10 simple exercises to get you fitter

We all know that staying active and getting regular exercise is good for us, but you don’t have to pay expensive gym fees or buy the latest equipment to stay fit and well! Here are 10 great exercises that you can do at home, without the need for any equipment:

  1. Walking. Perhaps the simplest and easiest of all exercises! If the weather is nice just get outside and enjoy the scenery around you while you walk for between 15 and 30 minutes at a steady pace where you feel slightly out of breath but can still easily have a conversation. If it is wet, cold, or you simply don’t feel like going outside you can still get a walking workout – go up and down your stairs a dozen times to tone up your legs and get some low impact aerobic exercise at the same time. If you don’t have any stairs, just walk around the house several times!
  3. Jogging Inside. Jogging is a really good exercise for your heart and lungs as well as helping improve your stamina and help assist weight loss. You don’t have to run miles outside to get the benefit if you don’t want to – try jogging on the spot at home while watching TV or listening to music. The only equipment you will require is a good pair of shoes, and a firm non-slip surface to run on the spot on. Once you have got used to running in this way, why not try running round the block to show to yourself that you can do it and spur yourself on  to do more!
  5. Dancing. Dancing is a wonderful exercise, and is great for your heart and lungs as well as helping to keep you supple and your muscles toned. Not only that, it can lift your spirits as well, and give you a great feeling of well-being. You can go to dance classes, or dance to music or a DVD of your choice at home if you prefer. Try dancing for 10 minutes non-stop and gradually build up from there.
  7. Step-ups. Using the steps or stairs in your home, do a number of step-ups and step-downs to tone your leg muscles and get your circulation moving. Just remember to be careful to keep your balance doing these – hold onto a rail or bannister if you want to.
  9. Light Weight Lifting. You don’t need to be building up big muscles to get fitter, or go out and buy expensive weights. Strength training using whatever you can find in your house will not only help tone your muscles up but also make you feel better and help increase your heart rate when working out. Try starting with something light such as a can of peas, and work yourself up to heavier items – you could even try using cartons of milk, detergent bottles or bottles of water.
  11. Squats. These are really good exercises for your legs and buttocks and you can even do these by simply sitting and standing up again from a regular chair, if you’re finding them to be too difficult. As long as you’re able to do a few repetitions, you will get the benefit from doing them, try to gradually build them up over a number of weeks so you can do 30 at a time without stopping.
  13. Pushups. Many people can find these difficult at first and if you do then do them on your knees, instead of keeping your legs straight, or do them standing up against a wall. This type of exercise strengthens your upper body and tones your arms and chest. Start either on your knees or your toes, extend your arms in front of you roughly about shoulder width apart. Lower your chest towards the floor and then push back up, returning to your starting position. Try to add an extra one to your personal best total every day.
  15. Burpees (‘Jumping Jacks’). Remember doing these as a child? This exercise is a big calorie burner, a great exercise to tone your legs and arms and will hugely improve cardiovascular fitness. Start in a standing position, quickly squat towards the floor, placing your hands in front of you then jump your legs backwards into a push up position. Then jump your legs back to your hands and jump up vertically as high as you can. Do as many as you are able to.
  17. Crunches. These are one of the best exercises for building up and strengthening abdominal muscles that, when toned, give your abdomen that "six pack" look. Perform basic crunches by lying on the floor. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Bend your elbows and put your hands behind your head, or place your fingertips over your ears. Lift your shoulders off the ground by contracting your abdominal muscles. You shouldn't sit all the way up, but should lift your shoulders only until your abdominal muscles are fully contracted. You can squeeze your abdominal muscle tight for a few seconds before lowering yourself slowly back down to the floor. Start out with 10 to 15 basic crunches, increasing your number of repetitions as your muscles gain strength.
  19. Leg Lifts. These are great for building up strength and muscles in your legs. If you find it hard to do the exercises with your legs straight, try bending them slightly. Lie on a yoga mat with your hands behind your head or crossed on the chest. Tighten your abdominal muscles and squeeze your buttocks. Lift both your legs off the floor, maintaining them straight or bending them slightly. Lower the legs to 1 inch from the floor, so that the abdominal muscles are still tight and then repeat the lift. Perform 5 series of 10 leg lifts.

So, you can see that you don’t need to use expensive equipment in order to give your body an effective workout - use what you have in your house, and work out in the comfort of your home. You will be more likely to keep up with the exercises when you’re comfortable, so simply get up and start to exercise!