Winter workouts – Great exercise routines to do at home

Lifestyle Coach and Health Adviser at Bupa UK
22 November 2016

It’s that time of the year when the evenings get darker, the weather gets colder and the idea of hibernating under a blanket might seem very appealing. If you can’t face the chill this winter, exercising indoors could be the answer to beat that winter slump.

Here are five exercise routines for you to try at home!

Man doing yoga on mat

Small-space cardio workout: 10–15 minutes

The UK government recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week. High-intensity cardiovascular workouts are ideal to contribute to this, and you can do them in a small space at home. Some of the exercises that you could do include:

Knee raises: Put your hands out in front of you at hip height. Raise each knee to each hand one by one.

Heel flicks: Place your hands on your backside, palms facing away. Kick back your heels one by one; making sure your heel reaches your hand on each repetition.

Jump lunges: From a standing position, take a stride in front of you and bend your front knee 90 degrees into a lunge position. Hold your arms out in front of you. Spring off the ground and switch the position of your feet, landing in the mirror image of your original position. Make sure your torso is straight throughout the movement and remember to bend your front knee to absorb the impact.

Bupa Lifestyle Adviser exercises at home

Mountain climbers: Start in a press-up position with your legs straight and arms outstretched. Bring each knee in towards your midriff and then out one by one. To make it harder, jump both knees in towards your midriff at the same time.

Plank splits: Start in a press-up position with your legs straight and arms outstretched. Push both feet off the ground at the same time and land with your legs apart. Push both feet off again and land with your legs together. To make it easier, try stepping sideways with just one foot each time. Alternatively, you could start with your hands elevated on the sofa, a chair or a step and do this exercise.

Complete each for 30 seconds with 15 seconds’ rest between each exercise and 60 seconds’ rest in between each circuit. Do the circuit two or three times round.

Tip: Get the kids involved by asking them to time you or giving it a go themselves!

Bodyweight resistance workout: 20–25 minutes

It’s important to add resistance exercise into your routine to improve muscle strength. The government guidelines tell us we should do it at least twice per week. But you don’t need heavy free weights and complicated machinery at the gym to improve your strength. Find a couple of metres in your living room, and try our ‘Anytime, anywhere’ workout. This includes bodyweight squats, lunges, burpees, core plank and press-ups or half press-ups.

Two or three sets of 40 seconds each and 20 seconds rest after each exercise would be ideal.

Resistance band workout: 15–45 minutes

A resistance band is a long, tough rubber strip with handles attached. It’s a versatile piece of equipment for a range of resistance exercises. You can get them fairly cheap at many retailers.

Band squat: Stand on the middle of the band and hold both handles by your side at shoulder level with your palms facing forwards. Slowly bend your knees to a 90-degree angle, using a chair for balance if needed. Extend your legs while simultaneously extending your arms until they’re both straight. Bend your knees again to a 90-degree angle and bring your hands back to shoulder level. Repeat.

Bupa Lifestyle Adviser exercises at home  Bupa Lifestyle Adviser exercises at home 

Chest press: Attach the middle of the band to a door handle or any strong structure. Place the handles in both hands and face away from the structure. Start with your arms at 90 degrees just below shoulder level. With your palms facing downwards, extend your arms until straight, tensing your chest muscles as you do so. Bend your arms back to 90 degrees and repeat.

Bupa Lifestyle Adviser exercises at home  Bupa Lifestyle Adviser exercises at home 

Band row: Attach the middle of the band to a door handle or any strong structure. Place the handles in both hands, and face the structure. Start with your arms straight out in front of you. With your palms facing downwards, pull until your arms are at 90 degrees and just below shoulder level. You should feel tension in your back muscles. Extend your arms back in front of you and repeat.

Bupa Lifestyle Adviser exercises at home  Bupa Lifestyle Adviser exercises at home 

Three or four sets of eight to ten repetitions would be ideal.

Stair climbing: 10–15 minutes

Most people have a set of stairs where they live, and they can be adapted to many types of different workouts. Try some simple step-ups on the first step. One up, one down for 30 seconds at a fast pace, then rest for 15 seconds and go again for five or six rounds. Alternatively go two or three rounds of one up one down, two up two down, three up three down and so on, until you reach the top, with 30–60 seconds’ rest in between each circuit. Remember to get both feet up on to the step every time! Go at a pace that will push you, but allow you to complete the session.

Yoga: 15 minutes

Finishing a long day with a yoga workout is not only good for your balance and flexibility, but may also help you relax. Put a yoga mat or a towel on the floor and try our 15-minute yoga routine to wind down.

These home workouts can help you achieve your exercise goals, without having to brave the cold and the dark.  Don’t let winter beat you this year; you’ll feel a lot better for it heading into the spring.

Richard McVey
Lifestyle Coach and Health Adviser at Bupa UK

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