Exercise is the miracle cure we’ve always had, but for too long we’ve neglected to take our recommended dose (NHS, 2020). The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that adults aged 18–64 should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or do at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week.
Physiotherapists specialise in analysing how your body moves and what stops it from moving. They will use different approaches to help you restore, maximise and maintain movement for the rest of your life. You can speak with your physiotherapist about setting up an individualised programme to suit your needs.
One common approach to combat physical problems, and which some regard as the best approach, is daily exercise. Exercise can lower your risk of type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, fractures and falls (especially in the elderly), risk of depression and dementia, as well as reduce your risk of coronary heart disease and stroke by 35%.¹
Achieve your goals on exercising at home
Here are some recommendations:
Skipping or jump rope: This is an excellent exercise to increase your heart rate and strengthen your arms. A recommended time is 20 minutes. However, if this is the first time skipping you can start with 4 x 5 min intervals with breaks in between.
Boxing (punching a pillow): You may not have gloves and a punching bag at home. To do this exercise all you need is a fluffy pillow and a partner to hold it up for you, like what you might do in the gym with a personal trainer. Don’t forget to keep light and bouncing on your feet. You can start off with one-minute intervals of jab, jab, punch.
Star jumps: This, too, is a very good exercise to get your heart rate up if you don’t have a skipping rope at home. It’s a simple exercise that you can do in an open space in the house or garden. Perform between 5min and 20 min of this exercise.
20m Sprints: If you have the space to do this in the garden (or a nearby park), this is a great exercise to get in your moderate to vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise. Mark out a 20m space and perform 10-20 repetitions of sprinting 20m and then jogging 20 metres back.
Strengthening: While the WHO has recommended 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week, it is also important to do muscle strength exercise twice a week. In the elderly, recent studies have shown that strengthening exercises are best at preventing falls. Older people can do this exercise on their knees or against the wall.
Below are some ideas on exercises that can be completed in the comfort of your own home, as well as household objects that can be used as weights.
|UPPER BODY||LOWER BODY||FULL BODY / CORE|
|Tricep dips||Lunges||Mountain Climbers|
|Shoulder press||Sumo walks||Commandos|
|Push-ups||Calf raises||Squat Push Press|
|Straight-arm raises||Pistol squats||Abdominal bikes|
If you require more than just your body weight to strengthen, here are some ideas of household items that can be used to add weight in the above exercises.
– 2kg/5kg bag of washing powder
– 1-2L bottles of juice (you can use old bottles and fill them up with water)
– Big bag of potatoes
– Bags of pet food
– Potjie Pot
The list is endless, all you need is your imagination and you can substitute any items you may find in the house for weights!
Whilst these exercises are easily performed at home, it is important that the correct form is used to prevent injuries. If this is your first time performing these exercises, contact your local physiotherapist to ensure you complete the exercises using the right movements and style.
Bonny Davidson submitted this article and is part of the team practising at Lamberti Physiotherapy Dainfern. You can chat to her about the right exercises for your age and health status by completing this quick online appointment form.
- Chen, Peijie et al. “Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): The need to maintain regular physical activity while taking precautions.” Journal of sport and health science vol. 9,2 (2020): 103-104. doi:10.1016/j.jshs.2020.02.001
- “Healthy Habits Add up to 10 Disease-Free Years to Your Life, Study Reveals.” NHS Choices, NHS, 2020.
- “Physical Activity and Adults.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, 19 June 2015.