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5 Beginner Bodyweight Exercises you can do at home.

Doesn’t take long to de-condition does it?  Are you missing the gym? Feeling stiff from increased time at the computer, on the couch? You’re not alone.  If we keep this up, we’ll be coming out of this period of confinement as a weak, lethargic nation.

The following are simple bodyweight exercises that can be done at home, are suitable for most levels of fitness and don’t require any special equipment. All you need is 10 minutes, a floor, a wall and maybe a couch.

Be sure to warm up 1st with some gentle stretches, maybe a few jumping jacks or brisk walking on the spot  to slowly raise your heart rate and increase blood flow to your muscles.

Stay toned at home with these easy bodyweight exercises

Arm circles

Start by standing with your arms extended to the side. Make 20 small,relatively slow, clockwise circles, then switch to counterclockwise and repeat. Increase reps over time for an easy yet effective way to tone your shoulders, biceps and triceps.  Change your concentration from rotating using the shoulder muscles to focusing on arm movement and this will change the major muscles doing the work.

Calf raises

Simple calf raises are a great way to build strength. Stand up tall, feet parallel so that the 2nd toes are pointed straight ahead.  Push into the balls of your feet slowly, making sure to keep the balls of both baby toes and the big toes equally weighted and pressing into the ground.  Then lift your heels, then slowly lower them. You can increase the level of difficulty by holding weights, bending your knees slightly, doing this with the balls of your feet on a step (so that your heels come down lower than your toes) or standing on one leg at a time.  If you are doing this on stairs, it’s OK to gently rest your finger tips on the handrails/wall for balance.

Squats

Stand with your feet hip-width apart and parallel like in the exercise above, send your hips back and sit down into a squat position (like you’re camping and going to the bathroom in the woods… sorry, that’s the most useful shared experience I could think of). Keep your chest up, back straight and weight into your heels. Be careful not to let your knees go too far forward.  Only come down to a point that does NOT stress your knees.

Start with 10 reps to begin strengthening your lower body, and work your way up to 3 sets of 10-15. Add a blast of cardio by jumping up with your arms overhead at the end of each rep.

Push-ups

Push-ups are a classic exercise for a reason; they strengthen your back, core and work your chest, shoulders and arms. Start out with incline push-ups using a stable surface, like a table or even the edge of your bed or couch.

Position your hands on the edge of the stable object, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Straighten/lengthen your back, engage your core and bend your elbows to slowly lower yourself. When your chest reaches the edge, straighten your arms to lift yourself back up.

Start with a couple of reps and work your way up from there – when you can do 20 of these, you’re ready for regular floor push-ups!

For a more gentle exercise still, just do a stationary plank; laying with your tummy toward the floor elevate onto you toes and forearms with elbows aligned  just underneath your shoulders.  Hang out there for 20 – 30 seconds. Relax, and then repeat 2 more times.

Wall sit

Finish up with wall sits. Stand with your bottom and back against a wall and your feet set up some distance from the wall.  Then slide your back down until you come to a seated position. If you’ve chosen the correct distance for your feet from the wall, you’ll be looking at a 90-degree bend at both your hips and your knees. Engage your stomach muscles and stay in this position for 30 seconds. You should feel your weight in your heels and a burn in your quads. Slowly straighten up and repeat three times.  If you like, you can vary the distance you place your feet apart on different reps.

Increase the intensity of this exercise by holding weights or extending one leg in front of you.

We know keeping up your fitness during the COVID-19 distancing is challenging. Just 10 minutes of  bodyweight exercises a day will help to maintain your strength, improve your mobility and relieve physical stress. You’ve got this!

Next topic, “Home made standing work stations”.  It’s amazing what you can do with stuff in your basement!

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