10 Great Bodyweight exercises for health and wellness

At a time, such as this, it may be easier to fall into poor patterns of decreased movement or exercise. There are many excuses like gyms are closed, parks are closed, you are supposed to keep your distance from others and you may not have been prepared for all the changes taking place (most people), so you don’t have any equipment…

This is a time when exercise is even more important.

Exercise and movement can help us transition to a more positive mindset, reduce stress levels, anxiety and increase overall health and a sense of wellness. I know personally on hard days, as soon as I move my body, even for as little as 10 minutes, I feel substantially better. 

To help you overcome the obstacles, we wanted to put together a list of bodyweight exercises that you can implement in and around your home right now with no equipment necessary. 

Here are some of our favourites at home exercises right now:

Squat

Air squats: These can be done to a chair or in the air. If you want to challenge yourself, increase the depth of the squat or hold something heavier in your hands. Make sure you are staying upright and not bending in half. Feet are shoulder width apart, with the heels down.  Lift the chest and tighten the belly.  Reach the butt back and down.  Keep the heels down as you drive the knees out.  Ideally you will get the butt lower than the knees at the bottom with heels down, knees out, and chest up!  Drive through the heels to stand! Check out this blog for more info.

Lunge

Lunges: Do on both sides. You may perform forward stepping, reverse stepping, or even walking lunges. Make sure you take a long enough step forward with the front leg or backward with the rear leg, so your heel can be down on the front foot when the back knee GENTLY touches the ground. Stand all the way up between reps, bring feet in line with each other and alternate legs with each lunge. So, for like a set of 4 you end up doing 2 per leg (8 total).

Jumping jacks: Go to a full jump or just step out to the side with your heel.

Toe Taps: Like running on the spot, but your toe comes up and taps something higher in front of you like a small box or step. 

Stairs/Step Ups/Full Jump to a step: For the step ups you will choose a height that will challenge you, but that you feel comfortable stepping up and down. Make sure to put your WHOLE foot on the step each time. Don’t allow the knee to cave in and drive out of the heel to stand completely extending the knee and hip. Lower your body under control and switch feet.

Mountain Climbers

Mountain climbers: For the mountain climbers you will start in a plank or top of a push up position. Keep the belly tight and butt down. Bring one knee up to the chest/armpit area. Then the other. You may do these as fast or slow as you need to keep good form.

Push ups: For the push ups, you may do regular push ups, knee push ups, or even push ups standing against the wall. Choose a type of push up that you can’t just bust out 10 reps. It’s ok if you need to break them up a bit. Make sure the elbows go back and that the hands are just wider than the shoulders. No flaring elbows. Keep the belly tight and avoid worming or snaking. Go all of the way down to touch the chest at the bottom, come all of the way up at the top.

Dead bug: Great core and spinal exercise, but difficult to explain without a video. Best example is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24F6QwuPJ1E

Bird dog: Great core and spinal exercise, but difficult to explain without a video. Best example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZUvz8mz_CE

Burpees: Burpees start standing. Place your hands on the ground. Jump or step your feet back. Get your chest and thighs to the ground. Press to lockout (top of push up). Jump or step the feet in. Jump up and clap with arms overhead!

But, if you are not a personal trainer yourself, you may feel lost with what to do.

You can try one of these options:

  1. Do a circuit: Do 5-10 movements and then take a 1-2 minute break and do this 2-3 times. For example, burpees for 1 min, 30 air squats, 15 push-ups, 1 minute of mountain climbers and 30 second deadbug. 
  2. Tabatas: 20 seconds of a movement, 20 seconds off for 8 rounds. You can repeat this 2-3 times with a minute break in between. This can using one movement for all 8 rounds or two separate (4 of each). 
  3. Go for a walk or run.

We are happy to refer you to some awesome trainers in the area too! They can give you some ideas, write programming, provide suggestions or accountability if you are looking for that and this can all be done virtually.

In times when it seems things are out of control, the one thing we can control is our selves and how we respond. You are in control of your health, so take charge and get moving!

Here for you, 

Dr Sarah