What Makes a Good Home Exercise Routine?
Posted on 22nd January 2021
Who would have thought that nearly a year on from the first lockdown we would still be in the same situation with the gyms closed and having to resort to home workouts… AGAIN?!
Engaging in home workouts and keeping ourselves motivated to stick to our fitness plans is undoubtedly difficult. However, as well all know, exercise is important to our health and vital for our immune system. Exercise can reduce the risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer by up to 50% and can lower the risk of early death by up to 30%. It has also been found that physical activity can boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality, and energy - to name just a few advantages.
We all know we should probably be exercising more. So how can we make this happen?
How Often Should I Exercise?
The American College of Sports Medicine states that “all healthy adults aged 18-65 years old should participate in moderate intensity physical activity for a minimum of 30 minutes, 5 days per week, or vigorous intensity aerobic activity for a minimum of 20 minutes, 3 days per week.”
This is a great measurement of how often to exercise when you’re fit and healthy, but if you’re starting out, it’s important to remember that every little helps. Get yourself into a routine first, even if it’s a small one - and build it up.
What Exercise Can I Do at Home?
Simply going for a walk around the neighbourhood is often enough for inactive people or those who are pushed for time due to work commitments. However, this can often not be enough to maintain a healthy lifestyle, so the following factors need to be taken into account.
Activity Types and Levels
To avoid reaching a fitness plateau, aim for a combination of these factors into your exercise routine.
Most commonly referred to as cardio, this activity elevates your heart rate which results in faster breathing, releasing more oxygen into your blood which is delivered to your muscles and lungs. This can include fast walking, jogging, and cycling.
You could also include high intensity interval training, which is basically performing an exercise e.g., jump squats, high knees or jumping jacks, for a short burst and then resting for a short period of time before the next burst of exercise. Google HIT training for more information on this.
Strength training can be difficult if you have limited equipment at home. However, body weight exercises can be equally beneficial in assisting weight loss and increasing bone strength e.g., squats, lunges, press ups etc. Don’t forget that you don’t have to lift huge weights. Holding a baked bean can while doing arm exercises is a simple add-on you can make.
Having a strong core can reduce injury risk, improve posture, and will improve form and technique in many exercises. These exercises can include planks, dead bugs, superman, and the most common of all core exercises, sit ups or crunches.
Stretching, mobility, and flexibility is a vital part of any exercise routine. It can improve posture, range of motion in the joints and releases any tension in the muscles. It’s the slowest and most painful part of any workout, but it can reduce risk of injuries and can be enjoyable, particularly when combined with breathing exercises as in yoga or Pilates.
As we age, our balance decreases, which results in a higher likelihood of trips and falls. Balancing exercises can help strengthen the body and ties In with core strength. Incorporating single limb work into your exercise routine will help with this.
Top Tips for Home Workouts
YouTube has thousands of workouts that can be done at home with minimal equipment. Most are 30 minutes to an hour long and will include all of the factors stated above. Home workouts can become boring and repetitive so use this time to try different things - for example, the app Couch to 5k is a perfect tool if you want to start running, or try a beginner’s Pilates or Yoga Class.
A balanced workout includes a warm-up (to prevent injury, improve flexibility and reduce soreness) and a cool down (to help return your body to its normal state).
The routine should include all of the factors stated above.
Schedule a time where you will work out, ideally the same time every other day or every week so it will become a routine.
Give yourself time to rest. Having rest days is vital as your muscles will need time to recover.
Start slow and gradually build up momentum. Aim for at least 30 minutes per day and then gradually increase this.
Make sure you’re wearing the correct clothing. Ditch the pjs and put on your gym clothes. Avoid exercising in your socks; wear suitable footwear.
For more advice, contact a therapist at Fire&Earth, where we’ll be more than happy to help.
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