Simple Exercises to Try While Staying at Home
Some days, it’s just really impossible to go out and exercise outdoors or work the muscles out in the gym. In the winter months, it can be chilly, and during ‘social distancing,’ you may not be able to do some yoga with friends. Other than that, it may be your work that hinders you from hitting the gym because the sun may have gone down by the time you get off from work. So, here are simple exercises you can try while staying at home. After all, you can stay healthy and fit even if you do not have a gym membership to rely on or workout equipment to exercise.
Exercising at home
Getting some exercise at home is, hopefully, something you have been thinking about while you are ‘self-isolating’ or ‘social distancing. Besides keeping your body in tone and fit, there are other benefits to exercising at home, including, of course, to maintain sanity amidst weeks of being at home, and in lockdown.
How to Prepare for Home Exercises
Set a time when you can exercise daily
Whether you are doing household chores, finishing some work-at-home projects, or participating in an online class, we’re pretty sure that you could do a lot to at least five minutes a day to exercise. You can wake up in the morning 10 minutes earlier, set exercise breaks in between one season of your favorite tv shows, or even perform easy exercises while sitting. As many people say, “if there’s a will, there’s a way,” so we hope you could squeeze in some exercise session at home.
Clear a small area of the house to create a small space
If you are living in an apartment or there are no big spaces in the house where you can place a yoga mat and exercise, you could clear away a small area. For instance, you can move your coffee table to one side to create space.
Set up your yoga mat
It doesn’t have to be an expensive yoga mat. Some people even use soft towels or throw blankets to set up an exercise space. You can use anything you like as long as it can provide cushion and padding while you exercise on the floor.
Exercises to Try While Staying at Home
Here are some of the activities that do not ask for much time or any equipment to stay healthy and fit:
Simple Exercises You Can Do Without A Yoga Mat
Back Leg Lifts
This exercise strengthens not just the leg but the lower back as well. Here is a video on how a back leg lifts or raises should be done:
In summary, you just need to get a sturdy chair, stand behind it, and slowly lift one of your legs straight back upwards. Do that without bending your knees or pointing the toes. Once your leg is raised back up, hold it in that position for a second and bring it down. Repeat these steps gently for five to ten times per leg as long as you can tolerate it.
Do this with extreme caution and assess if you can perform this without risking yourself for fall or fractures.
Balanced Toe Lifts
Like what you did for the first exercise written above (the Back Leg Lifts), you need to get a sturdy, firm chair that you can use. Place it in front of you, stand straight behind it, and put your arms in front. If you do not have a chair, you can use a counter which you can grab or hold. Then, try to raise yourself on your toes (in a tiptoe position that you can tolerate), and gently lower yourself. Do this without leaning too far forward on the chair you are using or the counter. Perform this for 10 to 15 times.
This strength exercise helps improve balance. If you think you can’t do it alone, find someone who can assist you. Make sure it is appropriate for your current condition and do not perform the exercise if you usually feel dizzy or have other related condition that makes you prone to falls.
Side Leg Raise
Like with other previous exercises, you’ll need a chair for this easy exercise to help you improve your balance. We also recommend you to do the exercise with assistance to minimize accidents and falls.
To start, stand behind the chair. Keep your feet slightly apart. Then, slowly lift one of your legs to your side. You can begin either with your right side and then the left or vise versa.
While doing the leg raises, keep your back straight, with your toe facing forward. Also, try to look straight ahead while being mindful of your stance and balance. After that, lower your raised leg slowly. Repeat these steps from ten to fifteen times each leg, as long as you can tolerate.
Marching in Place
This exercise is probably the easiest that you can do at home. It is excellent for improving balance, especially for aging individuals. You can hold onto something while doing this exercise or stand anywhere in the house that is not messy. Be sure to check the floor before marching in place because any small object may cause you to slide and fall.
While standing straight, lift one of your knees as high as you can tolerate. Then, lower it and lift the other leg. Do it as if you are marching but in the same place for 20 times. See the video above for guided instructions.
Single Limb Stance with Arm Raised
A single limb stance with arm raises exercise is useful for improving physical coordination. It is easy to perform, and all you need is your chair to assist you with balancing. Here’s a video on how to do this exercise:
Begin by standing with your feet together and both arms at your side next to a steady, solid chair. Use one hand to hold the chair for support if needed. Then, lift your other arm straight with your fingers pointing up. Slowly raise your leg (the same side with raised arms) off the floor. Hold for ten seconds and repeat the same steps on the other side.
Single Limb Stance
Here’s a simple balance exercise that you can do at any time of the day for under a few minutes to improve your balance. See the video below for steps on how to perform this exercise:
Start by standing behind a sturdy chair. Hold on to the top backrest of the chair. Lift one foot and balance on the other. Hold the position for few seconds or as long as you can. Switch to the other leg. If you can do these steps without holding the chair, you can try it as well. Just be sure to assess if you can without risking yourself to falls or fractures.
Walking Heel to Toe
This might not seem like a real exercise to some, but it is. In fact, walking heel to toe is effective in improving balance. It helps both legs become stronger and more coordinated. See the video below on how to walk heel to toe:
Begin by putting one of your feet right in front of the other. The heel should be touching the toes of your other foot. Walk as you normally would, but keep your foot in front of the other, putting the weight on the heel. Repeat these steps with your other foot for 20 steps each.
A wall pushup exercise targets the arms, back, chest, and shoulders. It is one of the most effective bodyweight exercises and a great starting point that you can incorporate into your routine. See the video below for steps on how to perform this exercise:
Stand arm's distance in front of a sturdy wall. If you feel like you are too far from the wall, move closer. Assume a starting position with your feet and legs together. Put both of your arms straight out in front of you with your palms touching the wall at about shoulder-level. Keep palms about shoulder-width apart and your fingers pointing up.
Begin by bending your elbows and leaning towards the wall. But, ensure your hips don't sag, and your back stays straight. Keep your feet firm on the floor as you slowly bring your body towards the wall. Then, gently push yourself back until your arms are straight. Do these steps for four sets of 10 repetitions.
Exercises You Can Do for your Upper Body and Extremities
Head and Neck Exercise
Head and neck exercises help release tension at the base of the head and neck area. To perform a head and neck exercise:
Sit on a chair or stand on your feet hip-width apart. Relax both of your arms on your sides. Look straight forward and slowly tip your head on either of your shoulders, as if you are trying to touch the top of your shoulder with your ear. Feel the stretch on your neck and stay in that position for five to ten seconds. Do it again on the other side and complete two sets on each side.
Shoulder rolls can help relieve muscle pain, tension, and tightness in the upper back and shoulders.
Shoulder rolls can help relieve muscle pain, tension, and tightness in the upper back and shoulders. To do shoulder rolls, stand on your feet, hip-width apart. Then, let your arms hang down on your sides. Take a deep breath and raise your shoulders up towards your ears. After that, move your shoulders towards your back—squeezing your shoulder blades together. Slowly exhale as you drop your shoulders back and move your elbows forward. Repeat these steps for 10 to 15 times.
Exercises You Can Do to Strengthen your Hand and Improve Flexibility
The are many hand exercises to improve flexibility that does not need equipment. You can do these stretches while sitting behind your work desk at home or standing.
The prayer pose is one of the easiest exercises to strengthen the arm and wrist, as well as improve finger flexibility. All you have to do is imitate a praying pose. Simply press the palms of your hands together at the level of your chest. Once you are in prayer position, make sure your elbows are pointing straight out to your sides. Then, gently lower your hands down (while maintaining the prayer position) to about waist height and hold for about 15 to 20 seconds.
Palm Up Stretch
To do a palm up stretching, start by reaching your right hand out in front of you. Your palm should be facing out with the fingers pointing up. Assume a gesture like you are signaling someone to stop. Then, place your other hand across the other, with palms touching each other. After that, gently pull your fingers toward you, using your left hand. As you do that, your right hand should be bending back. Hold the position for about 15 to 20 seconds, and then repeat with your other hand.
Palm Down Stretch
Palm down stretching is almost the same as the previous exercise written above. But instead of your fingers pointing upward, they point in a downward direction.
Here is a step by step process on how to strengthen your wrist, hand, and fingers using this exercise.
Reach your dominant hand out in front of you. Bend your wrist so that your fingers are pointing down and your palm is facing towards you. Use your non-dominant hand to press the fingers of your dominant hand towards you. Doing this will seem like you are bending your wrist more. You shouldn't feel pain, but you will feel a bit of stretch on your wrist. Maintain that position for about 15 to 20 seconds. Repeat with the other hand.
This is a simple exercise. Like the name itself, you just have to keep your fingers interlaced. Then, stretch your arms out while keeping your palms facing opposite you. Then, reach your palms up toward the ceiling. Hold that position for about 10 to 20 seconds. Repeat for two to three sets.
Abs Exercises for Women Over 40
If you are a middle-aged female and you want to lose belly fat by doing exercises at home, we’ve got you covered. Simply watch the video below and learn the best way to redefine your core and get those abs that you desire!
Why Avoid a Sedentary Lifestyle?
Even before the government advised social distancing due to the pandemic causing havoc in our lives, most people are already spending too much time sitting. People spend extended hours in front of the television, lounging on the sofa, and having little to no physical activity at all.
However, living a sedentary lifestyle can ruin your health so much that some researchers are now thinking to call prolonged sitting itself a disease, although a highly preventable one. So, how can sitting too much ruin your health? Here are some effects that you should be aware of:
Sitting too much spoils your back
There are mainly two things that happen when sitting for extended periods. First, you are putting too much stress on your spinal structures (i.e., spinal cord). Second, the supporting muscles in your back weaken, and the local blood flow in the area declines. This simply means that your spine becomes too weak as it gets used to the position when you are sitting.
It weakens your heart
We already know that exercise can strengthen the heart, and the lack of it does the opposite—it weakens the heart. In one study, researchers looked into the effects of prolonged sitting among public transport drivers. The researchers found out that drivers were at considerably higher risk of heart diseases than those who keep moving most of the time.
A sedentary lifestyle can put you at a higher risk of diabetes
Numerous prevention studies on diabetes show that continued physical activity is the simplest, most effective way of preventing resistance to insulin and the occurrence of diabetes. Some research revealed that exercising even for a few minutes can change the way your body reacts to sweetened drinks such as tea or coffee.
Increases the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is a rare but serious condition that has direct relations to the sedentary lifestyle. It is a formation of a blood clot deep within the veins of the legs, hence the term deep vein thrombosis. Veins are the blood vessels in the body, which serve as pipes, bringing the blood back to our hearts.
DVT can be worrisome because when a part of the clot detaches, called an embolus, can go to the smallest vein in the heart and block the flow of blood. This condition is usually one of the reasons that cause a heart attack due to a limited flow of blood supply to the heart muscles.
Sitting too much makes you prone to varicose veins
Varicose veins occur as a result of blood pooling in the legs secondary to lack of mobility. Prolonged sitting and immobility prevent the backward flow of the blood from the lower extremities to the heart. This causes damage to the vascular or venous valves, eventually leading to the development of varicose veins.
You are most likely to gain weight with a sedentary lifestyle
A sedentary lifestyle is perhaps the most common contributing factor to the epidemic of obesity after diet. Stretching for a few minutes now and then can help keep metabolism boosted.
Lack of activity is associated with anxiety problems
Although researchers have not yet fully understood how or why, studies show that those who sit for extended hours are more prone to suffer from anxiety. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America or AADA, there are exercises for stress and anxiety. Psychologists who study how exercise relieves anxiety also mention that even a 10-minute walk may be as effective as a 45-minute workout. Furthermore, they say that physical activity such as exercise works as well as medication for some individuals, reducing signs and symptoms of anxiety. However, like other forms of therapy, the effect of exercise can vary from one person to another. Some people respond positively to exercise, while others find no significant changes in their mood. Nonetheless, professionals and researchers believe that the positive effects of exercise on physical health are not in dispute. And that people should at least consider remaining physically active.
Higher risk of cancer
Some forms of cancer now seem to have a direct link with inactivity and prolonged sitting. While researchers have not yet verified, studies show the relationship between sitting for long periods and some types of cancer such as colon cancer, endometrial cancer, and lung cancer. Interestingly, it does not mean that one has to be super active to reduce the risk. Just avoiding inactivity and doing simple exercises is enough to minimize the risk.
Weakening of bones and skeleton are liked with a sedentary lifestyle
The human body operates on a simple principle; you lose what you do not use. And just the opposite is also true; in most cases, the body strengthens what is used frequently. Those sitting for prolonged intervals have weaker bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, tendons, and even internal organs.
Higher risk for chronic diseases
Inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle increase the risk of chronic inflammation, high cholesterol levels, metabolic disorders, and vascular diseases. Some research also mention that prolonged periods of inactivity considerably increases the risk of developing dementia.
Exercise at Home!
You do not necessarily need to increase the number of hours you spend in the gym or engage in a long, heavy exercise routine to be fit. Just stretching your muscles every now and then, standing more often, moving your limbs frequently, may help reduce the risk of developing a disease related to a sedentary lifestyle.