Working out is often a great way to de-stress after a long day at work.
And while the South African government and medical experts have told people to sanitize and avoid public gatherings and large groups, some people are still wondering if it’s safe to go to the gym?
So instead of going to a fitness center, why not work out at home? There are plenty of exercises you can do without fancy equipment and you can get a full body workout even with limited time.
We asked fitness experts to give us a few basic exercises that are easy to do at home.
Pilates instructor Garreth Rosenburg provided core exercises that build overall strength and create flexibility; exercise science student Phelisa Kibido supplied exercises to strengthen arms and shoulders; personal trainer Sinethemba Ceba provided exercises to strengthen and tone the lower body, and fitness coach Tracy-Lea Wiehahn contributed exercises that give a great fullbody workout and a stretch.
So what are you waiting for? Get cracking!
1. Toe taps
Lie on your back with bent knees and allow your spine to relax into the floor to stabilise your pelvis.
Put your legs in a tabletop position and your arms at your side. Pull your belly button in towards your spine and slowly lower one leg down as you exhale, then lift it up again as you inhale. Move from the hips and focus on the contraction in your stomach.
Six reps on each side.
Watch below how to do toe taps.
2. Chest lifts
Stay on your back and pull your feet in towards your bottom. Put your hands behind your neck and keep your elbows wide. Squeeze your abs and lift your chest as high as you can. Now pull up a bit further as you move your hands forward towards your knees. Hold for three seconds before releasing.
This works your upper arms and shoulders. Get into plank position with your arms slightly wider than shoulder width. Clench your bottom, brace your abs and, keeping your neck in line with your spine, slowly lower your body to the floor as far as you can go without collapsing.
Keep your elbows as close to your body as possible. Pause briefly then push back up into the starting position. If this is too difficult you can do this exercise on your knees with your feet in the air rather than in full plank.
Watch below how to do push ups.
4. Plank & arm lift
The plank is a great test of core strength, engaging your abdominals, lower back, hips and arms. For this exercise we’ve added a variation to work your arms too. Get into full plank position, keeping your hands directly under your shoulders and your body straight.
Raise one arm above your body so it twists 180°, pause and return to plank. Repeat on the other side.
Six reps on each side.
Stand up straight with your hands on your waist. Engage your core and step forward with one leg. Keep your upper body straight and make sure your knee doesn’t move past your toe. Pause briefly before moving back into the starting position. Alternate.
For beginners, instead of stepping forward each time stay with your legs apart and bend down into the lunge position as shown below.
10 reps on each side.
Watch below how to do lunges.
6. Leg raises
Stand on all fours with your knees under your hips and your hands under your shoulders. Keep your back straight and raise one knee to the side. Alternate. Then raise one leg back so the foot points to the ceiling and alternate.
15 reps on each side for each exercise.
7. The holding squat
Stand with your head and back against a wall, arms by your side or on your waist. Position your feet shoulder-width apart then lower your body into a squat position until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
Hold for 30 seconds.
8. The sumo squat
Stand with your feet further apart than shoulder-width and your toes turned out. Push your hips back and squat down, keeping your chest up and knees out.
9. Mountain climbers
These work the whole body – planking strengthens your core, you use your shoulders to stabilise your upper body, your triceps work to keep you in place, and the leg movements turn it into a cardiovascular exercise.
Get into plank position (see No 2), bring one leg in towards your chest – without lifting your hips – then return to the starting position. Repeat with the other leg. Once you’re comfortable with the movement, speed up to increase your heart rate.
Repeat for one minute.
Watch below how to do mountain climbers.
10. Hip flexor stretch
If you spend a lot of time sitting, your hips tend to get tight. It feels good to loosen them up from time to time by stretching your hip flexors, the group of muscles that enable you to lift your knees and bend at the waist.
Stand with your feet together then move one leg back and go into a lunge (see No 3). Put the top of your back foot flat on the floor, keep your front knee in line with your ankle and push your hips gently forward.
Hold for 20-30 seconds on each side.