Social-distancing can be challenging and isolating. It’s very easy to fall out of your physical exercise routine when you are not able to leave your home, and have very limited access to the outdoors. Even when relegated to the confines of your home, whether due to health or other reasons, it is extremely beneficial and helpful to stick to a routine, to keep your mind and body engaged.
Here are some easy in-home exercises that you can perform daily to help keep you active!
1. Vertical Mountain Climbers
Method: Stand tall, raise one leg and opposite arm at the same time, alternating with each repetition. These are perfect for toning muscle. It’s low impact, so it works well for individuals who need to engage in low impact workouts. Aim for 3 sets of 14.
2. Lateral Side-Step with Arm Raise (or jumping jacks)
Method: Standing tall, take a lateral step and raise arms at the same time, step back to center and repeat in the opposite direction. For a higher impact, try traditional jumping jacks if you are able to jump. Aim for 3 sets of 15.
Method: Lay face-down on a cushioned surface, a mat or carpet/rug work great (not your bed, you need the support of a floor). Extend your arms above your head, and legs stretched down. In-hale and prepare by stretching arms and legs in opposite directions (like you are trying to get your toes and fingertips as far away from each other as possible), and as you exhale, lift and raise your legs (from your glutes without bending your knees), and straight arms. Lower arms and legs to the ground and repeat. This exercise strengthens core, glutes and back extensor muscles, as well as helps with spinal curvature to lengthen and stretch the spine. Aim for 3 sets of 10-12.
Method: This is a terrific exercise because it can be modified for all levels. You can start by doing a push-up against a wall, if this is too easy, progress to kneeling push-ups with hands elevated on a low stool or bend, then progress to kneeling with hands on the floor, lastly, start from a full plank position (note *exercise 9 below). Start by kneeling on a mat or floor and bring your feet together behind you. Slowly bend forward to place your palms flat on the mat, positioning your hands shoulder-width apart with your fingers facing forward. Bring body weight forward until your shoulders are directly over your hands. Stiffen your stomach, back & shoulders by contracting your abdominal muscles. Slowly lower your body towards the floor while maintaining a rigid torso and head aligned with your spine. Do not allow your low back to sag or your hips to shift up during. Continue to lower yourself until your chest or chin touch the mat/floor. Lastly, press upwards through your arms while maintaining a stiff torso and head aligned with your spine. Continue pressing until the arms are fully extended at the elbows. Aim for 3 sets of 10-12 push-ups.
5. Side Lying Hip Adduction
Method: Lay down on your side on a cushioned surface on the floor with your legs extended, feet together. Have your lower arm bent and positioned under your head for support while the upper arm rests on the hip on top. Ensure that your hips and shoulder are aligned vertically to the floor. As you exhale, raise the lower leg off the floor while keeping the knee extended and the foot in a neutral position. Keep raising the leg until you cannot any more. For lowering the leg, inhale and slowly return the raised leg to your starting position in a controlled manner. After completing 10 on one side, roll over and repeat with the opposite leg. Aim for 3 sets of 10 per leg.
6. Side Lying Hip Abduction
Method: Lay down on your side on a cushioned surface on the floor with your legs extended, feet together. Have your lower arm bent and positioned under your head for support while the upper arm rests on the hip on top. Ensure that your hips and shoulder are aligned vertically to the floor. As you exhale, raise the upper leg off the floor while keeping the knee extended and the foot in a neutral position. Keep raising the leg until you cannot any more. For lowering the leg, inhale and slowly return the raised leg to your starting position in a controlled manner. After completing 10 on one side, roll over and repeat with the opposite leg. Aim for 3 sets of 10 per leg.
7. Standing Calf Raises
Method: Start by standing approximately 10-12 inches away from a wall, face the wall with your feet about hip-width apart. Extend your arms to place your palms on the wall at shoulder height.
As you exhale, with control slowly lift your heels off the floor keeping your knees extended and without rotating your feet. Use your hands on the wall to support your body and pause at the raised position briefly. Then, inhale and slowly lower your heels back on the floor. Aim for 3 sets of 10.
Method: Lay on your back on a mat on the floor in a bent-knee position with your feet flat on the floor, heels directly below hips, with feet hip-width apart, and toes facing away from you, slightly raise the toes towards the ceiling. Start by contracting your ab muscles to flatten your low back into the floor, push the belly button down, be sure to maintain the ab muscle contraction throughout the exercise. As you exhale, lift your hips upwards off the floor into extension by contracting the glutes (butt muscles). At the same time press your heels into the floor for more stability. Avoid pushing your hips too high as may over arch your low back. Squeeze glutes at the highest point. To lower down, inhale and slowly lower hips back to the ground in the starting position. Aim for 3 sets of 15.
Method: Start by laying on your stomach, have elbows close to your sides and directly under shoulders, palms facing down. Contract your thighs to extend your legs and flex ankles (pull toes towards your shins). Contract your core and abs to stiffen the torso, draw the belly button up and in, ensure the back is flat and the abdominal wall is tight and engaged. Lift the entire torso off the floor keeping your torso and legs stiff. Avoid any dipping down in your hips down, or hiking your butt and hips up in the air. Be careful not to shrug your shoulder and keep them directly over your elbows. Continue to breathe while holding this position for 10+ seconds. While maintaining the engaged stiff torso, lower your body back towards the floor before relaxing the muscles. Aim for 3 sets, and increase the duration of the upward hold as you progress. ** You should not experience any pain in the low back with this movement, stop the exercise immediately if you do.
Method: Stand with feet slightly wider than hip distance, have toes pointed slightly outward, stand with chest up and proud, and your spine in a neutral position. Keep body weight in your heels and the balls of your feet, you should be able to wiggle your toes. Keep your entire body tight with the core flexed like you’re bracing to be punched in the gut. Breathe deeply into your stomach, hinge at your hips and push your butt and hips back like you are preparing to sit in a chair, keep body weight back, do not lean forward into your toes. Keep sending your hips backwards and downwards toward the ground as your knees begin to bend. As you squat down, focus on keeping your knees in line with your feet. Make sure your knees do not move inward toward each other. As you raise to stand, drive your knees outward (away from each other) the same way you did on the way down, and squeeze your glutes (butt) at the top to make sure you’re using your glutes. Beginners should aim to lower hips about as far as a seat or bench, gently tap glutes on the bench, then quickly raise to standing.