Worried you won’t get a good workout without the gym? Our wellness guru tells us how we can still get maximum results at home
Last month I wrote about the mental and physical effects that Covid-19 was having on us as a society. Since then, we have received the news that gyms will not be opening for another few months, so adapting to this new normal is paramount to a healthy mind and body. A great way to adjust is to make use of what you already have, and using inexpensive household items as gym equipment can help you to stay in shape and still feel the burn.
You may already have some inexpensive key pieces lying around without knowing it, especially if you have children. One such piece is a hula hoop. Not only are these really fun, they are a fantastic way to keep your waist in top shape, and if you master the swing (by putting one foot forward and the other back and gently rocking the foot that is placed forward and thrusting your hip slightly) then your entire core will get a full workout.
A football is also a great piece of equipment. For a sit-up crunch; lie on the floor, hold it straight up above your head, then reach it up to the sky while bringing your body to an upright seated position. Then, very slowly come back down again and repeat. A football can also come in handy if you are doing Russian twists; sit upright on the floor with your feet off the ground, twist and touch the floor on the left with the football, and then twist to the right and repeat.
Raid the pantry
You can use things such as full water bottles or cans of beans as weights. Just hold them tightly in each hand, and move slowly with intent. The more intense the move, the better it will be for your muscles.
Use a hard stool, bench or chair for your tricep dips. With your back to the flat, hard surface, place your hands on the edge and slowly lower down and push back up again. The ‘down’ position is the one you need to hold, then burst back up!
If you have a resistance band then you can do a huge range of exercises especially for your upper body, but if you don’t, a bath towel will do the job. Yes, you heard me correctly! Towels, when outstretched and held tightly, can act as resistance bands. In fact, almost any exercise that you do with a resistance band, you can do with a towel. For example, if you were to work on your chest, twist the towel into one long straight line, hold the ends in each hand and outstretch your arms in front of you and pull it as tight as you can on either end. Now, with small definitive moves and at a very slow pace, pull the towel into your chest, pause, push out again, pause and repeat.
If you can’t afford any equipment don’t be put off – your own body weight is more than enough for lunges, squats and push-ups. When lunging, you can pulse for two while you are in the lowest position, and then come up, squeezing your butt each time. You can also add a jump into the lunge for some extra cardio. The same goes for squats (hold the move at the bottom and pulse for two seconds) and then come back up and squeeze your butt. Add in a jump here too for extra cardio. Push-ups can be done anywhere, just make sure your form is correct, and you hold your core and butt tight without arching or dipping your back. Take it slowly and build to an extra one each day to get stronger.
Taking the stairs (if you have them) can really get your heart rate up. Running or slowly taking two at a time can not just give you a great cardio blast, but also work your glutes, too. If you are lucky enough to have a garden, use nature as your gym. If you have three trees, try running between each at top speed, slowing down when you get to the tree and taking a 30-second break, then sprinting to the next one and so on.