Get Fit for Summer: 5 Easy Exercises to do at Home
Exercise is so important to long-term health. Getting regular exercise can improve sleep, concentration, energy levels, emotional health and even your appearance.
As we get ready for summer, it’s a good time to take advantage of the outdoors by following these easy exercises to do at home and in the garden.
Simple Yoga Positions
Gentle yoga exercises are great for strengthening and toning. These movements aren’t designed to hurt or strain, so if you start feeling any pain, stop immediately!
This movement is called the Upward-Facing Dog. Lie down on the floor on your belly, with your palms on the floor, raise your torso off the ground and lift your head back. This exercise stretches the chest and spine, and strengthens the wrists, arms, and shoulders. This is a great way of strengthening and opening the upper body and chest, and it improves posture. Asthma sufferers often find this position very therapeutic.
Upward Dog allows flexibility in the back and the tummy area. Use this position regularly and see a difference in the bottom and thighs.
Benefits: sciatica, provides relief from fatigue and mild depression, digestion.
Lie on your back on the floor with your arms stretched out. Gently lift your feet off the floor and raise your knees directly above your hips.
Exhale and slowly raise your hips off the mat, rolling your spine up as if bringing your knees towards the head. Use your hands and arms to maintain balance and support. Hold this position for as long as possible and then inhale and slowly reverse until your legs are flat on the ground.
Benefits: increases muscle mass, strengthens core.
Weight training is massively important for tone and strength. You can pick up some dumbbells cheaply, but be careful you don’t go for ones that are too heavy. Beginners should perhaps start with 1kg and work up from there, but you can use two tins of beans to begin with and get an idea of your strength.
To do a dumbbell raise, stand with your feet a shoulder-width apart, and hold a dumbbell in each hand. Raise the dumbbells straight up and out in front of you to the height of your shoulders. Exhale throughout this process.
Lower your arms back to the starting position, and inhale out as you go.
Benefits: tones and strengthens arms and chest
This exercise helps to tone the abs and defines the muscle in this area.
Lie back and place your legs on the exercise ball. Thighs should be close to the ball. Hold your arms across the chest and move your shoulders up and down.
Benefits: really good core strengthener.
Press-ups fill many people with dread. Although they require a lot of upper body and core strength, they are achievable. While they’re incredible at building muscles up the arms and across the chest, they can be scaled for you to build up strength. If you’re struggling with doing one traditional one, try the following position.
Kneel on the floor and put your hands on the ground in front of you (use a mat or cushions if the pressure hurts your hands). Perform the push-up as normal, but with the weight on your knees instead of the feet.
Once you can do a full set of these easily, try to do some regular push-ups.
Benefits: Push-ups are a good full body exercise, focusing on the arms, abs and lower body all at the same time.
With any good home workouts, it’s best to start off small. Start off doing five reps each for a few days, and then move on top ten reps. You can build this up as you gain strength and confidence. If anything starts to hurt, stop doing that particular exercise and rest up. You can move on to another exercise and try again the following day. Good luck!
Remember, even just playing around with the kids can count as exercise. A game of badminton, or a jump on a trampoline can get the heart pumping and burn some calories – and, of course, it’s so much fun!