Turn your Maltese home into a gym with these easy hacks
by Mr Yellow
The great thing about exercise is that it knows no boundaries. The exercise spectrum is vast, ranging from gentle stretches to rigorous workouts. Depending on your personal situation and goals you get to decide how much you want, or can, push your body. But what's for sure is that everybody should incorporate some form of exercise into their routine. No excuse should come between you and your health.
No matter how busy you are, it is possible to fit some exercise into your day. This can be done in the very comfort of your home and without the need of fancy or expensive equipment. After all, all you need to remain fit is movement that raises your heart rate, objects to lift, something to challenge your balance and help you stretch… and, of course, willpower.
Use your body
One of the best and most effective exercise tools you'll need is your very own body. Lifting your own body weight is enough to strengthen your muscles, and stretching your limbs keeps you flexible and healthy. There are many exercises you can do at home without the use of any equipment. These range from beneficial yoga moves to muscle-sculpting squats, push ups, sit ups, mountain climbers, burpees and planks. All you need is a carpet or a mat.
Bonus tip: Add some ‘weights' to your exercise routine. Fill a backpack with some items, like books or water bottles, and wear it while you do your squats or your chores. This will make things a bit more challenging.
Stock up on paper plates
Paper plates make great (and cheap) sliders. All you have to do is incorporate the plates into your exercise. So, for example, make those burpees even tougher by placing the balls of both feet on paper plates. Then lower into a squat, place your hands on the floor in front of you, slide your feet into plank position, bend your knees, slide your feet back towards your hands and stand. Then repeat.
Fitness in a bottle
When it comes to toning your upper body all you really need is a weight. And your muscles don't really care it this comes in the form of a proper dumbbell or a brick. There are many things you can use as weights at home - tinned food cans and filled water bottles are examples. Laundry detergent bottles are great because they often come with a handle for grip - the perfect alternative to the kettlebell.
Grab a chair
There's a lot you can do with a chair, apart from sitting on it. Chairs are great for working out your triceps: sit on the chair and place your hands at the front, fingers facing forward. Slide your bottom off the chair and lower your hips towards the ground until you are at a 90-degree angle. Hold for a few seconds then lift yourself back onto the chair and repeat. You can also use the chair to do a couple of chair planks, chair squats and leg lifts.
Similar to the chair, your sofa is a great workout aid. There are many exercises to be done here. Try side planks by placing your right elbow at the edge of the sofa, below your shoulder. With your legs straight, cross your left leg over the right forming a straight side plank with your body. Lift your left arm towards the ceiling as you tighten your abs and hold. Then repeat and change sides. Sofas are also great for bridges: lie down in front of the sofa with your heels on the edge of the couch then lift your buttocks off the ground. Hold and repeat.
Bonus tip: Cushions and pillows are a good alternative to balance tools. Try doing push-ups on a cushion, or squats with one foot on the cushion and one foot on the floor to engage more muscle groups.
Step it up
If you have stairs in your house or apartment block make use of them to increase your cardio workout by walking or running up and down a couple of times. You don't need a whole flight to step up your efforts - one step is enough for some step-ups (walk up and down the same step, first starting with your right leg then swapping to your right), stair lunges and stair push-ups. If you don't have a step, a step stool will do the trick.
Buckets of books
Fill a clean bucket with some books and use it to do an arm swing. Stand with your legs wide apart and bend your knees slightly. Hold the bucket with both hands between your legs. Swing the bucket out to shoulder length while you squeeze your glutes, then repeat.
And finally, there's the good old wall - a perfect support for your exercise endeavours. Do some wall pushups by placing your hands on the wall in front of you and positioning your feet back so your body is in a solid plank while you stand on your toes. Bend your elbows to bring your chest close to the wall, then push back up and repeat. You can also do some wall squats by squatting with your back against the wall, legs at a 90-degree angle. Then push your body up against the wall and back down.
So, if you are home while reading this, take a look around you. You'll soon see many objects you can use to help you workout. But if you'd rather head out to get some exercise, go ahead and pick any of the gyms listed on Yellow where you'll surely find the perfect gym for you.
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