How to Exercise Effectively at Home

Caption: With the year-end feasting/celebrating going on, you may be motivated to exercise more. But is the rainy weather and not having access to a gym stopping you? The Department of Physiotherapy and LIFE Centre at Singapore General Hospital (SGH) shares how you can still have an effective workout at home. (iStock photo)

"Even if the weather is preventing you from exercising outdoors, or if you do not have access to sophisticated exercise machines – with the right attitude and guidance, getting an effective workout at home is still possible. But you will need some essentials to begin with," says the team at the Department of Physiotherapy and LIFE Centre (Lifestyle Improvement and Fitness Enhancement) at Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the SingHealth group.

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Home fitness essentials

Elastic resistance bands can be used to train the muscles of the arms, chest, shoulders and hips. It gives a similar toning effect as some gym equipment if you select the appropriate band resistance.

Many machines in the gym use stacked weights as resistance to add load to movements, leading to strengthening effects. Body weight can be used as a substitute for the stacked weights to achieve the same effect.

Toning exercises such as push-ups, dips, partial crunches and half-squats are useful to strengthen and tone major muscle groups.

Other affordable and useful items are a skipping rope for a good cardiovascular workout, free weights for strength-building and toning, and a gym ball to improve flexibility and maintain body balance. An exercise mat is useful too.

For cardiovascular or aerobic training, the most important item to have is an appropriate pair of walking or running shoes. Inappropriate footwear can potentially lead to injuries. If you are unsure, it is best to seek the advice of a sports physician, podiatrist or physiotherapist.

Fitness books and exercise videos are widely available and provide useful instructions for home-based workouts. Otherwise, you can consider talking to a fitness instructor or a professional.

The main thing is to listen to your body. You should not experience any pain during or after the exercise. Mild soreness over one to two days is normal but acute bone or joint pain that does not subside with time means you are doing something wrong.

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Exercising safely

The key to exercising safely and effectively at home is to stay focused and minimise distractions. Target to have at least 30 minutes exercise at moderate intensity, several days a week, to stay fit.

Once you have established a routine, home workouts can be effective. The best part is you can do it anytime, rain or shine, and it doesn't cost much to start.

When the weather clears up, you can add variety and change of environment to your fitness regime by taking up cycling, jogging, swimming or engaging in a sport.

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