Between today's fast-paced lifestyle and jobs that lead to most people sitting for the majority of the day, many of us are more strapped for time than ever, despite the increased need to get up and move.
Luckily, it doesn't take much to improve your physical health. If you can spare just 10 minutes every morning or evening, you can do these six exercises and stretches regularly. Though these moves aren't going to burn a ton of calories, they'll help you get fitter and undo the effects of that sedentary routine you're so used to.
1. Glute bridges
The glute bridge activates the glute muscles, stretches the back and improves hip flexibility.
Lie flat on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place hands on the sides and rest the head on the floor. Now raise the hips off the floor as high as you can and squeeze the glutes at the top. Hold for three seconds. Slowly lower the body to starting position and repeat. Do at least 10 reps.
Avoid putting pressure on the neck as you raise the hips. All the weight should be on the shoulders.
2. Deep squat
The deep squat will improve hip flexibility and stretch the legs.
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and bend knees until the thighs rest on the calves. Make sure the heels are resting on the floor. Hold this position for 30 seconds then rise. Repeat this movement until failure. When you reach the bottom of the squat, you should feel stretching in the hamstrings, quadriceps, tendons.
If you're stiff, just squat as deep as you can. In a few days you should be able to do a full squat.
3. Elbow plank
The plank will strengthen the core, shoulders and the glutes.
Start in a push-up position, then bend the elbows such that the forearms are resting on the floor. The body should be on a straight line from head to heels. Squeezing the glutes helps prevent the hips from sinking. Hold this position for as long as you can.
Use a timer when doing the plank. I find it's easy to give up if you don’t time yourself. Keep practicing until you can hold the plank for three minutes.
4. Calf raises
The calf raises activate the calves.
Stand with the feet a few inches apart, then raise the heels off the floor. Squeeze the calf muscles at the top, then lower the body. Repeat until failure. To make this exercise more challenging, do it on one leg.
5. Hamstring stretch
Sitting down all day, over a long period tightens the hamstrings and decreases flexibility. This stretching movement will loosen the hamstrings and increase hip flexibility.
You could stretch the hamstrings seated, standing or resting one foot on a high surface — pick the one you prefer. Bend at the hips until you touch your toes (or lower as much as you can), then hold for 30 seconds to one minute. Your flexibility will improve with time.
The push-ups work the chest, shoulders and arms.
Start with the hands shoulder-width apart. Lower the body until the chest almost touches the floor then rise. Repeat until failure.
Target different muscles by varying the hand grip variations. Wide grip push-ups target the shoulders, while close grip push-ups target the triceps. Place your feet on a chair if you want to make them more challenging.
Doing these exercises every day will guarantee a more energetic day and improve your physical health.
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