HealthAgenda

Physical Health

Home workout routines: 5 easy exercises you can do at home

You don’t need to play sport, join a fancy gym or invest in equipment to exercise. Developing a home workout routine has never been easier.

If you’re at home and trying to meet Australia’s weekly fitness guidelines (150 - 300 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity or 75–150 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity), here’s some good news. According to Dr David Hughes, chief medical officer of the Australian Institute of Sport, “It’s not just organised sport that delivers physical, psychological and emotional health benefits; it’s just being physically active.”

We’ve all been spending a lot more time at home recently, which has forced us to think about how we’re maintaining our health and fitness in a new environment. But whether you’re stuck for ideas, struggling to make time, perhaps a new parent or a time-poor professional, with the right program and basic equipment, your fitness goals can be realised at home. And the rewards are plenty, from saving travel time and money to enjoying flexible training hours.

Try these five easy at-home workouts.

HIIT at home

High-Intensity Interval Training involves short sessions, from a few seconds to four minutes of intense activity, with short rests in between. YouTube has lots of free sessions and you can also look for HIIT apps including seven-minute workouts. Do your research though and be aware of fads and expensive subscription costs down the line.

Health benefits: “You get more bang for your buck with HIIT,” says personal trainer Amy Mitchell. “You can achieve better results, improve fitness and see faster fat loss in a shorter period than long, slow forms of exercise.” Workouts are easy to follow and specifically designed for exercising at home.

Strength and resistance training exercises

Amy recommends a simple routine of squats, push-ups, sit-ups (coming all the way up) or crunches (halfway up), lunges, tricep dips and step-ups. “You can also use household items as weights to make things a little more challenging,” she adds, “like cans of food or backpacks filled with household objects.” Create workout stations and use steps for tricep dips or the backyard for lunges.

Health benefits: “As we age, we lose muscle mass. In order to stay strong, mobile, independent and avoid injury, strength training is crucial,” Amy says. It also keeps your metabolism firing to help you avoid weight gain as you age. Resistance training will also increase your bone density and strength, reducing the risk of osteoporosis.

Virtual bootcamp and training

“Clients love the flexibility and convenience of being able to work out at home,” Amy says. Costs start from $20–$25 a week. For free coaching, check what your state offers. NSW, for example, offers 10 tailored phone-coaching sessions over a six-month period.

Health benefits: Virtual bootcamp is a fun and challenging way to improve cardio and strength. It gives you the flexibility to get fit at home with no gym required and keeps you accountable and motivated. Amy uses live streaming to stay connected with clients when training together isn’t an option.

Skipping with a rope

Skipping-rope workouts are a fun and easy way to get your heart rate up. Jump like you did as a child for a lighter workout or add in the alternate foot jump (boxer style) when you’re feeling confident. Start with 30-second bursts and increase to two minutes as you improve, with short breaks between jumps.

Health benefits: According to the Heart Foundation of Australia, skipping not only helps improve your heart rate and blood pressure, but it will also increase your flexibility, coordination, balance and muscle tone. It’s completely free and can be adapted for all fitness levels.

YouTube yoga

Search YouTube for beginners’ yoga and try a few different forms to find the right one for you. All you need is a mat, comfortable clothes and an open mind.

Health benefits: A low-impact exercise, yoga increases your flexibility, strengthens and tones your body. By concentrating on your breath and body positions, you’ll calm your mind and increase your energy levels.

Whether you enjoy low-impact training or high-intensity cardio routines, keeping fit and healthy can still be fun, free and sustainable under your own roof. If you have any underlying health conditions or you’re new to exercise, talk to your GP first, and consider getting a trainer to help you for the first couple of sessions.

If you're keen to kick start your health journey, Call HCF on 13 13 34 to check whether you qualify for HCF’s Healthy Weight for Life program. Email us at wellbeing@hcf.com.au to find out more.

Words by Samantha Yetzes
First Published May 2020

Related articles

THE BENEFITS OF STRENGTH TRAINING

Should you use free weights or weight machines? We weigh up the options.

IS YOGA IS GOOD FOR YOU?

More people every year are turning to yoga, but are there proven health benefits?

HOW TO REDUCE YOUR RISK OF OSTEOPOROSIS

This bone disease is common in people over 50. Here’s how to keep your bones strong.

STRUGGLING TO STAY FIT? WE’VE GOT SOLUTIONS

Accredited exercise physiologist Caitlin Reid breaks down your work out barriers.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

This communication contains information which is copyright to The Hospitals Contribution Fund of Australia Limited (HCF). It should not be copied, disclosed or distributed without the authority of HCF. Except as required by law, HCF does not represent, warrant and/or guarantee that this communication is free from errors, virus, interception or interference. All reasonable efforts have been taken to ensure the accuracy of material contained on this website. It’s not intended that this website be comprehensive or render advice. HCF members should rely on authoritative advice they seek from qualified practitioners in the health and medical fields as the information provided on this website is general information only and may not be suitable to individual circumstances or health needs. Please check with your health professional before making any dietary, medical or other health decisions as a result of reading this website.