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Covid-19 Lockdown: Simple Exercises You Can Do At Home

| Reviewed By Susan Jennifer

On 24 March 2020, the Prime Minister ordered all 1.3 billion people in the country to stay inside their homes for three weeks, to stop the spread of the coronavirus, which has taken the lives of 24,096 people since its advent in December 2019 in Wuhan.

"There will be a total ban of coming out of your homes. Every state, every district, every lane, every village will be under lockdown," said the PM on Tuesday night, giving the citizens less than four hours' notice before the order took effect at 12:01 a.m.

With people ordered to stay at home for all hours, unless there is an unavoidable urgency, the whole nation is in lockdown. Along with the number of institutions shut down, your sanctuary - your place of sweat and hard work - too is shut down. Yes, we are talking about your gym. You may be unable to go pump some weights in the gym to keep your body fit, but did you know that there are several exercises you can do at your own home?

Today, we will list down 12 simple exercises you can do from home. And that too, without the use of any types of equipment.

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1. Superman

An easy-to-do exercise, the superman is beneficial for anyone with lower back pain [1]. Considering the long hours you will be spending sitting during the lockdown, this exercise can help strengthen your lower and upper back as well as your core strength [2].

How to do:

  • Lie on your stomach on a mat with your legs extended and arms outstretched in front of you.
  • Raise both your arms and legs at the same time (10-15 cm off the floor).
  • Keep your head in a neutral position in line with your spine.
  • Hold this position for a few seconds.
  • Then, lower back to the starting position.
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2. Push-up

One of the most common exercises practised, push-ups are a great exercise to give you endurance. It also helps build your strength, stamina, burn calories, and increase mental toughness [3].

How to do:

  • Lie on the ground and put your palms on the sides of your chest.
  • Slightly bending your elbows, push your body up until your arms are almost straight.
  • Then, slowly lower your body back down to the floor till your elbow is bent to 90 degrees and push yourself back up.
  • Do 2-3 sets of 12 repeats.
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3. Jumping Jack

Beneficial for the whole body, jumping jacks are the best cardio exercises. Performing jumping jacks on a regular basis can help make your heart stronger, muscles stronger, and helps in weight loss [4]. It is also beneficial for uplifting your mood instantly and helps relieve stress.

How to do:

  • Stand straight with your feet together and hands on your sides.
  • Jump along with raising your arms above your head and bring your feet apart.
  • Reverse the movement and come back to the original position.
  • Then, start doing it faster.
  • Do for 45 to 60 secs to get good effect of the exercise.
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4. Downward-facing Dog

One of the most beneficial poses for relieving constipation, the downward-facing dog position stretches your entire body and releases tension. Practising this exercise will stretch your muscles to provide relief to the muscle pains [5].

How to do:

  • Stand on your four limbs, also known as the table pose.
  • Gently lift your hips while exhaling and straightening your knees and elbows.
  • The hands should be in line with your shoulders, and your feet in line with the hips.
  • Toes should be pointed outwards.
  • Press your hands lightly into the ground and then, stretch your neck.
  • Turn your gaze to your navel and stay in that position for a few seconds.
  • Come to the original position by bending your knees and returning to the table position.
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5. Crunches

By doing crunches, along with that of a healthy diet and other physical activities, you can get rid of those excess and unwanted fat accumulated around your waist. Also, abdominal crunches are designed to tone the core muscles of the body [6]. Crunches are of different types.

Regular crunch:

  • Lie on your back on an exercise mat.
  • Plant your feet on the ground, hip-width apart.
  • Bend your knees and place your arms across your chest.
  • Contract your abs and inhale.
  • Exhale and lift your upper body, keeping your head and neck relaxed.
  • Inhale and return to the starting position.

Twisted crunch:

  • Lie flat on a floor mat on your back, with knees at a 90-degree angle.
  • Place your hands behind your head or across your chest (Beginners should place them across the chest).
  • Curl your torso towards your knees, lifting the shoulder blades off the ground.
  • When curling up twist so that one elbow is pointing at its opposite knees.
  • Hold the curled position and contract the abdominal muscles for 2 seconds.
  • Repeat to the other side.
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6. Plank

This exercise helps in strengthening your core, increase muscle definition and reduce back pain. This also helps in stretching out your leg muscles, like most other exercises that are effective for increasing your height [7]. It also helps strengthen your core, increase muscle definition and reduce back pain.

How to do:

  • Lie on the floor by facing down.
  • Place your elbows under your shoulders and stretch out your legs.
  • Tuck in your abs and raise yourself up off the ground.
  • Maintain a straight line from head to your heel, look down at the floor and do normal breathing.
  • Stay in the position for 30 seconds and do 2 to 3 sets initially, later increase the hold time up to 60secs.
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7. Cobra

The exercise pose gets its name as it resembles a cobra just before its attack. It is a posture usually recommended for various health ailments [8]. The cobra pose relieves stress off your back muscles and improves the mobility of spine.

How to do:

  • Lie down on your stomach and keep your legs close together and toes flat on the ground.
  • Put your palms beside your shoulder and let the forehead rest on the ground.
  • Inhale deeply and raise your head up to the naval region.
  • Try to see the roof.
  • Maintain the position up to 20 to 30 seconds.
  • Inhale and exhale deeply throughout.
  • Come back to the original position while exhaling deeply.
  • Repeat the process 4-5 times.
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8. Squats

This exercise is called as the "King of the exercise". Doing this exercise help strengthen your muscles and joints of the lower body.[9].

How to do:

  • Start with a normal standing position by keeping your legs in your hip-width distance.
  • Lower yourself into a squat by lowering your hips back and down and while bending your knees should not cross the ankles and forward.
  • Force yourself up with your legs as you come up out of the squat.
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9. Lunges

An effective good work out on the core that helps you strengthen your lower body and mobility in your hips [10].

How to do:

  • Keep your spine neutral and head up, then place your hands on the hips and step forward with one foot until your thigh is parallel to the ground.
  • Drop your back knee down and balance on your back toes.
  • While doing this, keep your back straight in line with our back knee and thigh.
  • Go back to your position by pushing off your front foot and stepping the legs together.
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10. Hip Rotation

This exercise helps prepare your body for activity. Hips usually get a bit stiffer because of long sitting hours, so by doing this it helps in improving the mobility of the hip joint also. [11].

How to do:

  • Stand on the floor with your feet set apart.
  • Place both your hands on your hips.
  • Then, start moving your hips in a circular motion to the left for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat the same to the right.
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11. Glute Bridge

Great for improving hip mobility and strengthening your lower back, glute bridges are extremely beneficial for a desk-bound worker [12].

How to do:

  • For this one, you need to lie down on your back, bend your knees and bring them to parallel by keeping some distance.
  • Then, push at the bottom of your feet and raise your glutes (butt) up by extending your hips.
  • Hold this position for good 20 to 30secs and repeat 3 to 5 times.
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12. Single-leg Stand

A simple but effective exercise for improving balance and ankle strength, the single-leg stand may help you prevent falls that can cause serious injury [13].

How to do:

  • Stand upright with your feet together.
  • Have a stable object like a chair or kitchen counter nearby so you can grab it if you start to feel unsteady.
  • Lift one foot off the ground.
  • Do not to allow your legs to touch.
  • Hold the position for 30-60 seconds.
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On A Final Note…

As most of us are working from home during the covid-19 lockdown, the aforementioned simple yet effective exercises can help move your body and avoid the risks of several health conditions such as obesity, increased blood pressure, high blood sugar and high cholesterol.

So, worry not about your gym being closed but be thankful that you have a space to work out. In addition to this, make sure you follow a healthy diet and get yourself some sunlight - through the windows or the doors of course. Be aware and do not panic. Stay home. Stay safe.

Susan JenniferPhysiotherapist
Masters in Physiotherapy
Susan Jennifer