10 ways to keep fit when you’re stuck indoors
10 ways to keep fit when you’re stuck indoors
Exercising at home is not a new concept, but, for most people, it is a seasonal one. However in light of the coronavirus epidemic, many more of us will find ourselves doing indoor exercises a lot more over the coming weeks.
When we think of exercising for weight loss, toning or strength building, generally, we think of being outdoors. But sometimes, like when the country is plagued by a highly contagious virus or covered in a blanket of ice and snow, it just isn’t an option.
Humans are brilliant at finding solutions to problems (mostly) and there are now many ways you can maintain a good level of fitness without leaving the house.
This article obviously won’t help you much if you’re an aspiring pole-vaulter looking to put in the practice, but for most of us, managing our health through a few different home exercises will be sufficient to keep us in shape until it’s safe to go outdoors again.
Here’s exercise options you can do with a few pieces of equipment if you have them, and with no equipment if you don’t.
10 great exercises you can do at home
1 - Push-ups
One of the best exercises to stay in shape and keep your chest muscles pumped in the comfort of your own home is the push-up. Lay out your yoga mat, if you have one, or find a large space on the floor and adopt the plank position so your body is supported off the ground by your arms and feet. Then bring your body-weight down to the floor and push up again. You should, and very quickly will, feel the burn in your pectoral muscles, arms and shoulders. It’s a fantastic exercise for toning your body so when the sun shines and the air clears again you can emerge from your abode looking better than when you went in.
2 - Dumbbell Squats
Legs are often overlooked by gym-novices as they are hardly show-piece muscles and they take commitment to build. But just because you’re stuck indoors, don’t forget about the most powerful muscles in your body which give you stability and power in basically every movement you do. The dumbbell squat is our home-based leg exercise of choice as it’s a great compound workout which works a huge range of muscles to improve everyday functionality. The move can be done with one dumbbell or two, depending on what you have available. To perform the move, stand up straight, holding the dumbbells in each hand. Simply bend your legs with your heels planted until your hips go lower than your knees. Once you reach the bottom, push up with your legs until you're in the starting standing position once again.
3 - HIIT workout
One issue associated with not being able to leave the house is getting the heart racing in a confined space. When most people think of cardio-vascular exercise, they think of running. But with the evolution of YouTube HIIT workouts, which demand people exercise hard and fast for a short time with rest intervals that are even shorter, the cardio benefits of running are coming home.
There are a huge range of HIIT workouts available on YouTube so it can be hard to find the instructor or workout routine that’s right for you. Here’s our take on HIIT Workouts to get your started. It’s great to add in some simple pieces of exercise equipment to make targeted routines more difficult and increase their effectiveness.
4 - Plank
‘A plank a day keeps excess body fat away’, is not a saying. But it should be, because it really works. Prioritised by athletes across the sporting spectrum, laying still in the plank position and letting your muscles twitch themselves strong is a great way to build core strength, reduce body fat from the stomach area and give you hugely improved overall fitness.
5 - Jumping Jacks
It’s part of most HIIT workout routines and a great way to warm up the body before strength training, jumping jacks boost full-body explosive power and best of all, they are done in one spot. Plus, when done properly for just a few seconds, they really get the heart racing, which we are big fans of here at Mirafit.
To do this exercise, stand up straight, preferably in a place with high ceilings and away from low-hanging lightbulbs. Then bring your arms up above your head and your legs out to the side, shoulder-width apart. You’ll soon feel the effects as you exercise. Remember the faster you go, the more you’ll get out of it.
6 - Medicine Ball Woodchoppers
When it’s bitingly cold outside, it can be hard to find opportunities to twist again, like you may have done summer. This is where the Medicine Ball woodchopper movement comes in, to maximise body mobility and massively boost capacity to effectively accomplish everyday movements.
To do this exercise, grab a medicine ball and hold it out in front of your chest. Then twist your body and bend your knees, bringing the ball down to the side of your toes. Then stand up, twisting your body as you extend your legs, bringing the ball up to the shoulder on the other side of your body. The exercise works the full body and forces muscle contractions in less-frequently used muscle groups.
7 - Lunges
Balance is not the sexiest attribute in the fitness world, hence you won’t see too much about it on Instagram. But it is crucial for just about everything you do. And, if you have poor balance, there are ways you can change all that by making a concerted effort to do so. There are few better exercises to make a change than the simple lunge. It’ll also build leg muscle, improve muscle extension and help your running form when you get back to running outdoors again.
To do this exercise, stand up straight, with a few metres of clear floorspace in front of you. Then step your leg forwards, leaving one leg trailing. Bend both legs to 90 degree angles so your weight is resting on your front leg with the rear knee touching the floor to stabilise your body. You can add weight to this exercise to increase leg muscles and force the core to work harder when keeping you balanced.
8 - Glute Bridges
Being cooped up indoors generally involves a lot of sitting down and weight can quickly shift south to increase the size of our gluteus maximuses, and not in a way we might want. Exercising the glutes then is brilliant to keep muscles tight and ensure you have power in your mobility as well as helping alleviate tightness in the hip flexors.
To do the glute bridge, lay flat on your back, with your legs bent and feet flat on the floor. Then push your hips up, with your weight held on your shoulders and your feet. Your glutes should be as high up towards the ceiling as you can push them. Hold the exercise for a few seconds before bringing your hips down towards the ground.
9 - Reverse Fly
Working the back muscles or the back of the shoulders can be difficult at home because, in general, we don’t usually have things to hang from or power racks to push up from. The reverse fly, then, is your friend in this case as it works exactly those muscles, stretching your posterior deltoids right out.
To do the exercise, you need a couple of dumbbells, which you’ll hold in either hand. Stand up straight and bend over at the waist with your back flat and parallel to the floor. Let the dumbbells hang downwards from your body, with your arms only slightly bent. To complete the exercise pull each weight out to the side of your body, like the regular fly, and lower the weights back down together to the starting position. You should feel the exertion of the move on your upper back muscles and shoulders.
10 - Yoga
Not so much a specific movement as a series of exercises, yoga has gone mainstream in the past decade. A growing number of us are waking up to the idea that we must retain flexibility throughout our lives to prevent injury and ensure ease of movement and independence later on.
To get started on the mat, pull up a yoga YouTube video – we suggest Yoga with Adrienne – and follow instructions. There is such a huge range of exercises you can do at home, you’ll find something which works for you and keeps you limber. As you progress you can even add additional equipment into your sessions, such as Yoga Blocks.
At Mirafit, we’re all about maintaining health through regular physical activity and our innovative nature means we find ways to work around barriers as they arise. We hope all this is useful for those rare occasions when you simply can’t leave the house and will at least keep you fit, healthy and occupied until normal service is resumed.