Staying in Shape at Home
There’s no doubt that exercise can help us stay in shape, boost our self-confidence, improve sleep and have a positive impact on our mental health. However, how do we maintain our level of fitness when we no longer have access to our usual physical activities?
Restructuring the way we workout is a challenge at any age, but don’t be discouraged as the benefits of changing your exercise routine are myriad. Mixing up your activities keeps your workouts interesting and challenges different muscle groups. It’s important to incorporate a range of exercises to support over all physical health. So, find some motivational beats and let’s take a look at what you could be doing at home
Balance & flexibility
Developing your stability through balance work is a practice worth investing time in. Improving core strength will support quality of life and reduce the risk of falls. It will also give you confidence when out walking and performing physical activity. Yoga and Tai Chi are forms of balance work and can be done within a limited amount of space. Both confer valuable health benefits when done regularly, you will quite literally see an improvement in your flexibility and posture within weeks! Check out YouTube for free online classes.
Chair yoga for senior citizens and office workers is growing in popularity. It is a convenient way to incorporate movement into your day, and helps release feelings of stress. Being in a seated position helps maintain stability and keeps the joints steady, so if you’re new to yoga this is a brilliant way to get started. Why not have a go at the following postures.
Chair cat-cow stretch
Sit comfortably on the chair with a tall spine and both of your feet on the floor. Place your hands on the tops of your thighs or on your knees. For cow pose, inhale and arch your spine, rolling your shoulders down your back. For cat position, exhale and round your spine, dropping your chin to your chest. Allow the head and shoulders to come forward. Repeat the movement for five breaths.
Chair spinal twist
Sit sideways on the chair so the back of the chair is in line with your right shoulder. Turn your torso to the right, holding onto the back of the chair and look over your right shoulder. Elongate your spine on each inhale and twist on the exhale. See if you can move a little deeper into the twist on each exhale. You should not feel any pain just a gentle stretch in your back. Repeat on the opposite side to complete one spinal twist.
Adding a cardio session to your workout will help develop endurance and reduce feelings of fatigue. The idea behind this form of exercise is to get the heart pumping, hence the name cardio, short for cardiovascular. Stair climbing is a first-class way to build up a sweat. One rep (repetition) is once up and down the staircase. Build up gradually at first, with 2-5 reps and then set yourself a goal to improve each day, always listening to how your body feels. You should notice a little shortness of breath and your heart will be beating faster.
Resistance training is a core exercise for maintaining healthy bone mass, improves balance and builds muscle. If you have dumbbells at home great! If not, find a suitable alternative such as a couple of tins of paint, two cans of beans or heavy books. Find a weight that works for you. While standing straight with your tail bone tucked under, and your weights in each hand, raise your arms in front of you to a height where you feel comfortable but slightly challenged. Then lower your arms to the front of your thighs, this is one rep. Repeat for 5 reps. If this does not feel challenging enough, increase the number of reps. The idea is to be at a level where the last rep is an effort to complete.
Carve out 20 minutes to an hour each day to complete your workout, you should feel like you have exerted yourself at the end of each session. At the end of your routine give yourself a big well done and dance like no one’s watching! After all that’s one of the perks of being at home, you can do it just how you like it.
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Keri Filtness has worked in the Nutrition Industry for 19 years. She is regularly called upon for her professional comments on health and nutrition related news. Her opinions have been featured by BBC3, Prima, Vitality, The Mirror, Woman’s Own and Cycling Weekly, amongst others. She has also worked one to one with journalists, analysing their diets and health concerns and recommending changes and additions, where appropriate.