Four-part plan to get fit in lockdown – without having to visit the gym

Visits to the gym might not be an option just yet.

But even before the coronavirus outbreak, all the money, time and effort it took to be a dedicated gym-goer were not practical for a lot of people.

According to fitness expert Svava Sigbertsdottir, though, there are many benefits to working out in the comfort of your own front room.

And exercises that focus on improving balance and coordination can help save you from falls, as well as help prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia.

‘Processing speed and direction improves brain function and cognitive thinking,’ explains Svava.

Here, she shares some tips for home fitness based on her Mobility Cards exercise plan, plus some tips on making sure you stay safe while working out.

Woman doing yoga stretching back
Stretching well can ease a range of aches and pains

Finding motivation

If you haven’t exercised in a while, building up the motivation to do it can be a challenge. Svava suggests starting a workout with a ‘power pose’.

‘Stand with your feet hip-distance apart, chest out and hands on your hips. Tilt your chin upwards and tell yourself you are strong and capable.’

This positive affirmation will put you in the right frame of mind, then do as much as you can. ‘Anything is better than nothing,’ she insists.

Fitness expert Svava Sigbertsdottir
Fitness expert Svava Sigbertsdottir

Mobility-boosting moves

The Mobility Card deck is made up of five groups of five exercises, a simple warm-up and some post-workout stretches. You can increase or decrease the sets or reps if you need to.

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‘You can get a full-body workout without having to think,’ explains Svava. ‘Each set engages your legs, core and upper body while helping improve balance, coordination and rotation.’

Fancy having a go? Here are four of our favourite exercises to get you started…

1. Arms in, one leg up – 10 reps on each leg

Exercises are still effective when done seated – this is great if you have a bad back.

Easily done while seated

– Sit on a chair and lift one leg off the floor, keeping it straight and parallel to the floor.

– With shoulders back and core engaged, extend both your arms out to the sides, palms facing forwards.

–Bring your arms together in front of your chest, so your palms are now facing each other, while keeping your leg up and straight.

2. Punch-up with knee-up – 30 seconds

Moving from one leg to the other with alternate arm movements will aid balance and coordination.

Ideal for limb coordination

– From standing, bend your elbows, roll your hands into fists and bring them up to your face, keeping your elbows tucked in by your sides.

– With your core engaged, punch the right hand straight up while lifting your left knee up to hip height.

– Bring your arm and knee back down and switch to the other side.

3. One-legged swings – 30 seconds on each leg

Any exercise you do on one leg strengthens the knees.

Hold onto the side of a chair

– Using the back of a chair for support, keep your left leg slightly bent and shift your weight onto it.

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– Swing the right leg forward and backwards, stopping when it’s at a 45 degree angle from the floor.

– Keep your core engaged and make sure your torso doesn’t move at all.

– In time, practise without the chair.

4. Backward rotations – 12 reps alternating sides

Rotating your body improves mobility and flexibility.

Improves mobility and flexibility

– Begin standing with arms straight out in front of you at shoulder height.

– Bend both elbows and bring the tips of your left and right hand fingers towards each other.

– Leading with your elbow, rotate tour torso right and extend your right arm completely. Feel the stretch in your waist and shoulder.

– Return to centre and repeat on the opposite side. Keep your core engaged and torso straight.

Staying safe

Exercising at home on your own can be daunting, but Svava has created The Mobility Cards, a set of exercises designed with older joints and muscles in mind.

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‘Every move is either standing or sitting and you can adjust according to your range of motion. All you need is yourself, a chair and you’re good to go,’ says Svana.

‘I’ve avoided routines where you have to come down to the floor and get back up again because that can be quite hard. The wrists become sensitive as we age, so bearing weight on them can feel uncomfortable.’

– Svava Sigbertsdottir is the founder of the Viking Method and creator of the Mobility Cards exercise plans. For more information CLICK HERE

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