Clearly the answer to this question depends on your home and what you have in it. That doesn’t mean you have to have a home gym setup. In many ways, all you need is some space, some imagination and above all…some motivation.
Let’s assume you can also leave home (we’ve all had our share of lockdown Covid restrictions in recent times), which means walking, running, cycling or swimming might be an option.
So, let’s start simple – walking. No equipment needed other than sensible shoes, a hat if it’s hot, an umbrella if it’s raining and a drink bottle to maintain hydration. But if you’re looking for some extra motivation, a set of headphones to listen to music can help you keep a steady pace. Or you could listen to an audiobook to alleviate boredom if you’re stuck on the same route day in day out.
And speaking of motivation, many people find that setting a simple goal motivates them to stay on track.1 You’ve probably heard about 10,000 steps per day as a simple goal. However, if you’re looking for even more motivation, a recent study suggests that 7,500 steps per day will still provide many health benefits.2 The 10,000 steps goal wasn’t built on scientific evidence, it was a marketing gimmick developed by the inventor of the first pedometer called Manpo-Kei, which is Japanese for 10,000 steps.2
If you’re looking for an exercise that will give you a great cardiovascular workout as well as build great muscles including glutes, hamstrings, quads and calves. It can also be low impact to avoid injuries.3
If you don’t have access to stairs, either buy an inexpensive aerobics step device, or make one with a short plank and something solid to raise it off the ground.
3. Indoor cycling
You really don’t need to spend a lot of money on a spin bike or fancy computerised machines. A lot of people have an exercise bike gathering dust in a garage or spare room. Check out the bargains on the usual online sites like eBay. But there are some bike trainer stands that allow you to get your old push bike out and use it indoors (or outdoors if you want some fresh air but don’t want to go too far). To alleviate boredom, there are lots of apps that allow you to look at nice scenery while you’re pedalling. Another good trick is to make up a 30 minute playlist of say 8-10 songs. It divides and conquers the challenge into small segments and makes the time go faster. Pop your earphones in a cycle away!
A piece of rope is all you need. Or you can pick up an inexpensive skipping ripe with nice ergonomic handles. Skipping is a great way to boost heart rate and get a great workout.
5. Hula Hoop
Channel your childhood and grab a hula hoop. According to the Mayo Clinic, “hula hooping can provide similar results to other types of aerobic activities, such as dancing — including salsa, hula, belly and swing dancing. On average, women can burn about 165 calories in 30 minutes of hula hooping, and men can burn about 200 calories in 30 minutes of hula hooping.”4
6. Indoor routine
Create your own indoor routine, mixing up a few different exercises. For example, marching on the spot, single leg stands, jogging on the spot, jumping jacks, burpees, squats.
Again, breaking up the routine into segments with music can make it more enjoyable.
7. Dancing to music
Dance like nobody is watching and burn calories. Turn up the music. It may not feel like exercise, but it is – and it’s doing you good in more ways than one.
The is where your imagination can do the running. Lifting weights delivers some great benefits – apart from just making you stronger. It boosts your metabolism, so you continue to burn calories even when you’re sitting on the couch later.5 It also decreases abdominal fat and improves heart health.5
You can purchase some weights for home, but you can also improvise – lifting cans or bricks or old plastic bottles filled with something like rice or sand. Juice or milk bottles with handles make them easier to hold.
Resistance bands are also good. Or you can simply lift your own bodyweight with push ups.
9. Online exercise class including yoga, Pilates or aerobics
There are many videos on YouTube, or specific apps that can help you take a guided class in yoga, Pilates or other exercise classes.
Finally, there’s housework. And you’d be surprised how many calories vacuuming a house will burn up.6 Someone has to do it, so use the opportunity to burn some calories and two lots of benefits. If you don’t like vacuuming, there’s always the lawn to mow or a car to wash – all great activities that contribute to your exercise program.
Keeping the program going
We’ve mentioned music a few times above. There’s nothing quite like getting into the rhythm (literally) to help motivate or breakup the monotony of exercise at home. But your house partners might prefer it if you wore headphones rather than blasting them with a sound system. Check out the Quantum Sonic Bluetooth earphones here – perfect for exercise.