Here’s ten easy ways to turn your everyday life into one great gym circuit!
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The NHS recommends that we should all exercise for at least 150 minutes each week…that’s 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise such as brisk walking. There’s always some confusion here but if you can feel your heart rate increasing and your breathing is slightly accelerated when you’re “being active”…you’re probably doing moderate intensity exercise.
The problem is actually finding the time to do that amount – even if it does only amount to about 21 minutes a day! We all lead such busy lives, particularly if we’re juggling family and jobs at the same time.
Many people ask why it’s important to exercise – particularly in the context of weight loss.
Exercise will make the body work more efficiently, both in terms of respiration (how efficiently your body can “work”), heart rate and strength. It will help keep your important muscles toned and strong (particularly the core muscles that hold your body up) which, in turn, will use the calories you take in more effectively. Gentle exercise alone will not make you lose lots of weight, but it is a crucial part of any healthy lifestyle.
So here’s how to incorporate a minimum of 21 minutes of moderate exercise into your everyday habits and routines. As you do them, you’ll think of lots more ways, but these are a great start.
Morning teeth clean – instead of standing watching yourself in the mirror, do squats in time with your brushing. Keep your tummy in, back straight and bend your knees to 45 degrees. Repeat slowly up and down.
Time taken: 2 mins.
Great for: Toning the legs, thighs and butt…one of the most effective exercises for the lower half of the body.
Waiting for the kettle to boil – stand with your back against a kitchen corner unit. Place your hands on the counters, with arms straight (but not locked) and raise your knees up as far as you can go, taking your feet off the ground. Hold for 5 secs. Lower your legs. Repeat slowly until the kettle has boiled.
Time taken: 1 min.
Great for: Toning and strengthening tops of thighs, tummy and arms.
Having a shower/bath – unless someone has used the hot water before you, there’s always a wait for the water to warm up or the bath to fill. Use this time to strengthen your stomach muscles. Straighten your back and pull your stomach in really hard, count to five and relax, breathing in as you do. Exhale and repeat as many times as you can. Really feel those tummy muscles working.
Time taken: Say 30 secs
Great for: Tummy and core muscles.
Waiting for something – we all wait for something, sometime in the day…transport, children or shop queue. Instead of just standing, work on your posture. Pull your shoulders back, pull your tummy in (remember to keep breathing normally), chest out and neck long. Hold for 5 secs and relax. Repeat this for as long as you are waiting. It may sound easy, but you’ll find it gets harder quite quickly. That’s good, because it shows you’re working your muscles!
Time taken: Say 2 x 2 mins, but could be lots more.
Great for: Posture, tummy and strengthening your “core” muscles.
Climbing stairs – we all encounter a flight of stairs or escalators sometime in the day (if you take a lift instead of the stairs, stop immediately). Instead of just going up slowly once, walk up and down quickly several times. As you get fitter, take the steps two at a time and really work the legs (but don’t use the bannisters/stair rail to help except for safety).
Time taken: Say 2 mins.
Great for: Heart, lungs & legs.
Sitting – most people sit for several hours a day so use the time to sit up straight, tummy in (don’t forget to breathe normally), butt muscles clenched and shoulders back. Hold for a count of five and relax. Repeat 5 times every hour as a minimum and more if you can.
Time taken: Say 4 mins throughout the day.
Great for strengthening core muscles, toning tummy and butt.
Walking – the most under-estimated exercise ever. We all walk sometime during the day so use this time to get the majority of your daily activity. The key thing is to walk briskly so that your heart rate and breathing increases slightly. Use your arms to increase the effectiveness of the exercise.
So, whenever you walk, do it quickly, even if it’s just from one room to another in the house. If possible, create some time to do specific walking…even if it’s just for 10 mins or so.
Time taken: Say minimum of 10 mins throughout the day, but probably will be more.
Great for: Heart, lungs, legs, butt and overall fitness levels.
TV time – however busy most of us are, we normally find the time to sit in front of the TV or tablet sometime during the day (the average Briton looks at a screen for entertainment purposes for over three hours per day). So use a very small part of this time to do some arms bends or “dips”. Sit on the floor with your back to a chair and your legs stretched out in front of you. Place your hands behind you on the seat with elbows bent. Slowly raise your body with your arms and straighten (but don’t lock them). If you find this hard to begin with, bring your feet closer to your body, but try not to use your legs to push yourself up.
Go up and down five times. Rest and repeat as many times as you can.
Time taken: At least 2 mins.
Great for: Backs of arms and shoulders.
Evening teeth clean: This time, lean against a wall and slide down until your knees are at 45 degrees. Hold and brush. You should feel your thighs start to “burn” pretty quickly. Hold this position for as long as you can. The objective is to bend your knees to 90 degrees and hold for two minutes.
Time taken: 2 mins.
Great for: Thigh and leg strengthening and toning.
Before you go to bed: Lie on your front on the floor. Raise your body onto your forearms and straighten your body so that only your toes and forearms are touching the floor. Keep your back straight and tummy tight (remember to breath normally). This is the dreaded “plank” and is one of the most effective tummy and core muscle strengtheners there is. Hold for 30 secs to start with but have an objective of 2 mins.
Time taken: Say 1 min.
Great for: Core strength, arms and chest muscles.
Total exercise time: Approx. 28 mins
Obviously you’ll find that some days you do more exercise than others. That doesn’t matter and you shouldn’t give up because you fail to do some of them on one day. The key thing is to start the exercise habit and begin incorporating more and more general activities into “exercise” activities. After a short while, they’ll soon become a regular routine and so even more effective.
Remember, the most effective exercises are the ones you do just by starting!
New In 90 team.