Exercise does not have to be complicated, and nor should it not be! With all of the various gimmicks, fads, and conflicting recommendations, it can be hard to know where to start.
So, what are some simple exercises you can do at home? Strength exercises build your overall muscle strength from head to toe, starting with bodyweight exercises and gradually adding light weights to each exercise will apply the progressive overload needed to your muscle in order to become stronger, leaner, and more toned.
When it comes to exercise for keeping fit anywhere, simplicity and consistency are key. What’s more, if you’re not a gym member but want to start doing some simple bodyweight exercises at home, or if you’ve fallen out of the habit of going to the gym, these 10 exercises are a great place to start!
10 simple at-home bodyweight exercises to keep fit
We recommend that beginners complete 10 repetitions of each exercise (or 5 on each side), 3 times to gain the maximum benefit. As you build up your strength, increase the number of repetitions in each set, or increase the number of sets. But, be careful not to go overboard…
Complete this exercise whilst standing facing a wall, placing both hands on the wall for balance. Slowly bring your weight up onto both big toes and then slowly lower down and repeat.
(Thigh & Glute exercise)
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, push your bum back against an imaginary wall, then slide your bum down this wall, keeping your feet flat against the floor, aiming to squat down far as feels comfortable, then push back up to stand with flat feet.
(Thigh & Glute exercise)
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, step 1 foot forwards bringing the majority of the weight onto the front foot. Bend your weight forwards onto the front knee to lower your behind knee down to the ground (or as far as feels comfortable), then push back up to standing using your front foot. Repeat for the other leg.
(Hamstring & Glute exercise)
Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, and your knees slightly bent, put your hands on your hips, and push your bum back to hinge from the hip, lowering down so that your chest points down to the floor whilst maintaining a straight back. Feel the stretch on your hamstrings and then squeeze the bum and thrust your hips forward to return to standing.
(Quadriceps, Hamstring & Glute exercise)
Start with the top one foot (not the sole of the foot) elevated on a chair at roughly knee height. With the majority of your weight on your front foot, slowly lower your weight onto your front leg by bending your front knee forwards to lower yourself down to the floor (or as much as feels comfortable), then push back to standing using your front foot. Repeat on the other leg.
(Hamstring & Glute exercise)
Lying on your back, bring both heels up to the bum, resting on the floor. Tilt your pelvis back to slightly press your lower back down into the floor, then squeeze your bum whilst pushing through your heels to lift your hips high up off the floor, then slowly lower the bum back down to the floor. Repeat.
Side-Lying Straight Leg Raise
(Outer Glute exercise)
Lying on your side, with your shoulders, hips, knees, and feet in a straight line, rock your pelvis forward slightly so that your belly button faces down into the floor, keeping your top leg straight. Lift it slowly into the air and then lower back down, mimicking a scissor motion. Repeat.
(Chest & Arms exercise)
Adopt the press-up position by having your hands directly under your shoulders, as you lower your weight down by bending the elbows. Aim to have your elbows descending at a 45-degree angle, squeeze the chest muscle to then straighten the elbows to bring yourself back to the start position.
Start with your back facing a sturdy chair, prop yourself up onto the chair with your palms on the front edge of the chair and your knuckles facing forwards. Have your knees bent and feet planted on the ground, with your elbows pointing backward. Bend your elbows to slightly lower yourself down to the ground and then straighten the elbow to prop yourself back up.
Rucksack Shoulder Press
Holding a weight/rucksack with water bottles or heavy objects in, start with your shoulder and elbow in a 90-degree position, then push your hand up to the ceiling and slowly return down. Repeat on the other side.
Benefits of regular activity
Regular physical activity works wonders not only for our physical health but also for our mental and emotional wellbeing. Not to mention helping to reduce the chances of developing cardiovascular diseases, musculoskeletal injuries, and helps to increase our life expectancy.
Improved Cardiovascular Health
The more we exercise, whether that be cardio exercises such as running, cycling and rowing, etc, or strengthening exercise such as the exercises listed above, we are improving our overall cardiovascular health. Any form of activity or exercise which increases our heart rate and breathing rate is absolutely essential to keep us fit, happy, strong, and healthy.
Stronger Muscles Which Reduce Your Risk of Injury
Reducing your risk of injury is critical if you want to continue doing the sports and activities you enjoy. Nothing is more frustrating than missing weeks or months of your favourite sport due to injury, especially when it could have been easily avoided with a simple strengthening programme.
One of the most common reasons for an injury I see as a Physiotherapist is muscle weakness. Unless we are actively strengthening our muscles, we are just gradually becoming weaker, which happens faster as we age. By completing strength exercises just 2 – 3 times per week, we not only maintain our muscle strength but strengthen our muscles as well, no matter our age.
The NHS advises completing strengthening activities that work all the major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms) at least 2 days a week.
- To do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity a week
- Spread exercise evenly over 4 to 5 days a week
- Reduce time spent sitting or lying down, and break up long periods of inactivity with shorts bursts of exercise that you can do around the house, or even at work
The above exercises are a great place to start
Keeping Fit At Home
One of many things we have learned throughout COVID-19 is that fitness can’t, and shouldn’t, be just ‘paused’ due to a lack of access to gyms and equipment. That’s why keeping fit at home with simple exercises is a brilliant way to keep our cardiovascular system pumping and keep our muscles strong.
Remember, short breaks in our exercise routine can be helpful and are recommended on an infrequent basis to aid recovery and reduce physical burnout from excessive exercise. That said, breaks that last more than 2 – 3 weeks, can have a negative impact on both your cardiovascular fitness, overall muscle strength, and endurance.
Yoga and Pilates Classes in Sheffield
Katie Bell Physiotherapy offers a range of exercise classes in Sheffield, including face-to-face classes, and online classes to suit your lifestyle. Choose from Yoga, Pilates, and Strength and Conditioning classes at our studio in Sheffield.
All classes are led by our expert instructors to ensure that you get the most out of your session and that you’re performing the exercises correctly to avoid injury.
We regularly offer free taster classes to see if they’re for you. Keep an eye out on our social media pages for our next taster session. Or, if you just want to get started, take a look at our class timetable here.
Furthermore, if you feel like you would benefit from a tailored exercise programme to improve your strength and reduce your risk of injury, please call our team to book an appointment with one of our expert Physiotherapists who will assess your current fitness level, and create a tailored exercise plan to help you achieve your fitness goals.