Oh yes, it is that time of year again. New year, new me! But what if you don’t want a completely new you? What if you don’t want to spend a fortune on a gym membership you won’t use past January, and don’t want to put a load of stress and money into a harsh workout routine you won’t remember come next Christmas?
We’ve pulled together some tips on how to exercise at home, and advice on how to get out and into your surroundings. For free. Whenever and with whoever you want. Work out whilst you’re sitting at your desk, encourage your grandparents to move from their armchair, tire the kids out on a walk, and just do enough to breathe a bit of life into your new year without completely emptying your energy levels (and savings account).
Working Out At Home
There are a number of exercises and stretches you can do in various parts of your home whenever you have the time. Here are a few home workout examples you could try at your own pace and comfort level.
Using the wall / doorway
Chest Stretch - Stood up in a doorway. Do a lunge in the doorway, with your arms on the doorframe so that your elbows are a bit lower than your shoulders, then slowly lean into the lunge so your chest comes forward. Hold this for around 30 seconds, then slowly return to a standing position.
Wall Push Ups - Stand in front of a wall. When you’re in front of your chosen wall, take a step back. Then place your hands out onto the wall so you’re leaning against it, keep your feet where they are but lift your heels up. Then slowly bend your elbows and press your body against the wall, and then push back up into your original position. Try to do this 12 times.
Using a chair
Tummy Twists - Whilst sat at a swivel chair. Sit in the chair facing your desk, with your hands placed on the desk. Keep your hands on the desk and use them and your tummy muscles to swivel as far to one side as you can, and then to the other. Try to do 12 of these for each side.
Seated Leg Stretches - Whilst sat in any chair. Sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor. Lift one leg until it stretches out in front of you (this should use your thigh muscle to do that), hold it there for a moment, then place your foot back on the floor. Switch and try your other leg. Try to do this 10 times for each leg.
Lying on the bed
Leg Raises - Lie flat on your back on your bed, and put your hands beneath your hips (just to help support). Then lift both legs together, aiming to make them at a right angle to the bed. Slowly bring your legs back down and repeat 12 times.
Lying Twist - Lay flat on your back on the bed again. Lift your left leg up slightly, so that you can hold your knee with your right hand. Then gently use your hand to pull your left knee over your right leg. Keep your right leg straight, and your left arm extended on your left side. Hold this position for a few seconds and then slowly return to a normal lying position. Repeat on the other side.
There’s also a wealth of videos on YouTube for all kinds of exercises you can work into your home workout plan. Try a gentle yoga routine, a heart pumping zumba dance, or you can find ‘Just Dance’ videos that allow you to follow the moves whilst dancing to your favourite tunes.
Getting Out And About
It’s nothing new that getting out and into nature is good for your health. But if it’s not your normal pass time, it can seem a little daunting, or dull, so here are a few tips to help you and the family be excited to tackle the trails.
Find a good spot
If you’re going to the same dull spot you always go to, it will leave you uninspired and unmotivated. Do a little research, and find some more interesting trails and walks near you. For example, in Leicestershire is the Thornton Reservoir, Bradgate Country Park, Shenstone Station, Ashby Woulds Trail and the Medbourne and Nevill Holt Circular.
Don’t give yourself excuses to have to go home, or to never ever return. Take a water bottle with you, or maybe a flask with a hot drink if you’re prone to getting cold. During the winter take extra clothing for your extremities - hats, gloves, scarves, extra socks etc. Even take a plastic bag or two in the car so if your shoes get really muddy, you can cover them in the car, or as you set back into the house.
Invite some company
Walks on your own may not be your thing, so bring someone along. Friends, an aunt, grandparents, or even your neighbour. A little company and some fresh air can do everyone the world of good. Select an appropriate trail (something a little more flat for those a bit less mobile), and off you go. Even a twenty minute walk could make their day, and yours too!
Keep it interesting
A lot of the battle of keeping everyone invested in walking is keeping everyone interested. For kids why not set them a little scavenger hunt, or get them to fill a matchbox with tiny treasures of the trail? This keeps them walking without realising, and learning more about nature too! This isn’t just for kids, you can play a whole host of games to keep all ages occupied. Why not make a walking bingo? Who can find the best stick for walking, can spot three different types of birds, or dogs on their walks, or the quickest to jump in a puddle. You could take pictures and share in family or friends group chats and expand the competition.
Power up the workout
If you’re going for a real workout boost, as well as timing your walks and trying to improve your time or distance, you can set different challenges on different parts of the walk. Are there some steps or a hill you can do a ‘Rocky’ run up? Some stepping stones that you can prance across? If you find a perfect section of flat, open area, up your walk to a jog, or a crazy, no care in the world, run. Just for that tiny section give it your all.
Whatever you do, remember that a little of something is better than nothing. Have fun trying out new things, and keep those pennies in your pocket ready for a bigger purchase.