We all know how important it is to try to fit some physical activity into our day, but sometimes life gets in the way and finding the time, or motivation to go to the gym is a struggle. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative and use what you’ve got at home to help keep you active.
AXA Health Junior Physiologist, Sam Brazier, offers his tips on how to get a good workout using everyday objects from around the house, to help keep you physically and mentally fit.
Sofa and chair exercises
These staple pieces of any home furniture, can really come into their own as a handy pieces of equipment to help keep you fit.
Chair squats – Squats are a great functional exercise, that helps build strong glutes, which in turn can help ward off back pain, especially if you sit down a lot. There are many variations, but if you’re a beginner or have limited mobility, starting off by doing chair squats is probably the simplest option.
Grab a chair and start seated. Pushing through your feet, with your hands on your hips, simply stand up, squeezing your bottom at the top. Slowly sit back down and repeat, making sure your knees don’t go over your toes.
To progress, just take the chair away, so you’re using your body weight, or add a weight (dumbbell, kettlebell, or bottle of water). You could even try a one-legged option to really test your balance!
Press ups – Place your hands on the lower part of your sofa or the end of your sofa, a little wider than your shoulders, with your body in a straight line, and feet on the ground to resemble a press up position. Slowly bend your arms so your chest gets as close to the sofa as possible. This is a good way to build up to press ups on the floor.
To make this easier, come down to your knees or use the kitchen counter, which will take away even more resistance. For a more challenging approach, switch things up – place your feet up on the sofa with your hands on the floor and perform the press ups this way.
Triceps dips – Performing dips with a chair that you would normally use a bench for is another great alternative to carry out in your home. Start by sitting on a chair or sofa, with your hands either side of your bottom on the edge. Gently slide off so your arms are straight, and your knees are at a 90 degree angle. Slowly bend the arms, keeping the elbows in tight by your side, and lower down as far as you can. Come back up to the top and repeat.
To make it harder, walk your feet out further and straighten your legs so you’re adding more resistance to the arms. Feeling brave? Grab another chair to put your feet up onto and try this version of the exercise out too.
Hip thrusters – Hip thrusters are a great exercise for your glutes (your bottom) and can be done with or without added weight. Sitting in front of your sofa, lean back so the top of your back, shoulders and arms are resting on the back. Your knees should be bent and feet hip width apart. Pushing your feet into the ground, squeeze your bottom and lift up so that the legs and torso are in a straight line. Slowly return and repeat, making sure to squeeze extra at the top for an added burn! For increased resistance, place a dumbbell or bag of flour across the top of your thighs and repeat the same way.
Top tip: Why not add all these exercises together to make a mini circuit? Complete 10 repetitions of each exercise, rest for 30 seconds then repeat as many times as you like.