Exercise is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle but working out at the gym isn’t for everyone. With these easy ways to work out from home, you won’t need to go to the gym to keep your body fit and healthy.
The key to fitting exercise into your routine is to choose something you enjoy doing, so you’re more likely to stick to it. Varying your activities will keep things fun and give you a better all-around workout.
Your workouts should include a warm-up and a cool down. You can choose from cardiovascular or aerobic exercises, strength or resistance training, and stretches and movements to increase your flexibility. Ideally, a combination of some or all of these, depending on your ability and energy levels, will give you a good workout.
If you’re not used to exercising, make sure you start off gently. Also, if you have an underlying health condition that may affect your ability to exercise, check with your GP before you start any new exercise regime.
Always warm-up before you start your workout. If you put too much strain on cold muscles and joints you risk injuring yourself. So get that blood pumping faster and warm up your muscles.
Cardiovascular exercise is important to keep your heart healthy. It will exercise your heart, get your blood flowing around your body faster and over time, can even help lower high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. There are plenty of free workout videos available online that you can follow, or you can choose a range of exercises to do yourself.
Marching, skipping or jogging on the spot, jumping jacks, side steps, lunges and burpees are all good cardio exercises. Don’t just stick to one though. Try doing a minute of each, alternating higher impact moves with some lower impact marching to recover.
If you want to have fun while you exercise, dancing along to your favourite songs will give you a great cardio workout. This is a great option for all fitness levels as you can pick the speed and intensity of the songs. You can also get a feel-good buzz from the release of endorphins — the chemicals released by your body that relieve stress and pain and can produce a feeling of happiness. Zumba is another fun dance-based exercise that also incorporates aerobics.
Strength building and resistance training are really easy to do at home. You don’t need machines or a full rack of weights. However, if you have some barbells or kettlebells at home, this is a great way to increase the intensity of a bodyweight workout. Squats, push-ups and planks are good exercises to start with and target many different muscle groups.
Strength training isn’t just about toning up your muscles. As you age, you naturally start to lose muscle mass. You can slow this down or in some cases, reverse it with strength training. It also helps keep your bones and joints healthy, which can improve your balance, posture and coordination.
It’s a common misconception that strength training will make you look bulky, similar to a bodybuilder. However, bodybuilders dedicate a huge amount of time to defining their muscles, in combination with eating a large number of calories. You’re therefore very unlikely to end up with a bodybuilder physique from regular strength training as part of a healthy exercise regime.
Including yoga or Pilates in your workout is great for improving flexibility and your core strength. If you have an injury you can easily choose a routine that avoids positions you find uncomfortable. There are often variations of each pose that you can explore depending on your ability and how far you want to push yourself.
However, while yoga and Pilates are great at-home exercises, if you’re new to them, it is important to first see a yoga or Pilates teacher who can ensure you know how to correctly perform the different positions to avoid injury. Once you are confident in performing these exercises, you can continue to do them at home on your own.
If time is an issue for you, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) could be a good fit.
HIIT is designed to be efficient, burning a high number of calories in a short time and increasing your metabolism for several hours after exercise. It combines short bursts of intense exercise with rest periods and you can get a good workout in just 30 minutes.
If you’re committed to working out at home, you might want to invest in some equipment. Home exercise aids can range from simple dumbbells and a skipping rope to high-tech machines that you’ll need a dedicated space for.
If you think you’ll use it regularly, you may want to consider investing in a treadmill, exercise bike, rowing machine or cross-trainer. It could work out cheaper than a gym membership in the long run.
Having your own exercise equipment also makes it easier to fit workouts into your schedule and is a great way to take a screen break. Lots of equipment can sync with your smartwatch or smartphone to help you track your fitness too.
Always cool down and stretch out after exercising. This allows your heart rate and breathing to slow down gently while stretching your muscles will help prevent them from cramping. Hold each stretch for around 30 seconds or longer if you feel you need it. If you don’t cool down properly, you increase your risk of developing delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
If you're concerned about symptoms you're experiencing or require further information on the subject, talk to a GP or see an expert consultant at your local Spire hospital.
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Niched in the care sector, Cahoot Care Marketing offers a full range of marketing services for care businesses including: SEO, social media, websites and video marketing, specialising in copywriting and content marketing.
Over the last five years Cahoot Care Marketing has built an experienced team of writers and editors, with broad and deep expertise on a range of care topics. They provide a responsive, efficient and comprehensive service, ensuring content is on brand and in line with relevant medical guidelines.
Their writers and editors include care sector workers, healthcare copywriting specialists and NHS trainers, who thoroughly research all topics using reputable sources including the NHS, NICE, relevant Royal Colleges and medical associations.
The Spire Content Hub project was managed by:
Lux Fatimathas, Editor and Project Manager
Lux has a BSc(Hons) in Neuroscience from UCL, a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and experience as a postdoctoral researcher in developmental biology. She has a clear and extensive understanding of the biological and medical sciences. Having worked in scientific publishing for BioMed Central and as a writer for the UK’s Medical Research Council and the National University of Singapore, she is able to clearly communicate complex concepts.
Catriona Shaw, Lead Editor
Catriona has an English degree from the University of Southampton and more than 12 years’ experience copy editing across a range of complex topics. She works with a diverse team of writers to create clear and compelling copy to educate and inform.
Alfie Jones, Director — Cahoot Care Marketing
Alfie has a creative writing degree from UCF and initially worked as a carer before supporting his family’s care training business with copywriting and general marketing. He has worked in content marketing and the care sector for over 10 years and overseen a diverse range of care content projects, building a strong team of specialist writers and marketing creatives after founding Cahoot in 2016.