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Home exercises

Tamara Willner
Written by

Tamara Willner

Medically reviewed by

Fiona Moncrieff

5 min read
Last updated July 2024

There’s a misconception that for exercise to be effective, go to the gym, do a class, join parkrun, go swimming, or join a sports team for it to be effective, but these activities aren’t for everyone it’s important we find ways to keep moving at home.

Research has also shown that short sharp bursts of exercise can be just as effective at improving health markers such as blood sugar, blood pressure, and weight.

This guide will provide our top tips for exercising at home and examples of home workouts that are easily included in our daily routine and require no/little equipment for all fitness levels.

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Top tips to keep moving while at home

1) Get everyone involved

Whether it’s family, housemates, or children, try getting the whole household involved in exercise together. Not only is this a fun bonding activity for everyone, but it also creates a sense of accountability.

A good place to start is to discuss with everyone what exercise they’d like to try and set a time where you all agree to pause work/activities to try it. This could be anything from a yoga class in the living room to a dance class in the garden.

2) Snack on exercise

It’s a common myth that to benefit from exercise, you must perform it for long periods at a time. Exercising for shorter, more intense periods can provide just as many, if not more, health benefits than longer, less intense exercise sessions.

Snacking on exercise means fitting in short bursts of exercise to our day. This is a much more time-efficient way to keep moving for those of us with less time, whether it’s children or shift work.

Some examples of how to raise our heart rate in short bursts include:

  • Doing squats while the kettle is boiling
  • Walking up and down the stairs while on the phone
  • Doing wall push-ups while waiting for your food to heat up in the microwave
  • Doing sit-ups while your kids brush their teeth
  • This 5-minute kitchen workout.

3) Find something you enjoy

If we don’t enjoy the exercise we’re doing, we’re much less likely to feel motivated enough to turn it into a habit.

If you already know what exercise you enjoy, try to think of ways that you can keep it up while at home. For example, if you usually enjoy dance classes, consider doing online dance classes in your living room. If you’re new to exercising, try different things until you land on something you enjoy.

Consider trying indoor (e.g. living room/bedroom workouts) and outdoor (e.g. outside jog or garden/balcony workout) activities to see which you prefer. For the type of movement, you might try lower-impact exercise (e.g. yoga or pilates), resistance and strength training (e.g. bodyweight exercises like squats or push-ups), or aerobic/cardio exercises (e.g. running outside or aerobics).

4) Utilise free online content

From legs bums and tums to yoga, or pilates, there’s a huge amount of free online video content to help engage us with different types of exercise.

Since it’s free, you can try as many different ones as you like and switch things up if you get bored of some routines. Put the video up on your laptop, computer, tv, or even phone, and try to follow along with the instructors – think of it as though you have a free personal trainer!

5) Tie it into your routine

Especially while we’re at home for long periods, it’s important to ensure we exercise regularly. Here at Second Nature, we’ve studied behavioural science and learned that behaviour becomes a habit when we merge it into our daily routine.

The best way to build a habit is to tie it to a ‘trigger’. For example, it could be ‘every day after I make my bed in the morning, I’ll go to the living room for a workout’. Here, the trigger is making your bed. If we practise this behaviour enough, responding to the trigger will become automatic and become a habit.

Example workouts

Remember, when adjusting to exercising at home, try and build the behaviour into a habit. This means it’s not about fully exerting ourselves every time we exercise, but rather focussing on doing it regularly and tying it to a ‘trigger’, as we mentioned above. So simply turning up is an achievement in itself!

Below are some example workouts that require no equipment and can easily be done in our homes, for beginner, intermediate, and advanced fitness levels.

For all levels of exercise, it’s important to warm up beforehand, cool down afterwards, and exercise within our limits.


Make sure you warm up before and cool down after this routine. Perform each exercise for 30 seconds with a 30-second rest in between each exercise. Take a longer rest between exercises if you need to. You can do the entire routine as many times as you like; we suggest 1-3 times!


Exercise 1: chair squat [30 seconds]
[30 seconds rest]
Exercise 2: wide-leg inchworm [30 seconds]
[30 seconds rest]
Exercise 3: walking lunge [30 seconds]
[30 seconds rest]
Exercise 4: jumping jacks (step out) [30 seconds]
[30 seconds rest]
Exercise 5: tricep chair hold [30 seconds]
[30 seconds rest]
Exercise 6: uppercuts [30 seconds]



Follow along with this 30-minute routine for a full body strength and cardio workout, that engage a number of different muscle groups. If you’d like to use weights for the shoulder/arm exercises but don’t have any, use two full water bottles, shampoo bottles, or anything of a similar weight that you can find! The warm-up and cooldown are included in this routine.


Exercise 1: side chop [60 seconds]
Exercise 2: reverse lunges [60 seconds rest]
Exercise 3: lateral pulldowns [60 seconds]
Exercise 4: squats [60 seconds]
Exercise 5: shoulder side raises [60 seconds]
Exercise 6: peck deck [60 seconds]
Exercise 7: reverse lunges + tap [60 seconds]
Exercise 8: lateral flys + weight [60 seconds]
Exercise 9: narrow-wide marching [60 seconds]
Exercise 10: arm lifts + weight [60 seconds]
Exercise 11: quick step backs [60 seconds
Exercise 12: deadlifts + weight [60 seconds]
Exercise 13: side lunges [60 seconds]
Exercise 14: diagonal chop [60 seconds]
Exercise 15: forward jabs [60 seconds]



The routine below is a higher-intensity interval style home workout, with a warm-up and cooldown included. There are six exercises that should be completed in 40-second intervals with 20-second breaks between. The entire routine is completed three times over, but if this is too challenging, consider trying one or two rounds and working your way up each time.


Exercise 1: single leg burpee, right leg [40 seconds]
[20 seconds rest]
Exercise 2: side lying hip raise, right side [40 seconds]
[20 seconds rest]
Exercise 3: single leg burpee, left leg [40 seconds]
[20 seconds rest]
Exercise 4: side lying hip raise, left side [40 seconds]
[20 seconds rest]
Exercise 5: spring pushes [40 seconds]
[20 seconds rest]
Exercise 6: squat-lunge kick [40 seconds]


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Write a response

Ann Simpson

8 June, 2023

like the manageable excercises. Will try them. Thankyou.

Lesley Feldon

21 March, 2022

The workouts are too intense for those who are very overweight and who have problems standing for any length of time. In my opinion, there should be instruction on how to modify and adapt them so they’re good for all?


24 March, 2022

Hi Lesley,

Thank you for your comment and feedback! You’re completely right that there should be adaptable options. We might recommend starting by increasing your daily steps each day, is this manageable for you?

If you have Apple Health or Google Fit on your phone, you can track your daily steps and work to increase your steps little by little each day, or set a particular step count goal each week, slowly increasing that goal as you feel able.

Stationary bikes or swimming/water aerobics are also great options to get started with physical activity: they relieve the pressure of standing from your feet and legs.

We hope this is helpful! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email 🙂

Alison Evans

20 July, 2021

Thanks 🙏

jacky white

3 July, 2020

i am not sure about workouts i have tried them before to no avail but i can go for walks and ride a horse once a week and do other exercise i live on a farm and feed animals which involves lifting etc

Siahara Shyne Carter

14 May, 2020

my muscles that time is bigger than most Guyz lol There was times When my boy mates and I have COMPETITION in Arm Wrestling and Believe it or Not I even beat the fat guy in the room Hahaha Just good times! I beat all boys girls even Weak Only fun in the classroom because We are all bored We decide to do Arm Wrestling

Siahara Shyne Carter

14 May, 2020

When I’m in high school I used to exercise everyday It gives me More Confident. Many of my mates compliment of my Perfect Body I was just flattered. It also keeps us healthy INSIDE and OUT

Carol Gray

11 April, 2020

These are great. The advanced section took me back to my morning fitcamp from before we moved. I loved fitcamp and really miss going. I haven’t been able to find anything similar since we moved. I must have another look around when all this is over. It was so enjoyable that your motivation stayed with you all the time.

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