The guidelines for physical activity for adults includes muscle strengthening activities on two or more days of the week. These activities should work all our major muscle groups ie legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms. I would like to look at a home based programme to meet these muscle strengthening guidelines.
Set aside at least 30 minutes and an area that is free from clutter. Always do a warm up to get your body ready for exercise. Start with a bit of gentle walking on the spot, take it up to a strong march, include variations of steps to relief any boredom. You could use the stairs to increase heart rate. You should be now feeling warm and slightly breathless. Focus on good body posture during the warm up which should last for 10 to 15 minutes. Have a go at the following four exercises working at a level which allows you to complete the circuit – aim for 10 repetitions of each. As you get fitter you can move up a level, do more repetitions or add other exercises.
Exercise one – chair dips. Using the stairs or a chair pushed against the wall. Legs bent to start with. Feet shoulder width apart and gently lower until elbows in line with shoulders.
Exercise two – squats. Shallow squats to start you off, as if you are about to sit on a chair. Don’t allow your knees to go over your toes.
Exercise three – sit ups. Bent legs – take the hands towards the knees.
Exercise four – standing push ups against the wall. Hands shoulder width apart – keeping body in good alignment. (don’t drop your tummy or stick your bottom out)
Most exercises are more effective when done slowly and with precision. We are developing and maintaining strength here rather that working the heart and lungs. Keep your breathing controlled – don’t hold your breath.