, particularly if you’ve been hunched over planting or de-weeding. This will do wonders for your posture and those aching muscles, and only needs to take a couple of minutes. 

housework

Any activity that raises your heartrate and leaves you feeling warm and out of breath contributes to your weekly goal of 150 minutes of moderate exercise. There’s no reason housework can’t contribute to that!

Try picking up the pace when you’re vacuuming, dusting, or mopping. How quickly can you do it? You could time yourself, or put on some music that you like and dance around at the same time.

dancing

Dance keeps you fit and healthy and can give you a more positive outlook on life. It can also improve your memory as you try to learn new moves and routines.

There are online classes you can take, or, you could just put on your favourite music and dance around the living room. Just a quick dance can benefit your heart and your mood!

climbing stairs

Climbing stairs burns more calories per minute than jogging. It’s also good for strong bones, cardiovascular fitness, and weight management.

See how many times you can climb up and down the stairs in 10 minutes. Write down what you did and try to beat it the next day.

If you live in a bungalow, see if you can find a walk nearby that involves stairs. Many local parks have at least one or two sets you can use.

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