Stuck at home? #obvi
But, take heart! You can still get a good daily workout in, even if you don’t have the necessary gym equipment.
Here are 10 things around the house that you can use to exercise at home, so that you can keep your fitness levels and immune system up. (While you’re at it, download these awesome fitness apps for more gym-free workouts.)
(Note: As with any exercise, please consult your physician if you have any health problems. We recommend watching YouTube tutorials if you’re new to any of the exercises mentioned below, and getting an experienced family member to supervise you if possible.)
1. Use a towel as a mat or slider
Need a soft surface to do yoga on? A large beach towel can double up as a mat if it’s big enough. It might be a tad slippery, so make sure your movements are careful and controlled. Bonus: Folded up, a towel can also work as a slider for exercises like mountain climbers and knee tucks.
2. Use a laundry basket or large wok for deadlifts.
A large sturdy item with handles, such as a laundry basket or large wok, can be used for deadlifts that work out your core and hamstrings. Fill these up with dense items, such as cans of food, for extra weight. Just be careful not to drop it back down with a clatter when you’re done!
3. Use a bench or folding chair for elevated support.
No workout bench? No problem. Even a regular dining bench, folding chair or the sofa can be used as a workout bench for triceps dips or glute bridges. If using a chair, choose a sturdy one that isn’t too light (or it will slip out at the most inopportune moment and likely cause injuries) or set it against a corner for stability.
4. Use a bag of flour or rice for an easy weight add-on.
For a convenient option that’s already in your kitchen, look no further than the humble sack of rice or flour. These are usually a few kilograms at least, so you can use them for extra weight when doing squats and lunges. Just be sure they’re sealed off properly first – you wouldn’t want to end up dumping flour on your head.
5. Use canned food as small weights
For smaller muscle groups, try using cans of food. They’ll ideally be tall and slim enough that you can wrap your hand around them comfortably. These can be used as hand weights to do light exercise such as bicep curls, overheard presses, and chest flyes.
6. Use a cushion as a BOSU ball.
A BOSU ball, which resembles a ball sliced in half, is typically used for balance and core workouts. In a pinch, a cushion can be used the same way: it can take your planks or spiderman crunches to the next level. Since it might be slippery, we’d advise adding friction underneath in the form of a yoga mat and keeping your movements slow – that means no jumping on and off it – to avoid having the cushion slip out from beneath you.
7. Use fixed items around the home to ensure form.
When we’re working out on our own without the eye of a trainer on us, it’s easy to just go through the moves without focusing on form. The good news is, you can use fixtures around the home to help. When doing burpees, for example, use the top of the doorframe as a gauge to ensure you’re reaching high enough during the jump. You don’t have to hit the top, but having it there as a mental marker will spur you to make the extra effort.
Likewise, even the toilet bowl can be called into use. Close the lid, then stand with your back to the toilet and do your squats, lowering yourself as though you’re about to sit and making sure your glutes tap the lid before rising again.
8. Use a broom or pole as a weight bar.
A broom, dry mop or bamboo pole (the old-school kind you use to hang out laundry) can replace the weight bar you usually hold in the gym – though we would recommend a bamboo pole for even weight distribution. These can be held overhead when doing squats, or for mobility work by lifting it over your head, behind and down towards the glutes.
9. Use a ball for extra core work.
Want to make your push-ups harder? Use a basketball instead of a flat floor. It’ll train your core muscles, but for safety, first get used to doing a plank with both hands on the ball. When you’re comfortable, try doing a few push-ups in that position.
A light ball can also be used in a variety of ways. One favourite is to do donkey kicks – place the ball (ideally about the size of a large orange to a small pomegranate) behind your knee and grip it firmly by squeezing your thigh and calf together, then get onto all fours., with the toes pointing up, squeezing your glutes as you do so. Return to all fours and repeat. Keeping the ball in position will ensure that you’re engaging your core and glutes.
10. Use a laundry detergent bottle or milk jug as a kettle bell.
You’ll need something with a large handle that you can get a firm grip on. If your bottle is nearly empty, fill it up with water for extra weight – first decanting the contents, of course.
A makeshift kettlebell can be used for several exercises: weighted lunges, overhead presses, pistol squats, you name it. If you can get both hands on the handle, you can also do kettlebell swings.
By Melody Bay, text adapted from Home & Decor, March 2020