Why is it important?
Keeping fit allows your body to get stronger which will help you to cope with stress and fight against illness better. Physical activity is associated with better lifelong health and wellbeing as well as preventing premature mortality and multiple diseases. The top five benefits for keeping fit and healthy include; reducing your dementia, osteoporosis and cancer risk, preventing muscle loss, improving digestion, reducing stress, depression and anxiety and enhancing mental performance and work productivity.
As well as the physiological benefits, the psychological benefits are numerous as well. Physical activity can improve self-esteem and sense of well-being as well as improve your overall quality of life. It can help lower and control anxiety and depression and maximise academic performance. Bone and muscle-strengthening activities and balance training improve memory and task performance.
Basic exercises you can do indoors:
1. Side Lunges. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and toes pointed forward. Lift one leg up and gently lunge to the side, keeping the other leg straight. Push back up to the starting point. Complete 10 on each side. This strengthens the inner thighs and glutes and will open up tight hips.
2. Normal Lunges. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and lift your left leg forward, and slowly bend both knees until your back knee is just above the floor. Straighten your left leg and step back to your original position. Repeat 5 times for each leg. This exercise works your hips, glutes, quads, hamstrings and the core and muscles of inner thighs.
3. Tricep Dips. You will need a fixed chair table or something similar (get someone to hold it for safety if you can). Sit on the edge of the chair and grip the edge next to your hips. With your legs extended out resting on the floor in front of you, slide your bum off the chair. Straighten your arms and lower your body until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle. Return to start and repeat 10 times. This is a great bodyweight exercise that builds arm and shoulder strength.
4. Squats. Stand tall, feet hip-width apart. Gently bending both knees together go down into squat position. Then gently straighten the legs. Do this 10 times. This exercise builds your leg muscles including your quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.
5. Mountain Climber. Get into a press-up position with your arms straight and legs extended. With your core braced, bring one knee up towards your chest, then return it to the start position. Repeat with your other leg. Repeat 10 times for each leg. If you do this exercise fast enough it acts as a cardio workout while also building core strength and helping with stability.
6. Calf Raises. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Push up onto your toes and slowly to count to 10, return to starting position by lowering your heels. Start with 10. If you want a variation, stand on a step and allow your heels to drop down slightly lower than the step level before returning to the starting position. This will improve your calf strength.
7. Plank Bird Dog. Start in a plank position, extend one leg and the opposite arm out at the same time. Pause for 5 seconds and then return to starting position and switch sides. Complete 5 on each side.
8. Star Jumps. Stand tall with your arms by your side and knees slightly bent. Jump up extending your arms and legs out into a star shape in the air. Land softly with your knees together and arms by your side. To make this exercise harder you can add a 180 degree turn when you jump so that you land facing the opposite direction. Complete this exercise 10 times. This is a full-body exercise which works for multiple muscle groups from your head to your toes, however, you may feel it most in your legs!
9. Burpees. Start in a plank position, then jump knees to elbows and jump upwards into a star jump then return to starting position. This exercise is an intense full-body exercise that uses all the major muscle groups and helps with strength, agility and flexibility. Complete 10 times. If you want to make this exercise harder do a press-up while in the plank position.
10. V sits. Start on your back with your legs at a 45-degree angle and your hands and shoulders off the floor. Lift your torso up and bend your knees. Straighten your legs and slowly lower your torso back to the floor. Complete this exercise 10 times. This is a very effective abdominal exercise.
As you become familiar with the routine and feel comfortable progress the routine completing more repetitions or add some weight in if you can.