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Simple exercises to do at home

You already know that exercise is good for you. It’s so good in fact, exercise is prescribed by GPs for things like depression and diabetes. It’s known to reduce your risk of a whole host of conditions such as stroke, heart disease, some cancers, and dementia, as well as being really good for protecting your mental health.

Some people love exercise, and for others it’s a bit daunting, but exercise doesn’t have to be scary or difficult. There are plenty of things you can do in the comfort of your own home, without equipment (and without anyone watching if you’re self-conscious!)We’ve listed some simple exercises here that you can do at home.

Please exercise your judgement as well as your body and stay safe. Avoid over exertion and injury by building up slowly and listening to your body. You can get advice from your GP if you’re making big changes to the way you exercise.

Simple exercises to do at home with no equipment


Good for back pain, posture, and stress relief

Come down onto your hands and knees, with knees directly below your hips and hands below your shoulders. Slowly round your spine and lower your head to look towards your belly button. Next, slowly lift your head to look up whilst arching your back, pushing your tummy down. Repeat slowly.


Good for glutes, hamstrings, and core stability

Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, with your arms by your sides. Engage your core and push through your feet to lift your hips off the ground until your body is in a straight line from knees to shoulders, squeezing your glutes (the muscles in your bottom) and tummy muscles at the top. Slowly lower back down and repeat.


Good for legs, core, and mobility

Stand with your feet flat on the floor, shoulder width apart (you can try slightly wider feet if that’s more comfortable). Engage your tummy muscles and stand tall. Imagine there is a chair behind you (you can put one there if it helps) and imagine you are lowering back down into it whilst holding your hands together in front of your chest for balance. Keep your chest up as much as possible, and your heels on the floor. Aim to get your bottom lower than your knees before pushing through your feet to come back up again but come up sooner if you feel your heels start to lift.

High knees

Good for legs, balance, and coordination

Stand with your feet hip width apart. Lift your right knee up towards your chest – aim to get it above hip level if you can, and at the same time bend your left arm to raise your hand as if you’re throwing something over the same shoulder. Lower your leg and hand and swap sides. Continue alternating.

Using household objects for exercise

You can mix up your exercise routine by using things around the house. Bottles of laundry detergent can make great kettle balls, and tin cans are perfect for smaller weights. Stair climbing can reduce your risk of heart disease and is great for your endurance. Try using a towel as a yoga mat and pop on a free online yoga class. Or why not fill a backpack with a few weighty items and wear it while you go about your household chores to build strength.

Find the right exercise for you

These are just a handful of simple exercises you can do at home. There are heaps of free online workout videos for all different abilities and tastes. You can even find flat-friendly workouts for people who want to avoid upsetting the neighbours! There really is something for everyone – why not take ten minutes out to browse online videos or guides and find a home workout that appeals to you.

UK physical activity guidelines

The UK Chief Medical officer issues guidelines about the amount and type of physical activity you should get for optimal health.

Each week, adults aged 19 – 64 should do:

  • At least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity such as brisk walking, cycling, dancing, water aerobics

  • Or at least 75 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity such as running, stair climbing, aerobics, football, netball

  • Strength activities on at least 2 days such as carrying heavy shopping, yoga, heavy gardening, carrying children

  • Exercise at least 4 days a week, but ideally everyday although any exercise is better than no exercise

Good luck, and happy exercising!

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Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

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