Tips for exercising at home

Sport at home: how to keep fit without going to the gym

Society Health Sport

Maintaining a proper exercise routine is really important for our health. Although we normally associate it with going to the gym or other places to exercise, the reality is that it can be done from our living room. Nowadays, thanks to the multitude of apps and digital platforms dedicated to sport, it is easier than ever.

Today, people can also work out in their own home.

Teleworking has redefined how we spend our time and, above all, how we socialise. The change has also led to a different way of working out, where going to the gym is no longer something that everyone wants to do. Despite this, sport is very necessary, and for this reason other options have emerged, such as working out from home.

Sport has been vital during lockdown, not only to kill time and clear our heads, but also for the good of our health. This has been confirmed by California University doctors, James F. Sallis and Michael Pratt, in an article for the American College of Sports Medicine in which they explain the importance of physical activity as a way of controlling COVID-19 infections and maintaining our quality of life.

Due to the COVID, online sales of equipment such as treadmills or exercise bikes and of products such as elastic bands, mats or rollers grew exponentially. However, now that the pandemic has passed, it is time to use these items again in an efficient and proper way.

The benefits of exercising at home

Following advice for exercising within the four walls of our home is nothing new: the older ones amongst us will remember Jane Fonda's aerobic workout classes that achieved world fame in the '80s and may even sound familiar to younger people, since the 82 year old actress opened a Tik Tok account during lockdown encouraging us to keep fit and at the same time raise awareness about climate change. The thing is, the social media have become one of the main sources when it comes to seeking out sports advice.

Thousands of sports-lovers are showing off their routines on sites such as Instagram, but be careful, because there are amateurs out there as well as professionals, and we shouldn't forget that exercising can be dangerous to our health. On this subject, The World Health Organization (WHO) offers recommendations External link, opens in new window. for practising sport according to people's age range. For example, they recommend that adults between 18 and 64 years spend 150 minutes a week doing moderate aerobic activity, or 75 minutes of strenuous workout in order to improve cardio-respiratory and muscular functions and bone health, and to reduce the risk of depression.

Doing exercise, regardless of where, is good both for physical and mental health — it reduces anxiety levels, for instance — but we mustn't forget that sport at home has a number of advantages (as well as some downsides) over other options: not only do we save time by not having to travel, and have the freedom to exercise whenever we want - but also we can even take our sports equipment on holiday with us. It can be cheaper too, as we only have to shell out once to buy equipment.

How to exercise at home. Equipment and exercises

As regards the equipment needed to do sport at home simple and versatile gear is best that allows us to do different exercises. A dumbbells — the weight can vary depending on the use and the objectives — exercise wheels (myofascial and abdominal) — and a mat, are the starting point of any setup. Another basic and very useful item is resistance bands, which can be used for a lot of exercises:

What exercises can resistance bands be used for?


But you can also do exercise without needing any equipment. Here's a few examples:

  • Jump Squat

This involves bending the knees as though sitting in a chair and holding this position for a few seconds, then jumping up and stretching them. On landing, return to the original position and repeat a few times. This is a workout for muscles like calves, hamstrings and quadriceps.

  • Diamond Push Up

This is a variation on the usual press-up, the difference being the position of the hands: they are placed in the centre, forming a diamond by joining the index fingers and thumbs. This keeps the whole body aligned and moving up and down uniformly. It is a very comprehensive exercise and exercises the arms, chest and abdominals, among others.

  • Plank Twist

A plank exercise where you rotate your abdominals as though, for example, you were wringing out a wet towel. With your elbows on the floor at a 90º angle, move your hips to the right and left without touching the floor. This exercise is great for your abdominals.

  • Lateral Lunge

To do this exercise you must stand, with legs and shoulders aligned. From there, take a big step to the side while bending the knee — leaving your hips behind — and then return to the original position. Then repeat for the other side. This exercise strengthens the buttock muscles.

Apps for exercising at home

Mobiles have become a great aid when it comes to home exercising, which is why apps like Freeletics rank amongst the most downloaded during lockdown. But it's not the only one that can help to keep us in shape:

  • Seven. The exercises in this app are based on scientific research to offer the most benefit in the shortest time. They allow you to train at any time with no equipment, and compete with others to provide an extra dose of encouragement and support.

  • Fifty: This app has more than 900 exercises, many without using any sports equipment. It has tailored routines and training programmes as well as pre-designed workouts by body part to keep you in shape, with a history to track your progress. 
  • Home Workouts: With more than 100 million downloads, the aim of the website is to be able to perform all kinds of exercises at home, always adapted to the user’s level to achieve results easily.