These days, people are leading increasingly sedentary lifestyles. The average office workday consists of five hours and 41 minutes sitting of sitting – over 60,000 hours during a working career!
And we’re not much better when we come home, with most people admitting to spending more than two hours in front of the TV every night.
Government guidelines recommend 30 minutes of cumulative exercise a day to ward off obesity and reduce the risk of heart disease.
So, how can you get in your 30 minutes without missing an episode of Corrie?
1. Settee Side Planks
The side plank is a standard exercise for working the oblique muscles and developing core strength.
Lie on the settee (facing the telly, naturally), and prop your upper body up on your elbow and forearm.
Keep your core in place by contracting your abs, and raise your hips until your body forms diagonal line from your ankles to shoulders. Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat for ten sets.
Then turn round and do the same on the other side.
2. Settee Push Ups
Push Ups are a great all-rounder, and if performed properly can increase core strength and exercises muscles in the chest, shoulders, triceps, back, abs and legs. Settee push-ups are slightly harder than the traditional push-up, so in this case you can get even more from not leaving the couch!
To perform, get into the standard push-up position; palms on floor and arms straight, with the balls of your feet resting on the couch cushion.
Make sure your hips are lifted so that the body forms a straight line from head to heels.
Then, bend your elbows to lower chest toward floor, and repeat for twenty repetitions.
3. Sofa Dips
The ‘sofa dip’ exercises the pectoral muscles, as well as those bingo wings at the back of the arms.
To get into position, sit on the arm of your settee with both hands placed on the edges at either side of your body. Make sure your knees are apart (about hip-width) and feet flat on the floor with your legs at right angles.
Then shuffle your bottom off the settee and support your weight with your arms. Then lower your body towards the floor by bending the elbows. Keep your back straight and your abdominal muscles tight. Straighten up slowly and repeat for twenty reps.
4. Couch Crunches
Probably the most common abdominal exercise, doing your crunches will put you well on your way to a flat stomach.
Lie on your back on the floor, with legs resting on the seat of the sofa and knees bent and place your hands by your ears.
Making sure your lower back stays on the floor, lift your shoulders by working the abdominal muscles. Hold for three seconds and repeat for twenty reps.
5. Tricep Extensions
Another one to hit the bingo wings, the tricep extensions exercise tones the backs of the upper arms.
To do this exercise you’ll need either a hand-weight, or if you’ve not got one, a litre bottle of water of tin of beans will do.
Rest your right hand and knee on the seat of the settee, with your left foot flat on the floor. With your weight in your left hand, bend your elbow to approximately 90 degrees so that your upper arm is parallel to the floor. Extend your forearm down so that the whole arm is straight, hold for a few seconds and then return to the 90° angle. Continue for 30 reps and then change sides.
Regular exercise can boost self-esteem and help you concentrate, sleep, look and feel better. Try these five core exercises next time you find yourself in front of the box and see how much better you feel.
This article was written by Laura Moulden on behalf of AHF, the carpets and furniture specialists.