Home is where the health is

David Kirkpatrick suggests ideas to help us all get fit on the cheap this January

Now that New Year celebrations have come and gone, many of us will be trying to stick to the resolutions we made, and for many that will include attempting to lose weight. But rather than dieting, why not try a bit of exercise every other day and if you think that means joining the gym, you’re wrong. Many people find the environment of a gym stimulating and often addictive.

If you have recently joined one it is worth while to persevere as you may soon find yourself making excuses to go rather than to avoid it. However, for those who find communal exercise daunting or don’t have the money to spare there are plenty of inexpensive and effective ways to lose weight without leaving home.

Exercise in front of the television or to music using ad breaks and song changes to mark your progress and signal changes and breaks. Or, alternatively, use the five minutes of adverts between shows to work out intensely. It doesn’t seem a lot but if you watch a few hours of television a day it adds up. Sit-ups and press-ups are a great way to strengthen and tone and if you’re new to exercise there are ways to cheat. When doing sit-ups lie on your back with your knees up and wedge the front of your feet under a couch or bed using it as an anchor until you’re strong enough to complete the exercise unaided.

Push-ups can also be simplified by resting on your knees rather than your feet. Once you’ve built up your strength you can attempt the more difficult positions. More than just couches can be incorporated into your home gym and everyday objects such as tins of soup can be utilised as weights to provide the rudimentary beginnings of weight training.

If you do have a little money at your disposal why not try an exercise ball. Ranging from models as inexpensive as £4.99 from Argos, to the colourful and branded varieties available not only from sports shops and online but from retailers as unlikely as WHSmith, the ball is a fun way to introduce exercise into your daily routine and works to strengthen your core muscles and tone and firm your body. In the beginning it may not appear to offer a fat burning workout but with instruction and the correct exercises, the ball is able to offer a range of challenging workouts that will leave your body in no doubt that it’s working out.

It is important however that users do have a grasp of suitable exercises which can be provided by a training dvd supplied with certain makes, including the Everlast range. One drawback is the space needed to use and store the ball. Although easily deflated, continually inflating the ball when needed is a discouragement and it might be a better idea to convert it into a chair or re-home it when not in use.

While the weather remains bleak it is increasingly tempting to remain indoors but on days when it is at least dry it’s a good idea to throw on a pair of trainers and either jog or simply walk. Take the stairs to the ninth floor of the library, get off the bus a stop early and walk the difference. You won’t drop a stone in a week and you won’t see abs breaking our of your shirt but it’s simple, realistic and if you stick with it you should gradually shed the pounds and fulfil your new year’s promise.


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