Easy exercises for busy people

Caroline Cassidy
Easy exercises
Easy exercises

Pic: Getty

It is no secret that most of us should be getting more exercise as well as eating a healthy diet, but busy work and family lives mean many struggle to squeeze a workout into the day along with everything else. And for those that are self-conscious about their weight or body, pounding the pavements or hitting the gym just aren't that appealing even if time allows.

That doesn't mean, however, that you can't get your exercise. There are easy ways to get your heart pumping, your muscles working and your fitness levels up, in your own time and at home.

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Many people struggle with the boredom side of exercising, but you don't have to stick with conventional activities. If you have the radio on while you're cooking or cleaning, the chances are you've occasionally enjoyed a secret boogie to a favourite tune. And so you should. Dance around your kitchen or living room for 20 minutes and you could burn up to 100 calories, all while you're enjoying yourself.

If you have the time but lack the confidence to get down the gym, video games and workout videos are the ideal way to boost your fitness. There are now plenty of fitness games on the market, which can help you to lose weight and keep it off without leaving the house. You could even combine the dancing and the gaming with a game like Just Dance, and get the whole family involved.

If you're often busy at home doing chores or running around after the family, the chances are you're up and down the stairs without even noticing. Step it up a bit and you could really benefit. Try running up and down the stairs a few times without stopping and you'll notice your heart rate has increased, and your legs and bum are feeling the burn. Make it part of your daily routine and you'll be getting an easy dose of cardio.

You might look like you've just stepped out of the Ministry of Funny Walks, but lunging around the house is a simple but effective way of toning up your legs. Start with your feet together, then take one big step forward, bending your knee to lower yourself towards the floor, and repeat on the other side. You can either do this in one spot, or use it as a mode of getting around the house.

If your arms are in need of a tone-up, bicep and tricep curls are the perfect, easy home solution. For the former, stand with your feet shoulder width apart, bend the arms at the elbow and bring your hands up towards the shoulders, then repeat 10 or 20 times. For the latter, hold just one weight in both hands and raise your arms straight above your head. Then simply bend the elbows, lowering the weight, before returning them to the overhead position. Both of these exercises can be intensified by standing with knees slightly bent and your core tummy muscles pulled in tight, but if it's not comfortable, sitting on a chair will do just as well.

It's rarely a favourite, but the properly performed sit-up is a winner when it comes to strengthening those core muscles. Lie flat with your legs bent so that the knees are raised, keep your hands at the temple and raise the chin towards your knees. The small of your back should be on the ground at all time, and it's important to make sure it's the tummy muscles and core that are doing the work, and you're not straining your neck to get there.
Then turn over so that you're lying on your tummy, with your hands placed at the side of your head. Then slowly push yourself upwards, keeping those tummy muscle taut, while keeping your head straight so that you remain facing the floor.

By using a combination of toning and cardio your fitness will certainly improve - and with these quick and easy at-home exercises, there's really no excuse, so make them part of your routine and feel the benefit.

Do you exercise at home? What tips would you give others looking to improve their fitness? Leave your comments below...