First of all, make sure you follow all the safety tips to avoid any injuries. Remember that none of these exercises should be painful! If it hurts, it probably means that you’re pushing yourself too hard or are not executing the exercise properly. Realign yourself and try again. Take your time. Good luck!
1. Climb stairs as a workout
Wear running shoes to protect your ankles and make sure your stairs are safe, free of objects and not slippery. Walking, running, lunging and jumping up and down stairs can really get your heart pumping! Be creative! Here are a few exercise ideas:
Simple step ups
A full staircase is not necessary; just a few steps will do. To the beat of up tempo music, start by stepping on and off the first step. You can add various movements or hold small weights in your hands to increase resistance and difficulty. Get inspired and try different combinations!
Going the distance
Make it fun and challenging by using every step!
1- Run up as fast as you can and catch your breath on the way down. Another way to increase the intensity is by lifting your knees as high as possible with every step up. Be careful not to miss a step! Use your arms and keep your elbows high. Do 3 sets of 5 minutes each. You should feel the burn and get your heart pumping in no time!
2- Put both feet on the first step and squat. Step onto the next step and repeat until you reach the top. Keep a steady rhythm and maintain good posture: Push your hips back and keep your knees facing slightly outward. Contract your abdominal muscles to protect your back and keep your upper body strong. Do 3 sets of 5 minutes. This exercise will raise your heart rate AND strengthen your glutes.
2. Tone your muscles in the dining room (or bathroom!)
Use a wall
Learn to multitask! Exercise while you're doing something around the house, like brushing your teeth or watching TV. Use a wall to lean onto and tone your abs and glutes in just a few minutes!
1- The invisible chair: Place your back against the wall and bend your legs until your knees form a 90-degree angle. Your hips should be levelled with your knees and your feet should be aligned with your knees. Contract your abs and keep your back straight. Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat 3 to 5 times. You might feel a burning sensation in your thighs, that's good! It means the exercise is working! Remember to keep breathing throughout the exercise.
2- Standing push-ups: Face the wall with your arms outstretched. Place your hands on the wall at shoulder height, a little wider than shoulder width, with your fingers facing the ceiling. Take a step back so you’re leaning forward slightly. You’re ready to go! Inhale and bend your arms until you’re very close to the wall. Exhale while pushing back to return to your initial position. This is a great exercise to strengthen your pectoral muscles. Do 3-5 sets of 20 standing push-ups.
Use a chair
Chairs aren’t just for sitting down! Try these three exercises for strengthening your abs.
Start by gently strengthening the core: Facing the chair, put both hands on the seat and stretch your legs out as to form a plank. Keep your back and legs straight. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times. Don’t forget to breathe! Planking on a chair is easier than directly on the floor, which makes it a great exercise for beginners.
Second chair exercise: Start by sitting down. Hold the chair seat with both hands for support, and bring both knees up to your chest. Exhale during this motion. To avoid putting too much stress on your back, execute 3 sets of 10 reps at a slow-to-moderate pace.
Third chair exercise: Lie down on your back in front of a chair, and put both feet up on the chair. Your feet should be slightly apart and your arms should rest along the sides of your body. While contracting your abs, lift your hips towards the ceiling and hold for 30 seconds. You can also challenge yourself and add resistance by moving your hips up and down 30 times. Feel the burn in your glutes! Do 3-5 reps.
Facing the mirror
Improve your balance while brushing your teeth! Stand on your right foot for 90 seconds. Repeat on the left foot. This exercise will strengthen your ankles and make the 2-minute recommended brushing time more interesting.
3. Stretch it out in the living room
Use a wall
1- Lie down on your back and rest your legs against the wall. Your knees should ideally be at a 90-degree angle, but don’t worry if you can’t achieve a perfect 90 degrees. Your flexibility will improve with practice. With your feet flexed (toes up), bring your legs towards you, arms reaching behind the knees and hold. Breathe slowly. This stretching pose will relax your glutes and hamstrings. Hold for at least 1 minute.
2- Standing up, rest your right hand on the wall for stability. Bring your left foot towards your buttocks and hold your ankle with your left hand. If you can't hold your ankle, you can hold your foot, but make sure not to pull or overextend your foot. Keep your back straight. Breathe and hold for at least 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
3- With both hands against the wall, bring one foot behind you to stretch the calf. Your front leg should be bent and your back leg completely stretched out, with both heels touching the floor. Feel the stretch in your back leg! Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.
Use any sturdy piece of furniture
1- Stand up and rest one foot on a chair, couch, or table. Position your body to keep your leg stretched out. Keeping your back straight and your abs contracted, lean towards your leg. Hold for 30 seconds then switch sides. This will stretch your hamstrings nicely.
2- Sit with your back straight and put your right ankle on your left knee. Keep your abs contracted and lengthen your spine. You will feel a nice stretch in your right buttock. Hold for 30 seconds then switch sides. This stretch releases tension in the lower back.
3- Sit with your back straight. From your hips, turn your body to the right. Put your left hand on your right knee. Use your right hand to grab the back or the arm of the chair and pull slightly. Don't forget to contract your abs, and breathe! With every exhale, relax your shoulders and stretch a little deeper. Hold, breathe in and out 3 times. Repeat on the other side.
Use water bottles as dumbbells
Any bottle filled with liquid will do! Abracadabra, you’ve got dumbbells now. You can fill them halfway if they feel too heavy.
Tone your arms
1- Biceps: With a bottle in each hand, arms at your side, flex to bring the bottles to your shoulders and back down to your side. Do the movement slowly for increased resistance. Keep your back straight and your shoulders back. Keep your elbows close to the sides of your body. Do 3 sets of 20 reps. You can use both arms at the same time or alternate right and left.
2- Triceps: Hold the bottles extended behind you. Your arms should be slightly bent and the palms of your hands should face your body. Lift your arms as if you're trying to reach the ceiling behind you. You should feel a slight contraction of your triceps. Do 3 sets of 20 reps.
Hold a bottle in each hand. Keep your feet firmly on the ground, hip-width apart. Place your arms to your sides. With your palms facing down, raise each arm without going past shoulder height. Your arms should be extended, slightly bent at the elbows. Do 3 sets of 20 reps. A variation of this exercise is to do the same movement, but with your arms extended in front of you. You should feel your shoulders burn!
Hold a bottle in each hand and stand with your feet hip-width apart. Stretch your arms and bring them up in front of your chest, palms facing each other. Bending your arms, pull the bottles towards your chest. Keep your elbows down and your chest up. This will activate your back muscles, especially between your shoulder blades. Inhale as you pull, and exhale as you push. Do 3 sets of 20 reps.
Improve your flexibility with a belt or scarf
It can be difficult to hold stretching postures if you’re not very flexible. A scarf or a belt can help bridge the gap.
Stretch your calves and hamstrings
Lie down on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Put a belt or a scarf under your right foot. Stretch your leg towards the ceiling and use your makeshift strap to get a deeper stretch. Keep your lower back glued to the floor. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides. Keep breathing, and try to stretch a little deeper with each exhale.
Stretch your quads
Lie down on your stomach and wrap the belt under your ankle to pull your heel towards your buttocks. Make sure both of your hip bones are touching the floor while keeping your back straight. Hold for 30 seconds then switch sides.