5 ways to get fit without leaving your house

In Trucker's Health, September 20215 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineOctober 4, 2021

With level four lockdown upon us once more, let’s revisit the topic of home exercise.

Do your grounds look shabby?

If you’re anything like me, your gardens and grounds probably look like they haven’t had any attention in the past five years. Rummage through the garden shed and find yourself a spade and a selection of other gardening tools (I wouldn’t know what they’re called, I don’t use them) and throw yourself into gardening.

Gardening – and grounds work – is practical cardio, and imagine the satisfaction of seeing how great your home looks after you’ve given it some attention and worked up a sweat while doing it. This also goes for mowing the lawns (with a push mower, of course) – I’m not sure that your heart rate would sky-rocket on a ride-on lawnmower.

What props can you use to your advantage?

Working out around the home is all about getting creative. You’re halfway there if you have a deck, a bench or a set of stairs that can act as a good base for a simple body-weight, no-equipment workout. For example, you can do tricep dips, step-ups, pressups, plank holds, lunges, squats and other simple body-weight movements incorporating a bench or stairs to add a different element to your workout.

If you wanted to add weights to your workout, there is a massive assortment of things from around your home, such as tins from the pantry, bags of potting mix – pretty much anything that has weight to it and is safe and practical to hold during a workout (i.e. not a chainsaw).

Head online.

Finding it difficult to discover anything around the house that might help you feel motivated to work out? Go online. The internet is saturated with different styles of exercise videos. You can choose the type, length and intensity of your online workout to suit your preference. For example, I love doing 45-minute boxing workouts. No gear needed, just a good old-fashioned boxing-based cardio sweat session.

Online you can find yoga, pilates, dance, strength, body-weight, lowimpact and everything in between. Throughout lockdown, Zoom workouts also became very popular. Zoom involves you linking in with a group of people to follow an activity together with perhaps a gym instructor or someone with a lot of knowledge of group training. It can keep you focused and motivated having someone guide you through the workout rather than trying to battle it out on your own.

Play the game.

If you have children, or even if you don’t, there are so many fun, active games that you can play. I remember as a child I always loved backyard cricket, hide and seek, tiggy, petanque, and so many other outdoor games. It doesn’t have to be complicated – grab a rugby, netball or soccer ball and head outside for passes, hoops or friendly games. Set up the cricket stumps and have a round of endless cricket.

It may not be a high-impact 80-minute All Blacks game, but it will be enough to get the heart rate up, work up a sweat and most importantly, have fun. Often people are under the illusion that exercise has to be torturous, unenjoyable and painful for it to be effective. In reality, you simply need to elevate your heart rate and work up a bit of a sweat.

Venture out.

I know I said you wouldn’t have to leave your house, but amazing walks and activities are often just around the corner. You don’t need to grab the car keys – just put on your shoes and venture outside the gate. Go to the nearest park, area of bush, field or forest and enjoy the great outdoors. Sometimes, if I’m home inside for too long, I can feel cooped up. It’s nice to head out for an hour or so and explore your surroundings.

I know many people who drive miles to take bush walks and don’t realise that lovely surroundings and walks are right where they are. This is true for me. I drive from Thames to The Mount to climb Mount Maunganui, when beautiful bush walks are right here. Do some research online or let your feet do the exploring for you.