Simple exercise tips for all ages

A woman doing a bicep curl with hand weights.

Stay active while you stay home, no matter what your age or fitness level, thanks to these simple tips from our expert trainers.

During the temporary closure of our recreation centres due to COVID-19, Melburnians have been finding creative ways to mix up their exercise routines. Many are enjoying our new Active Melbourne app.

If you don’t have a smart device, or you’re just wondering where to start, here are some free and easy ways to create a daily exercise routine using only what is around your home.

Stay safe
Remember to take it easy at first, especially if you’re not used to being active. While it’s important to challenge yourself, safety should be your top priority. Get advice from your doctor or health professional if you have any concerns about these types of movements.

1. Stay hydrated

Drink plenty of water to boost your immune system and brain function. This can help you think more clearly and reduce feelings of depression and moodiness.

Always choose water over soft drinks, sports drinks or juice, and remember that caffeinated beverages like coffee and tea can act as a diuretic, further increasing the body’s dehydration.

Subtle signs of dehydration are often mistaken for hunger, so have one or two glasses of water and wait 20 to 30 minutes to see if you still feel hungry.

2. Discover your (free) home gym

Use what’s around your home to assist your exercises. For example, hold onto a bench or sturdy chair while you do squats, leg kicks (to the front, side and back), and calf raises (raise and lower yourself on your tip-toes).

To perform lower-impact push-ups, put your hands against a wall or bench. Or to focus on leg strength and cardio, climb stairs.

3. Use canned food as weights

Rather than reaching for a snack, grab some tinned food and use the cans as weights for resistance training. Performing very slow, controlled motions for 60 seconds at a time can help build up your strength.

Holding the cans, you can do bicep curls (both arms at the same time, or alternating), shoulder raises (lift your straight arm out to the front, side and back), and shoulder presses (raise the cans straight up above your head).

4. Keep your balance

Hold onto a chair or wall and stand on one leg for 30 to 60 seconds at a time. As you gain confidence, move the foot around (to the front, side or back), or hold out your arms and try to touch your nose while still standing on one leg.

You can try this exercise with your eyes open and closed, and with or without shoes.

5. Have a good stretch

Take time to stretch your muscles several times a day, especially if you are sitting for long periods of time. This is also a great opportunity to drink water and move around.

The City of Melbourne offers a range of structured virtual and in-person wellbeing activities for older people. To browse our upcoming events, visit Community programs and events.

Australian Multicultural Community Services also offers free video classes in yoga, Tai Chi and line dancing, to name a few. Search for ‘Moving for Life AMCS’ on Facebook to find the videos.

Download our Active Melbourne app
Want more fitness content? Download our free Active Melbourne app from Apple’s App Store or Google Play to access home workout programs for people of all ages and fitness levels that require no equipment.

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