HIIT training, Crossfit, and other workouts have become really popular. But they’re not for everyone. It can feel discouraging to even get started because these exercises feel like a big production. I can say for myself, all my workout clothes are gathering dust in the closet.
The good news is that all this working from home we’ve all been doing has helped show how a simple walk can be very beneficial for your health. I sometimes don’t free up my time or mental space until after 4PM. Living so far on the East coast, that means a walk at that time will be when the sun is starting to set. And walking in the dark is still effective but not as enjoyable.
But lately, I’ve come to realize there are simple stretches and exercises I can do at home that don’t require any special equipment, but are still really helpful — especially after sitting at a computer for a few hours. Working from home means I can easily do these at any time of the day without feeling embarrassed.
Here’s a list of 7 exercises that pretty much anyone can do at home.
These basic exercises are very simple. Easy to do at anytime and could do them more than once per day if desired. I do them whenever I need a quick break or with the other exercises.
Simple arm circles, forward and back, to help keep your arms toned and joints moving.
I really enjoy these. I find when I do them, my hips sort of “reset” after a few cycles. I also like to do really wide cycles, and this helps me get a little stretch in my hamstrings (back of the legs) after sitting for a few hours.
Cat Camel Stretch
I really love this one. I confess that I don’t always have the best posture while sitting at my desk. This one helps make sure my lumbar spine gets a good flex.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t embed the actual video, so I just took a screenshot for part of this exercise. As you can read by the caption, this is helpful for people who spend a lot of time on a phone or computer.
I first saw this exercise guru mentioned on Reese Witherspoon’s Instagram, while she was demonstrating what looked like a pretty easy exercise. So I checked her out for other tips. She’s the one who gave me the idea to do arm circles!
To watch her Wrist Love video, click the link in caption or below: https://www.instagram.com/p/CIyy465HtbZ
As you’ll see, advanced is a bit of a stretch. But it is possible to accidentally overstrain a muscle or joint doing these, so some extra care is necessary. I usually only do these exercises once per day. And these might require a door frame.
Take it easy with neck stretches. Neck circles, going in a full circle around, are actually considered outdated and dangerous because the movement combines stretching and movement. Doing just one stretch keeps them safe. But also don’t strain yourself if you’re feeling tight. And probably not a good idea to do these too much in a single day.
I again couldn’t embed the video (only 1 min), so again here is a screenshot. There are 4 stretches in this video and the one in the screenshot is my favorite.
I typically do these at the end of the day. My routine is 10 front, side, and back, before switching legs. Just like a dance class. I like to stand in the doorway to my bathroom because there’s a step of about 1″ giving my moving leg some clearance.
Standing in the doorway also allows me to brace myself with my arms against the door frame. This helps me to keep my torso upright and my chest open, so I’m not hunching my shoulders or leaning too far forward, especially while doing the lifts to the back.
When I do these, I’m not trying to get my legs up high. I’m just focused on getting them moving in different directions in order to use different muscles.
Correcting Poor Posture
While searching for one of the earlier exercises, I came across this video for the upper shoulder area to help correct poor posture. I might throw this one in, too.
So these are a few simple stretches and exercises to do at the end of the day, or even throughout the day, to keep your joints mobile and active. To summarize:
- Arm circles
- Air cycles
- Cat-Camel stretch
- Wrist exercises
- Posture corrections
- Neck stretches
- Leg lifts
Easy to do in 15-20 minutes or as needed, throughout the day.