It can be difficult to know which exercise is the right exercise for a particular body part, so why not choose exercises that work lots of muscles at once? We’ve chosen three of our favourite all-body exercises and will break them down for you here:
Walking and running
A classic! An oldie, but a goodie, walking or running is a great all over body exercise. It works lower and upper leg, your buttocks, core, and even your arms! If you’re not much of a mover, start small with 15-minute walks, and build it up over time. Once you’re happily walking 30 minutes, start doing intervals, like running for 30-seconds and walking for two minutes (or more). Over time, increase your running time, decrease your walking time and soon enough you’ll be jogging for 30-minutes flat! Runners – interval training is great to mix up your training too. Try running at 90% effort for a minute, and then jogging for a minute. Play around with your run/jog times depending on your fitness and goals.
These are a very popular exercise, and for good reason. These strengthen your lower body and back. Start with no added weights to ensure you have good technique. Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Keeping your back straight, push your bottom outwards to mimic sitting in a chair – try to keep your weight through your big and little toes, and your heels. When your thighs are parallel with the ground, return to the start position giving your buttocks a squeeze on the way back up. Keep your knees over your toes (which should point forward) – don’t let your knees waver in or out! A good progression is to add weight when you are ready; start with 1-2kg in each hand (or use bottles of water or books in shopping bags!) and work your way up! Eventually you can add weighted arm movements during or after your squat to get that whole-body work out. You can also do squats while brushing your teeth or waiting for the kettle to boil!
Box Jumps or step ups
This is another lower body exercise but is also a great calorie burner and really engages the whole body to perform. You need a box (we strongly advise against cardboard ones!) or a strong raised surface that will take your weight with no issues (like a step/platform). Jump up onto the box, landing with both feet and raise to a standing position. Then jump back down and repeat. Start slow and low and build up to faster and higher jumps. Of course, if you aren’t quite at jumping yet, or you have any lower body injuries or heart problems, try stepping up and down to start. Try not to let your weight shift side-to-side too much as you step up. Start by doing 3 x 30secs, building up to 3 x 1-minute sets. Or try 3 x 10 jumps, building up to more as you progress. Make sure your knees and toes point forward, and if in doubt, start small!
If you are new to all this, come and speak to us, your local physiotherapist, so we can assess your movement and highlight any areas you may need to work on before getting into full body workouts. Also, if you have any type of heart problem, disease, disorder, or are holding any injuries, come and see us first so that we can make sure you are doing the right exercises for you!