Monday, 15 April 2013

My favourite fun ways to exercise at home

This year at uni I forked out rather a lot of dosh for a gym membership, as many people do. However, I'm pleased to say that I'm actually someone who uses the gym - for both the exercise classes and the equipment - on a regular basis, unlike a lot of people. Perhaps it's my thrifty nature, but hey, I've got to get my money's worth, right?

So the trouble is, when I'm home for the holidays and sans gym, it's rather a lot more difficult to make sure I don't turn into a complete and utter blob. No, seriously, given the length of uni holidays (I'm currently in my 4th week of Easter break), the probability of descent into blobness is high.

But never fear, in my quest to keep in shape (-ish), I have developed some easy peasy ways to get your heart rate going - or at least to move a little bit more than you would in a day largely revolving around facebook, essays and TV. #unay not so much. And I'm not about to advise crunches/star jumps/squats/press ups or anything horrible like that.

Obvs you can always go for a run, but everyone knows that. And of course you can go on your Wii Fit or do an exercise DVD if you have them. But what if you don't? Well, why not try one of my activities of choice. They're fun, honest. None of that running-up-and-down-the-stairs nonsense...

1. Skipping/jump-rope

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Whatever you call it, this is my latest home exercise of choice. Realistically, all you need is a bit of rope, and you can embrace your inner child and hark back to days in the school playground. Personally, I like to skip in front of the TV as then I a) get distracted from the fact that I'm getting out of breath, and b) can justify watching TV instead of doing uni work. Skipping works your whole body (I really felt it in my calves the next day) and apparently 30 mins will burn around 300 calories. Not too shabby, eh? If you just do ten minutes three times a day it's really easy to just slip into your day too. I tell you what, this really does get your heart going! I don't know how we did it as kids.

2. Dancing (like a madwoman)

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SUCH FUN! Oh, how I love to put on my fave cheesy tunes (One Direction, obvs) and dance round my room like the crazy loon that I am. But seriously, whether 1D or not, dancing to music you really love will make you feel so great and is a good way of exercising without thinking about it. It doesn't matter what type of dancing you're doing as long as you're just moving. I myself have been known to whack out the odd zumba move and then seamlessly sashayed into a waltz. It's really quite graceful. Not.

3. Exercise TV channels

It helps to turn your TV on. Pic from
I discovered these a while ago, lurking on some random page way down the "All Channels" list on the TV guide on Sky (don't ask). Sure, you get some programmes like "Amy Childs' Abs Workout" which are a bit of a joke, but I've also discovered the odd gem on there. I tend to just Sky+ a few after scrolling forward in time, then come back and try them out later (some get deleted within a few minutes of playing, but still.) I particularly like the dance workouts which you can then just do in your lounge in your PJs. Brill. Look for The Active Channel (281 on Sky) and Fitness TV (Sky channel 282.)

4. Use tins as weights

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Seriously. Baked beans are more than just a student staple toast topping, they can double as weights for people who don't have any. I imagine they're not particularly great for macho people who are already bricked, but for those of us with less upper-body strength, doing a few bicep curls or whatever with your favourite tinned good while sitting on the sofa can make more of a difference than you'd think.

5. Hula hooping

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Here's a question for ya: What came first - hula hoops the crisps, or hula hoops the traditional playground toys? Answers in the comments below please. Riddle aside, just like skipping, hula hooping is another childhood game that can be turned into a bit of a workout. It's not going to leave you dripping with sweat (probably), but it's a good waist-whittler, and another one I like to do in front of the TV. The chances are you've got a hula hoop lurking at the back of your boot room somewhere, but if you haven't, pretend you have and circle those hips anyway! You might be surprised at just how difficult it is to keep the hoop up. Hey, if it's good enough for Mobama...

If you liked this, you may also like this: 9 tricks to slip exercise into your daily routine.


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