I’ll be the first to admit I try to find any excuse not to exercise, and I’m not alone. Many people are pressed for time, don’t have the money for a gym fee, or just don’t like the gym. To start exercising, you only need 10 minutes a day and you don’t need any equipment — it can be free and in the comfort of your own home. Need further persuading? Read on.
This is a title often seen in magazines and articles you’ve probably read many times. You will know exercise helps improve your health but you may not be aware of the benefits gained from working out. According to the National Health Service UK, or the NHS, exercising:
- reduces the risk of chronic disease including Type 2 Diabetes
- improves mood and mental health, something we all struggle with at sometime or another
- helps balance energy levels throughout the day
- improves sleep
- slows down the aging process
- boosts your brain health
At this time of social isolation we may start to overthink, raising our anxiety levels and disrupting our sleep patterns. By introducing 10 mins of exercise into your day you’ll be getting physically active and reducing the amount of time spent sitting.
Now more than ever exercise should be an integral part of our daily routine. NHS guides state that adults should:
- aim to be physically active every day (any activity is better than none!)
- do strengthening activities that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms) on at least 2 days a week
- do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity a week
- reduce time spent sitting or lying down and break up long periods of not moving with some activity.
Time is a precious commodity to everyone and the last thing you need to be doing is waste time traveling to and from the gym or exercise class. This just adds to the time you need to exercise. Working out at home means you’re not wasting time sitting in traffic, waiting for machines to become free, or in the changing room. It allows you to spend control exactly when your exercise session starts and ends. You can fit in workouts at home when you have time. You can even work out in shifts if you need to. If you can’t squeeze all your workout in during your child’s nap, then do 10 minutes now and 10 minutes later. At home, YOU can make these adjustments when necessary.
HOW MUCH EXERCISE?
The NHS recommends 150 minutes moderate intensity activity a week. Moderate activity is classed as anything that will raise your heart rate, and make you breathe faster and feel warmer. So I’m afraid the housework doesn’t quite meet the grade. It can combine strengthening and aerobic exercises. Strengthening exercises can raise your heart rate just as much as aerobic exercises. Remember this is a guideline. Doing something is better than nothing.
A 10-minute workout 5 or 6 days a week is a great way to introduce moderate activity into your life. You can then build this up to 15 mins a day and before you know it you’ll be hitting 150 minutes a week which at first seemed impossible.
YOU HAVE THE EQUIPMENT YOU NEED
You can do a full body, toning, cardio workout without using any equipment. Your own body can give you all the resistance you need to improve your muscle tone, build strength and improve your cardiovascular health.
Once you’ve mastered the exercises and find the type of strengthening exercises you like then you can invest a small amount in some basic equipment. Dumbbells or resistance bands are a good starting point along with a skipping rope for cardio. You do not have to set up a small gym in your living room to get an effective workout.
WHAT TYPE OF WORKOUT?
This depends on what you want to get out of a routine. There are many places to find good online workouts.
YOUTUBE has a plethora of workout videos of varying degrees of difficulty. The advantage of using a YouTube workout is that you have something to follow along with and you can search for the routine that will suit your fitness level.
My recommendations are:
These four channels are hosted by fitness instructors who base their workouts on a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) routine. In a HIIT workout, you perform 3-5 intervals of very short high-intensity exercise, followed by a prolonged recovery period. This would typically be 30 to 40 seconds of work followed by a 1 to 3 minute rest interval.
If you are using a YouTube workout, try to use a channel hosted by a fitness trainer who talks you through what you are doing, gives you guidelines about your form and demonstrates lower intensity modifications to use throughout the workout.
Fitness Instructors often have online videos which are not uploaded onto social media. I have recently started this for my regular clients who can no longer attend a class or meet for a one to one training session. The workouts I send are tailored to the clients individual exercise needs, giving guidance on how to perform an exercise and showing lower impact alternatives.
Getting started is probably the hardest part especially if you struggle with motivation (something I will touch upon at a later date).
There are a lot of fitness communities out there that can help. This is where social media comes into its own. Doing a search on Facebook, using an online workout or contacting a fitness instructor can introduce you to people who will help you when you get a bit stuck or just need a small kick up the backside!
Working out at home isn’t for everyone but, if you need a little more convincing, you could try one of my low-impact full-body workouts. There are some free videos on my website tailored for all fitness levels. They are a great way to introduce you to home workouts which can be done with no equipment.