At Home Workout

There are two broad categories of exercises: those that require expert tuition, guidance or supervision and those that can safely be practised ‘alone’ or at home, without special advice or training. The exercises covered here belong to the second group, in that they are gentle routines that can be practised safely, both at home and further afield.

The most important aspects of exercising without supervision are preparing the body for activity and ‘listening’ to your body – paying attention to how your body feels, and adjusting the intensity or frequency of exercise, accordingly. Exercising safely means paying attention to posture and breathing, and performing warming up and cooling down exercises. If the body is not adequately prepared for exercise, stress is placed on the muscles, and the heart and breathing rate accelerate too quickly. This not only decreases the health benefits of exercise, it places individuals at risk of injury and ill health.

When exercising alone or at home, it is vital that you monitor your body’s responses. At an exercise class or gym, there is a trainer on hand to correct mistakes and to discourage over-exercising. While exercising alone, however, you need to fulfil this role yourself. This means checking that you are performing an exercise correctly and safely, and slowing down when you are feeling fatigued.

Exercises that can be safely practised at home are gentle aerobic, muscle-strengthening and flexibility exercises. Short routines can be incorporated into an individual’s daily schedule. Exercises that target specific parts of the body such as the shoulder muscles and the legs can alleviate day-to-day stiffness and strain, particularly for people with sedentary jobs. Some people prefer to increase their fitness levels by becoming more active in their day-to-day lives rather than by performing specific exercises. This can be achieved by walking or cycling to work, for example.

Activities that can be performed outside the home include aerobic exercises such as walking, jogging, swimming and cycling. These have various physical benefits, but all increase the health of the cardiovascular system. When exercising outdoors, additional safety issues require consideration. It is always advisable to consult a doctor before taking intensive aerobic exercise, especially if you are unfit, overweight or have chronic health problems.