Why: These at-home exercises target the whole body.
The plan: Do this circuit 2-3 times a week, performing each exercise for 1 minute each or longer for the stair runs, repeat it several times for more benefit. To warm up, do 10 minutes of energetic housework before you begin.
What you will need: Find a broom, a book, a soft cushion and any weights you have handy, such as shopping bags half-full with grocery items or bottles of water.
1. Stair runs
Works: Legs and bottom
Using: a flight of stairs. Running up and down stairs for 1-5 minutes is a great cardio workout and perfect for strengthening your legs and toning your bottom.
How-to: Move your whole body – not just your legs. Drive your arms as you take each step. Step off on your toes, not your heels. If the stairs are not steep, try taking them two at a time.
2. Bicep curls
Using: Two 1L bottles of water
How-to: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Keeping your arms tucked in by your sides, bend your elbows and slowly raise your fists to shoulder height. Slowly straighten your arms to return to the start position. You can alternate the arms or do them both together.
3. Walking lunges
Works: Legs and arms
Using: Heavy shopping bags
How-to: Keeping your shoulders back and leading with your heel, take a big step forward and bend knees down into a deep lunge. Make sure your front knee is directly above your foot and your back knee is just above the floor. Push back up to the start position. Repeat with the other leg walking forward one lunge at a time.
4. Wide squats
Using: A wide cushion and a heavy object, like a book, against your chest.
How-to: Stand feet apart on each side of a cushion, with toes pointing outwards. Squat down keeping your back straight, knees above feet, heels flat on the floor. Hold for a few seconds, feeling a stretch along your inner thighs. Slowly straighten your legs and return to the starting position.
5. Narrow squats
Using: A broom held lightly across the back of your shoulders.
How-to: Squat and lower your bottom as if to sit in a chair. Keep your back long, chest open and weight evenly distributed through your heels. Keep your knees directly above your feet. Straighten legs and clench your glutes on the way back up.
Using: A cushion and a broom.
How-to: Lie on your back, head on a pillow, arms straight out from your shoulders, broom resting between bent knees. Engage your core, lift your shoulder blades off the floor, curl up until your hands are just past the broom. Keep your chin tucked in. Hold for a couple of seconds and release in a controlled way back to the floor.