Staying fit at home
Keeping fit doesn’t mean that you have to spend hours in the gym (although, if you’d like to be in with the chance of winning a free four month membership courtesy of Sport Brighton, click here), you can stay active even at home.
Third year Sport and Exercise Science student Ben has written this guest blog for us featuring three great exercises that you can spend 20 minutes doing at home which he also shows you how to do in the video below.
It’s important that when you’re doing these exercises you are doing them on a flat surface with enough space around you to move. If you’ve got long hair, tie it up so you don’t get it caught on anything. Playing music can help to keep a rhythm when exercising so put on your favourite playlist.
When down on the ground, set your hands at a distance that is slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
Your hands should be angled in a way that feels comfortable to you. For me, my hands are set up so that my middle finger points straight up and away from me. You could turn your hands out slightly, or slightly inwards, whatever feels most comfortable on your joints.
Think of your body as a straight line from the top of your head down through your heels.
Your bum shouldn’t be sticking way up in the air or sagging.
If you have a problem getting the proper form with your body, clench your bum and then tighten your abs. Your core will be engaged and your body should be in a straight line from feet to shoulders (with a natural curve in your back). If you’ve been doing push ups incorrectly, this might be a big change for you.
Refrain from locking out your elbows at the top of the press up, instead complete each rep just before lockout to save your elbow joints and keep tension on your muscles!
The setup for the squat is simple.
Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips. Your toes should be pointed slightly outward – about five to 20 degrees outward.
Look straight ahead and pick a spot on the wall in front of you. You’ll want to look at this spot the entire time you squat, not looking down at the floor or up at the ceiling.
For a bodyweight squat, I put my arms straight out in front of me, parallel to the ground to act as a counterbalance.
As you initiate the movement, breathe in, keep your spine in a neutral position and initiate the movement by breaking at the hips first, followed by the knees. Push your knees out so the knees go over the feet.
Squat down until your hip joint is lower than your knee.
On the way up, breathe out, keep your knees out and tracing over the feet just as you did on the way down.
Think about where your weight is on your feet. It should be on the heels and mid foot of your feet, as if you were glued to the ground. You should be able to wiggle your toes the entire movement (though that’s not a part of squatting!).
This is one the most common abdominal exercises, it primarily works the rectus abdominis muscle (often referred to as the abs).
The crunch begins by curling the shoulders towards the pelvis with the hands placed upon the chest, simply rise up until you feel your shoulder blades off the floor and pause for a moment engaging the abs.
When I’m using the crunches I think of it as if I’m trying to give my abs cramp.
Remember not to wrench your neck forward, pick a spot on the wall that is level with your eye line and focus on this as you crunch, if you lose sight of this as you crunch you’re wrenching your neck.
Don’t come up to far and excessively round the back and don’t forget to breathe throughout (it’s easier done than you would think).
Did you know?
A rep (repetition) is one complete motion of an exercise. A set is a group of consecutive repetitions. For example, you can say, “I did two sets of ten reps of squats.” This means that you did ten consecutive squats, rested, and then did another ten squats.
Beginners should work towards three sets of ten reps for each exercise, three times a week. As you train, you’ll notice the reps may become easier over time as long as you do them correctly. Remember it’s not the number of reps you can do, but the quality of the reps that count!
Combine these exercises with walking more and eating healthier meals and you’ll notice a huge difference in your health and energy levels.
Watch Ben’s full video below
Remember, before doing exercises like these or taking part in any physical exercise it’s important to ensure you’re in a safe environment with no safety hazards such as wires, objects or slippery surfaces, for instance. To reduce and avoid injury, check with your doctor before beginning any fitness programme or joining a gym. By performing these exercises, you’re doing so at your own risk.