Right now, one of our priorities should be trying to keep ourselves healthy and positive. What better way to get the serotonin (feel good hormone) kicking in than by doing some exercise. But with gyms and leisure centres closed, it's a bit more of a challenge – so we need to get creative!
Exercising at home is absolutely possible – in fact you can achieve great levels of fitness without gym equipment. The important thing is to know what exercises to do and of course find the motivation to do it! So I've put together my top tips on how to get yourself motivated, and a simple routine to try at home.
Give this no equipment required, complete body workout a go in your home – it takes 20 minutes! Some of these exercises can be adapted depending on your ability – for example, do press-ups on your knees or on your toes, and only squat as far as is comfortable. If some of these are outside of your personal capabilities, it's important you skip them. I'll also be sharing other options for at home workouts for a wider range of abilities – so watch this space!
Start by jogging on the spot for 1 minute to raise your heart rate and get your muscles warm.
Next swing your arms around in big circles – first backwards for 10 rotations, then forwards, to loosen up your upper body.
Complete each of the below exercises for 30 seconds each. Once you've completed a circuit, rest for 1 minute, then repeat the circuit. Complete the circuit 4 times in total.
As you squat, push your hips behind you, keeping weight on your heels. Descend as low as you can, before squeezing your bum muscles to return to a standing position. Once standing, transfer your weight onto your toes to do a calf raise.
Simultaneously move your arms and legs away from your body to form a 'star' type position, then bring both arms and legs back into the body. Keep your chest high and eyes looking straight ahead throughout.
Place your palms on the edge of a stable object and 'set' your shoulders blades, lifting your chest to create good posture. Slowly bend at the elbows so they move backwards and lower to a manageable level. Extend arms back to the starting position. Repeat.
Place your hands wider than shoulder width apart, ensuring your chest is centred over the hands. Perform a press up then rotate a fully stretched arm up toward the ceiling until there is a comfortable stretch in your chest. With control, lower the arm back down to the floor and repeat with the opposite arm.
Adopt a 4-point stance on the floor, draw your belly button in to your spine and squeeze your bum muscles. Extend one leg away from the body, keeping your knee bent at 90 degrees. Lower under control, then repeat with the other leg.
Lie on your back, draw your belly button in toward your spine and push your lower back into the floor. Slowly begin to slide one leg forward, going only to the point where your lower back starts to lift, then slide the leg back. Repeat for the other leg.
Position your elbows directly under your shoulders. Draw your belly button in toward your spine and raise your body off the floor until you reach a flat horizontal position – the 'plank'! Hold this position for the desired duration of time.
Once you've finished your workout, it's important to cool down and stretch your body and the muscles used. Hold each of the below stretches for 10-15 seconds:
Raise one arm vertically above your head and bend at the elbow to place the hand behind the shoulder. Place your other hand onto the elbow to apply pressure backwards. Be careful not to arch your back or pull to a level where there is too much discomfort.
Take one arm up and across the body at the shoulder. Use your other hand to apply some pressure to the top of your arm to increase the stretch. Avoid pushing at the elbow joint.
Bend one leg at the knee, lifting your heel to your bum. Hold your ankle with the arm on the same side of your body and help to hold the stretch along the front of your leg.
Place one foot across the other knee and bring your legs up towards your stomach. Place your hands around the thigh which your foot is resting on. Pull your legs in to increase the stretch ensuring your head and neck remain on the floor throughout.
Note:The faster you complete each movement, the harder you will work. But make sure you maintain correct form!
Nutritionist Emma Brown (ANutr), MSc Human Nutrition is passionate about how food science applies to the human body, and how the nutrients in what we eat affect us and ultimately have an impact on our health.