Toning up doesn’t have to be complicated, and it’s possible to give your legs and bum a really good workout (and build muscle strength) with just a few key moves, even when sitting in front of the TV.
Studies have shown that breaking up exercise into smaller bursts is just as good when it comes to living a long and healthy life, as long as you get your heart rate up.
So, who needs the gym when you’ve got a commercial break? Give these five moves a go during the TV breaks — or pause your favorite show every 30 minutes for five minutes of exercise.
A great way to tone your thighs and butt:
Stand with feet a little wider than your shoulders and pointing at 10 and two on the clock face. Engage your core muscles and pull in your stomach.
Bend knees and push your bottom back as if sitting in an imaginary chair. Keep your knees behind your toes at all times (make sure you can see your toes).
Push back up to standing. Build up gradually to repeating 10 times and progress to three sets of 10 as you get stronger.
If your legs aren’t yet strong enough to complete a squat, try holding onto a (secure!) doorknob with both hands as you go down. Alternatively, squat with your back against a wall and a 20-inch diameter ball between your thighs to help with alignment.
Another squat variation — this time to get your heart rate up too. Stand in front of your couch or chair, feet slightly wider than your hips. Sit back into a squat until your butt grazes your seat — and spring back to standing as if your chair was on fire! Aim for as many as you can manage — around 10 is a great start.
With your back flat to a wall or door, slide down until your thighs are parallel to the floor, with your feet directly beneath your knees. Hold for as long as you can — it should start to burn in your thighs! Time yourself, and try to beat your record each time.
If you’ve got a sofa that’s long enough to lie down straight on, lie sideways with your hips facing straight and forward, legs extended and feet pointed. Bend your lower arm and rest your head in your hand. Draw in your stomach muscles to engage your core, and lift your top leg up as high as you can, keeping it straight. Count the number you can repeat (aim for 15-20) before swapping sides. It’s a good way to work the muscles in the side of your bum, as well as your thighs. No room on the sofa? Try it on the floor instead.
There are lots of other occasions you can add in some extra movement, here are some of our favorites:
Standing on one leg will not only improve your balance, but works muscles in your bottom, calf, ankle and foot. Don’t forget to swap sides.
Bring out your inner ballerina by tip-toeing around the house. It’s a good move for strengthening your arches and ankles, as well as targeting your balance.
Try some single leg raises to work your butt muscles. Standing straight, lift one leg out to the side, and quickly return it. Without putting your foot down, lift it again. Repeat until it starts to ache, and then do the same number on the other side.
How to Lose Weight Online
Lockdown made us all get more creative with our workouts to stay healthy and prevent unwanted weight gain. The great thing about online workouts is that many of them are free. Netflix, Amazon Prime and YouTube all offer a range of workout videos, from beginner to advanced, fun dance-based exercises to cardio boosters. Unless you have some dumbbells handy, look out for those that don’t require gym equipment.
Karen Hauer from Strictly Come Dancing has been doing some great workouts through lockdown, with a fun CardioKe that includes a seated option. So you get to sing along to some classics while you exercise.
Have a browse and see what works for you. The great thing is that there’s so much choice out there you’re sure to find a workout series that you love.
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Yours.