Toning exercises at home

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thMWSQCFSHAs summer approaches we have been trying to get more active and toned up for the holidays. Last month was National Walking Month and on my blog we looked at ways of incorporating more walking into our daily routines. Sometimes it is just more practical to find ways of doing more exercise in our homes and as part of everyday life, than trying to squeeze in more outings to the gym. So this week I thought I’d share with you some great ideas for toning exercises you can do at home. Toning up is really important if you are looking to get in shape. Even if you are losing weight, once those inches go, improving the muscle tone underneath is essential to looking good. So try some of these toning exercises at home. You could do them all twice a week, or perhaps do one section each day.

Side leg raises – outer thighs

  1.  Stand up straight, directly behind a table or chair, feet slightly apart. Hold onto the table to help keep your balance.
  2. Take 3 seconds to lift your right leg 6 to 12 inches out to the side (keeping right leg straight). Keep your back straight and a little bit of a bend in your left leg. (Hold your abdomen in and do not arch your back). Don't point your toes outward; keep them facing forward. Hold the position for 1 second.
  3. Take 3 seconds to lower your leg back to the starting position.
  4. Repeat with left leg.
  5. Alternate legs, until you have repeated the exercise 8 to 15 times with each leg.
  6. Rest; do another set of 8 to 15 alternating repetitions.

Inner thigh leg raises

  1. Stand up straight, sideways onto a table or chair, feet slightly apart. Hold onto the table/chair with your left hand to help keep your balance.
  2. Take 3 seconds to lift your right leg 6 to 12 inches across your body towards the table/chair (keeping right leg straight). Keep your back straight and a little bit of a bend in your left leg. (hold your abdomen in and do not arch your back). Don't point your toes toward the table; make sure your heel is pointing towards the table/chair.
  3. Take 3 seconds to lower your leg back to the starting position.
  4. Repeat 8 – 15 times. Repeat with left leg.
  5. Repeat with left leg
  6. Rest; do another set on each leg of 8 to 15 repetitions.

Tummy

  1. Lie down on the floor on your back and bend your knees, placing your hands behind your head.
  2. You should be able to get your fingertips just under the side of your back, but not all the way under, don’t flatten your back into the floor.
  3. Slowly contract your abdominals, bringing your shoulder blades about one or two inches off the floor.
  4. Exhale as you come up and keep your neck straight, chin up.
  5. Slowly lower back down.
  6. Repeat for 8 to 15 repetitions with perfect form for each rep.
  7. To add variation, bring your knees in at the same time you lift your upper body off the floor (full body crunch)

Upper body – chest and upper arms

  1. Get onto all fours on the floor (on a mat or towel under the knees). Hands under shoulders, knees directly under your hips.
  2. Bend your elbows and lower your chest to the floor (make sure your nose goes down in front of your fingertips)
  3. Push back up.
  4. Repeat 8 – 15 times, rest and then repeat again.
  5. Alternative (using a toning band or 2 x bottles full of water) lie on your back, arms bent at elbows, fists towards the ceiling. Straighten your arms towards ceiling, hands touch together, back to start position.

Bingo wing worker

  1. Stand feet hip width apart, knees slightly bent, tummy in. Or sit up straight on a chair.
  2. Dangle one end of the band down your back with your right hand, hold onto the other end of the band with your left hand.
  3. (you could also hold a light weight or bottle full of water or tin of beans instead of a toning band)
  4. Extend your right arm at the elbow and then bend again. This is working the tricep (the bingo wing bit!)
  5. Repeat 12-15 times, change arms and repeat.