Working from home has given us a new lease of life. We have more time for things we enjoy and for doing things that are good for us.
Fitting in a lunchtime exercise routine can have huge benefits for your health, mood and productivity. And with these simple exercise ideas anyone can benefit.
Easy exercises to do at home:
All of these exercises are designed to focus on the whole body, rather than focussing solely on a specific muscle. This will help you make the most of your lunch break and feel the benefits across your whole body.
All of these exercises can be combined however you want. If you want high-intensity exercise, combine them as a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout, rotating between 30 seconds of exercise and 30 seconds of rest. Or you could try each exercise ten times then rest for 1 minute, before repeating with a different exercise.
Give them a go:
Squats target your quadriceps (the front of your thighs) and your glutes. However, they also exercise almost every other muscle group in your body.
The best way to do squats is to start with your feet shoulder width apart, then move as if to sit on a chair. Remember to send your hips backwards and bend at the knees to avoid pressure building up in your lower back. You should be able to see your toes past your knees.
Find a fixed point on the wall, roughly at eye level, to help you keep your balance. This will also help keep your back and neck in a safe position through the movement.
Once you have got to the height of a low chair (with your knees bent at around 90°), press down through your feet and return to standing. You should feel the movement in your quadriceps.
If you are more experienced, you could take the movement lower, remembering to keep your knees in a safe position. To progress these further, you can add in a jump at the top of the movement, but only do this if you have no problems with your knees.
#2 Forward Lunges
Lunges are another classic lower body exercise that works your quadriceps and glutes. And because lunges involve balance, you will use every muscle in your lower body, your core and your back.
Start with your feet again around shoulder width apart. Stride one foot out in front as if to take a step. As your lead foot plants on the floor, begin to bend both knees. Your front foot should remain flat on the floor, while your back foot can start to lift so you are on your tiptoes.
Drop down towards the ground, remembering not to take your knee too far over your toes (if you find this happening, shuffle your front foot further forwards). You should end up with your front leg having about a 90° bend at your knee. Then push back off your front leg and return to standing.
Repeat with your other leg.
To progress these, you can do backwards lunges that require more balance, or even (if you don’t have problems with your knees) lunge jumps, where you switch between each leg by jumping.
Put aside your negative feelings towards push-ups for a moment. They are a great exercise and this technique will help target your pectorals (chest) and your triceps (the back of your upper arm), as well as working into your shoulders, the top of your back and your core to stabilise the movement.
To start, lay on your front flat on the floor. Stretch out your legs and tuck your toes.
Bend your arms so that your thumb is underneath your shoulders and fan out your fingers. Push down through your hands to lift your body up - you should feel the movement in your triceps and your pectorals.
When your arms are straight, return down towards the floor, keeping the tension in your body and especially your core. Try not to let any part of your body drop down first - the aim is for your whole body to reach towards the floor simultaneously. When you reach a few centimetres from the floor, stop and rise again.
If this is too difficult, try keeping your knees on the floor. You will still feel the benefit in your core, back and arms. You can also reduce the range of movement, going not quite so near to the floor.
Committing to regular exercise can be a struggle, but one of the best ways to maintain an exercise routine is to keep it varied. Start out rotating these simple exercises, then progress to adding more challenging - or simply more - exercises. If you struggle to motivate yourself, try working out with a friend or going to an exercise class.