Getting a little exercise doesn't need to be difficult. There’s lots you can do for free at home to get moving and feel better in body and mind.
According to the experts there’s three things all adults should try to do:
Move around regularly. Reduce sitting ‘sedentary’ time throughout every day.
Do some physical activity of moderate or vigorous intensity most days - such as 30 minutes 5 days a week. Remember the type of activity which feels ‘moderate’ will vary for person to person based on age, ability and fitness levels.
Activities to build strength and improve balance, at least twice a week.
The UK Physical Activity Guidelines include specific advice for other groups such as early years, children and disabled adults. Of course, only take part in activities if you are feeling well and seek GP advice if you aren’t sure.
We’ve collated some tips to help you do these three types of activity without leaving your home.
One: Move around regularly
It’s important to break up long periods of sitting. Just a few minutes of regular movement can help.
- Walk while you talk. If you’re phoning friends and family, walk about while you blether, you’ll be surprised how many steps you’ll do.
- If you are studying, writing, working or doing hobbies at a desk – consider getting or fashioning yourself a standing desk. Research shows it’s better for you than sitting down all day.
- If you find it difficult to remember to move, set an alarm, use an app or leave a post-it note at eye level to remind you.
- Do some armchair exercises. If you’re not able to always stand to keep moving, try NHS Living Well Sitting Exercises, which are gentle and improve mobility.
- If TV is your thing - put your TV remote at the other side of the room, so you have to get up to switch channel. Or use ad breaks as a reminder to move around.
- Break up sitting time with these 3-5 minute exercise videos, led by experts from Edinburgh University's Physical Activity For Health Research Centre.
Try to move around for even a few minutes every hour.
Two: Include some moderate or vigorous activity most days
Generally 'moderate' activity means you would be breathing harder, feeling warmer and your heart would be beating faster than usual, but you should still be able to talk.
- Grab your feather duster. Physical household tasks like cleaning and gardening count towards your daily physical activity.
- Clear some space in your living room and try an online workout. There are free workouts online for all abilities. Some of our favourites are free workouts from Body Coach and PopSugar.
- Doing activity in just 10 minute sessions will bring benefits – NHS - One You has some great videos with short workouts that can be squeezed into busy days.
- 10 Today also has some fun 10 minute audio and video workouts which are great for older adults.
- Use a pedometer, phone app, or smart watch to track your activity. Knowing exactly how many steps you've done, can help you feel encouraged to try and do a little more each day. If you're using a pedometer use our 12 week walking diary to record your progress.
- Kitchen dancing – put on your favourite tunes and dance like nobody is watching!
- If you've got children (or even if you haven't) these Disney Dance Alongs from This Girl Can are great fun!
Three: Activities to build strength and improve balance
You don't need to lift anything heavy to improve your strength, here's some free easy options to try.
- Our Strength and Balance Exercises are ideal to help you feel stronger and maintain mobility. You can download the Ten Strength & Balance exercises or watch our demonstration video.
- Try the NHS Five-week strength and flex plan. By Week 5 you'll be doing back, arm and leg stretches, along with press-ups and squats, with ease. You'll be feeling stronger, more flexible and full of energy to go about your daily life.
- Free yoga and pilates workouts can be done without any equipment and there's lots of online classes to choose from, such as Yoga With Adrienne and The Girl with the Pilates Mat.
- Here's an upbeat short animated film on the ‘Super Six’ Strength and Balance exercises from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy
Try to do some activity to build strength and help your balance twice each week.