Easy ways to get fit at home

Not everyone likes the idea of going to a fitness club or exercise class in order to get fit. For some it’s the cost involved, while others may feel a bit confronted or uncomfortable in a gym situation with lots other people around. Then there is the question of special equipment or clothing that might be required and the time it takes to travel to and from.

The good news is that you don’t really have to leave the comfort and convenience of your own home to stay fit. There are opportunities all around you at home that not only give you an effective workout, but can be enjoyable to do so that you stay motivated to get into a healthy routine.

Make a chair your exercise chum

That’s right; the humble dining chair can be a multi-purpose exercise tool. You could even do this if you are working at the computer. It’s especially good for those who have limited mobility or balance issues, or for those starting from low baseline fitness.

From a sitting position with your tailbone well back, your back held vertical and your feet flat on the floor you can do:

  • Hip marching – hold the sides of the chair and simply alternate lifting each leg as far up as you comfortably can.
  • Upper body twist – cross your arms over your chest and hold your shoulders. Hips straight and twist to each side as far as possible, holding each side for 5 seconds.
  • Ankle stretch – hold the sides of the chair, raise one leg to horizontal and point the toe away from you and then back towards you.
  • Sit to stand – move to the edge of the chair with feet apart. Lean forward slightly and then stand up slowly using only your legs, while you keep looking forward. Once you are upright, sit back down slowly and repeat the process a few times.

Try using a chair to do simple stretch and twist exercises - How do you like this fun video! 

Skip the gym and skip at home instead

For those who are a little more agile, you can re-discover the childhood joy of a skipping rope. It’s great for cardio fitness, bone strength and flexibility.

The average person will burn up to 200 calories during 15 minutes of skipping, so it really can give you a great workout in your lounge room or on the porch with the simplest of equipment.

You can start with short 15 second bursts of skipping followed by marching on the spot and then build up the skipping period and intensity as you get fitter. It's important to have strong pelvic muscles when skipping. Read more in our 10-step guide to strengthening your pelvic floor

What’s on TV?

It’s often derided as a major culprit for inactivity in our modern day society, but why not turn the TV from a cardio killer to a fitness friend? Simply park an exercise bike, treadmill or rowing machine in front of it, turn on your favourite show and away you go.

You could even get a DVD set of your favourite TV series and use it as an ‘exercise timer’ by staying on your exercise apparatus for the full episode length. It’s a great motivation to keep up your regime and you won’t even feel the time going by.

Another option is to get some expert help from training DVD’s, so that you can take a Pilates, yoga or even a Zumba class in your own lounge room.

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Why leave all the fun to the kids

Technology has opened up wonderful ways to combine fun and fitness with gaming consoles, such as the Nintendo Wii. It’s not just for the kids either; it’s suitable for any age and simply operates by plugging a console into your TV.

Game options such as Wii Sports operate via a hand-held remote control that allows you to play interactively with the screen. Before you know it, you could be playing tennis, golf, baseball or bowling without leaving your lounge room. It’s a lot of fun, so you’ll be addicted to exercise before you know it.

Wii Fit is another game option that can let you take things a step further with personalised fitness programs and a range of instructional exercise routines, all based around a touchpad placed on the floor to control your interactivity with the screen.

Having a ball while you get fit

An exercise ball is a fabulously versatile piece of equipment for home exercise. It can be used in so many ways to build core strength, improve balance and build strength and flexibility. Start by obtaining a correctly sized ball for your size – one you can sit on with your thighs parallel to the ground.

Investing in a yoga ball is an easy and low-cost way to improve your flexibility, strength and balance.

Ball exercises include:

  • Sitting upright in a chair and simply squeezing the ball between your arms with the pressure going through your fingers.
  • Improve your balance and core by simply sitting on the ball with your feet out front flat on the floor, then gradually lifting one leg at a time with the knee bent at 90 degrees while using your core muscles to keep your balance.
  • For the back - lie face down over the ball with it sitting between your sternum and navel and lifting the leg and arm of the same side so that they are parallel to the floor, while keeping balance.
  • Super squats can be done by placing the ball between the small of your back and the wall and rolling down. Try to position yourself so that your knees are directly above the toes once your thighs are parallel with the floor.

Doing things safely

As with any exercise program, get some good medical advice before you go too far, so you can safely have fun with fitness at home while keeping within the limits that are right for you.

What do you do around the house to keep fit? Let us know in the comments below.