Tuesday 26 May, 2020

Home workouts to keep in shape

With gyms and public recreational spaces still closed due to COVID-19 measures many people have been left to find alternative means of staying fit.

Regular physical activity isn’t only about weight management; it’s important to help improve and maintain your health. Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you can’t exercise.

Here are some simple exercises you can easily do at home to keep you active:

1. Push-ups: Begin in a standard plank position, with your arms slightly wider than your shoulders and your feet just a few inches apart. Slowly lower yourself down, getting as close to the ground as possible. Then, push back up through your chest and arms to starting position. Maintain a tight core throughout the entire movement and don’t allow your mid-section to arch up or sag.

This movement builds upper-body and core strength, using muscles in the chest, shoulders, triceps, back, abs, and even the legs.

2. Standard squat: Stand tall with your feet spread shoulder-width apart. Bend your legs and lower your hips toward the floor, making sure your knees don’t collapse inward while doing so. Your knees should not extend beyond your toes. Return to beginning position while squeezing your glutes.

Squats challenge a range of muscles including the gluteus maximus, minimus and medius; quadriceps and hamstrings.

3. Planks: Begin by getting into the pushup position. Next, bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms. Be sure to keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending. Keep your head relaxed and look at the floor. Hold the position for as long as you can. Don’t forget to breathe - inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.

Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominus, the external oblique muscle, and the glutes.

4. Glute bridge: Begin by lying face up on the floor, with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Keep your arms at your side with your palms down. Next, lift your hips off the ground until your knees, hips and shoulders form a straight line. Squeeze those glutes and keep abs drawn in to avoid overextending your back during the exercise. Hold the bridged position for a few seconds before easing back down.

Done correctly, you’ll feel the burn in your glutes and hamstrings. Bridges improve hip mobility and strengthen the lower back. This is an especially great exercise for office workers who sit at their desks for most of the day.

5. Skipping: This is a straightforward exercise, but to gain the highest benefit from this movement, make sure that you adopt the following correct technique: Jump off and land on the balls of your feet, keep your head up and look straight ahead - avoid looking down at your feet, keep a straight back – no hunching over, and jump just a few centimetres into the air each time that the rope passes.

Skipping is a high intensity, full-body workout that engages abdominals to stabilise the body, legs for jumping, shoulders and arms for turning the rope. Jumping rope for just 10 minutes is the equivalent of running nearly two kilometres in eight minutes.

Additional tips: Always warm-up before beginning any exercise by marching on the spot, jogging or light skipping.

Include a light cool-down at the end of your session to bring the body gradually back to its resting state. Do a few stretches and focus on the legs, particularly the calves, to maintain good leg flexibility.

Perform each of the above movements for 20 seconds, getting in as many reps in as you can. Follow this up with 10 seconds of rest. Complete two full sets (20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest, then repeat once) of each exercise before moving on to the next.

Just 10 minutes a day will help to improve your overall fitness.

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