If you’ve ever been to the physio, you will know that they will always give you “homework”. These are movements and exercises to practice each day at home between appointments.
However, physiotherapists say that many clients come back to their follow-up appointment claiming that they just haven’t had time to do their exercises.
One of the most common excuses is being too busy with the kids (even if the kids are fully grown and out of the house!)
So, here are 15 exercises that do not require a gym, equipment, or a change of clothes. You can do these anytime, while running errands, playing with the kids, cooking, sitting at a desk, listening to a podcast or watching tv.
Core Strength Exercises
The core is one of the most important areas to focus on when increasing strength in the body.
Solid core stability reduces your chance of injury and improves physical performance. This is because the core support all the muscles in the pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen. A strong core achieves an overall balance in the body, a better posture and fewer pains.
1. The Plank
Plug in your headphones, get on the ground and hold the plank position for up to two minutes. The plank requires strength in your abdominal muscles, back and core. It also engages glutes and hamstrings.
2. Butterfly Sit up
Lie face up with the soles of your feet together with your knees bent out to the sides. Put your arms out above your head. Roll your body up until you are upright and touch your toes. Lower back down and continue.
3. Side Bend
A perfect exercise to complete while watching TV. Start in a side plank with your feet stacked. Dip your hips down towards the ground and lift them back up. Flip over to work the other side.
4. Leg Raises
This exercise targets the lower abdominal area and strengthens and lengthens the hip flexors. This is particularly helpful to people who sit at a desk all day.
Lie facing up with your legs extended wit your hands at your side or tucked underneath your hips., Slowly raise your legs, keeping then together and as straight as possible, until the soles of your feet are towards the ceiling. Then slowly lower your legs in the same position but don’t let your legs touch the ground.
5. Rock ’n Roll
Sit on the ground with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Wrap your arms around your legs and hold on to the outside of your ankles. Curl your head and chest forward and tuck into a ball.
Slowly roll backward along each vertebra until your shoulders touch the ground. Then rock back up to the seated position.
General Strength Exercises
It is necessary to have the basic muscle strength to maintain joint control while undertaking everyday activities.
These can be done anywhere, anytime. How about while waiting for something to heat up in the microwave or for the kettle to boil? Thirty to sixty seconds is all you need.
Begin with your feet hip-width apart, bend your knees and lower into a squat. Make sure to keep your heels on the floor. As you come up you can lift up onto your toes or jump if you want to increase the intensity.
7. Ankle Rolls
You can do these sitting down or in bed. Move your ankles in a clockwise and anti-clockwise direction.
8. Knee Exercises with a Ball
You can do this either sitting down or lying on the ground. Place a small ball underneath your foot and roll it back and forth.
9. Neck Exercises
Try this one next time you’ve stopped at a red light. Sitting straight, move your head to one side of the shoulder until you feel the stretch in your neck. Hold it for about ten seconds and then repeat on the other side.
Stretching is a perfect way to relax the body. Try a series of stretches before bed.
Specific Muscle Strengthening Exercises
Your physiotherapist may set exercises that target specific muscle groups.
These focus on the triceps at the back of your upper arm. You can even do dips on a bench or couch.
12. Chin Ups
Next time you are at the park with your child, why not give a chin up or pull up a go? Using an underhand grip (this is the easier option) or overhand grip, pull yourself up. Aim to get your head above the bar.
13. Pelvic Thrusts
Another great one for in front of the tv! Lying on the ground with your arms and hands flat by your side, knees bent and feet flat on the floor, slowly raise your pelvis off the floor and lower it back down.
Get down on your hands and knees and set your hands slightly wider than your shoulders. If you are strong enough you can raise up onto your toes, but you will still get results from being on your knees. At the top of your pushup, your body should be in a straight line and your arms are supporting your weight. Lock on your core and abs and lower yourself until your elbows are at a 90 degrees angle. Lift yourself back up again.
If you’re not strong enough to do a push up off the ground, you can lean up against a wall and complete the movements.
5 Grip Strengthening
This one is so easy to do when on the phone. Get a tennis ball or similar and grasp it in your hand. Slowly squeeze your fingers onto the ball and release.
So there you have it. A few ideas on how to incorporate physio exercises into your life without having to carve out hours of your day.