Struggling to fit exercise into your schedule? Or hate getting sweaty in the gym? Well, there are no excuses as even short bursts of activity can produce results. Top fitness experts reveal the easiest moves to stay in shape…
12 Get an all-over body workout while brushing your teeth
Stand with your back against a wall, legs bent at a 90-degree angle, knees directly above your toes. Hold this position for as long as you can, building up duration each time. Isometric exercises, like this, which involve contracting muscles without moving at the joint, are great for toning.
2. Banish those bingo wings as you shop
Swap the trolley for two baskets – as they fill up, you’ll be working your arms, shoulders, back and chest muscles. And you won’t be able to buy more than you can carry.
3. Burn kilojoules as you make a cup of tea
Don’t stand idle while waiting for the kettle to boil – burn between 150 and 250 kilojoules with the following mini workout: do 10 star jumps, then 10 press-ups by leaning into the worktop. Next, do eight star jumps and eight press-ups. Repeat down to two.
4. Tone your legs and your bum before breakfast
Alternate sets of 10 squats and 10 lunges while you’re making toast or your morning porridge. Sink low into each movement and squeeze your bum as you stand up. Hold household items, such as full bottles of milk, while you do it to intensify the workout.
5. Perfect your posture while you’re at work
Find yourself slumped at your desk? It’s easy to do something about it. Every time the phone rings or you send an e-mail, raise your shoulders toward your ears and roll your shoulders back and down. Imagine there’s a lemon between your shoulder blades, and squeeze it tightly. This will open out your chest and straighten your spine.
6. Start your day with a strong back
Stand with your arms crossed over your chest. Keeping your pelvis still, rotate your upper back from left to right; your head to follow you. Repeat five times, then work in the opposite direction. This is great for preventing back pain – if you have a sedentary job, try it every hour.
7. Boost your metabolism as you clean
Turn household chores into a workout: when emptying the dishwasher or unloading a washing basket, instead of bending over, squat down to reach each item, keeping your feet shoulder-width apart, your knees directly above your toes, and your torso upright. Then, lunge forward on alternate legs as you vacuum.
8. Shape your bottom as you shower
Raise one foot off the floor, leg bent at a 90-degree angle, and your knee in line with your hip. Hold for as long as you can (while you wash your hair, for example), then change legs. Engage the buttock and tighten from the knee of the supporting leg upwards.
9. Work the whole body while watching TV
Everyone knows how good the plank is for a strong core, but take it further – and ensure you won’t miss your favourite TV show – with a side version. Turn onto your side, legs extended, leaning on your forearm. Use your core to raise your body off the floor. Start with four 15-second sets, work up to a minute. Keep neck aligned with body, engage tum muscles, and squeeze bum.
Dominic Smart is a nutrition expert and personal trainer
Laurel Alper is a fitness expert and Pilates instructor
Lucy Wyndham Read is an author and a fitness expert
Sarah Nankivell is a fitness mentor at a health and well-being company
Zoe Jessop is a physiotherapist specialising in muscular conditions
Words, Emma Pritchard