It was the Roman philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero who said “it is exercise alone that supports the spirits, and keeps the mind in vigour.” At Central Health in these trying times we thought it would be useful to put together a guide to exercising if you are confined to your home. With gyms closed, and with many people not having access to gym equipment in their home, the good news is with a little ingenuity and with minimal equipment you can still maintain your strength and fitness levels.
Recent strength training studies have demonstrated that strength gains can still be made with lighter weights/resistance. However higher numbers of repetitions were required. We’ve put together these half-dozen exercises to keep your mind and body in good shape.
Squatting Home Exercise
Great for glute, thigh muscles and core strength. Start with 8 reps per set, 3 sets. Over the coming weeks increase gradually to 20 reps and 3-4 sets.
If you find this exercise too difficult or uncomfortable an option is to perform a squat going half-way down or see here for an alternate easier version with support in-front.
Alternatively, if you find this exercise too easy you should add some weight. If you don’t have weight’s equipment, household items can be used, e.g. put some heavy books into a ruck sack (weigh on the scales for accuracy) aim for 5-10kg.
Knee Extension By Wall Home Exercise
A whole-body exercise, especially challenging for the arms, core and quads. A useful exercise for those suffering from hip or knee pain – as often this will be comfortable to perform when other exercises are not.
Easy version do 3 sets of 10.
Medium level build up from 15-20 reps – x3 sets.
Tough – repeat same exercise – but one leg at a time.
Hip Thrusts Home Exercise
Hip thrusts have been shown by research to be the most effective exercise to target your glutes. Good glute function has an important role injury prevention/rehab in a host of back and lower limb conditions. In addition it is also a key muscle group to train for increased athletic performance. Aim for 10-20 reps, x3-4 sets.
If you find this too easy? Instead try the single leg version. Start with 8 reps per set gradually building up to 20.
Shoulder Press Home Exercise
A good exercise to maintain upper limb strength and a part of neck and shoulder rehabilitation. Put some heavy books in a ruck-sack to weigh 5-10kg. Hold the bag to your chest, before then pushing the bag directly over-head. Repeat x15-20 times x3-4 sets.
Straight Arm Front Raises Home Exercise
Again, use a ruck sack filled with books for resistance. Depending on your strength place 2-5kgs of books in the bag. Hold the bag by your side, before lifting the bag with a straight elbow so that your arm is parallel with the floor. Aim for 3-4 sets of 10-15.
Running At Home
2019 research in the British Journal of Sport Medicine struck down the long-held belief that ‘running is bad for your knees’. The study involving 80 odd middle marathon runners found that if anything runners’ knee were in better condition rather than worse after completing a marathon. Research regarding osteoarthritis (OA) is ongoing, but we are moving away from the concept that OA is ‘wear & tear’ disease.
To maintain healthy joint cartilage, a steady and appropriate amount of load is required for joint maintenance (ie the cartilage is ‘nourished’ by the compression and then de-compression provided by activities such as running).
For those working from home, but not quarantined, this period provides an ideal opportunity to get out and enjoy some extra runs in the park. For the beginner runner a ‘couch to 5k’ program allows you get into running loading your joints too much too soon.
If you are in self isolation (and of course otherwise not un-well) you can get your running hit in the garden – 20m shuttle runs at 80% speed x10, x5 sets.
If you are completely confined indoors, try running on the spot at top speed for 60s, take 60s rest. Repeat this 5 times (this is tough!)
Online Physio Fitness & Pilates
If you feel you would benefit from a bit more structure and expert guidance with your workouts we now offer one-to-one physio fitness and pilates sessions online with our new video consultation service.
As with any exercise, it’s an unfortunate fact of life that injuries will occasionally occur when exercising at home. To help support you through any new or existing injury we also provide a range of online physio services. Find our more about our new physio by video consultations here.