Military Preparation College

5 simple exercises to add to your daily routine

28th February 2017 Highlight PR

Fitness and physical training lies at the heart of each and every day here at MPCT. Through our ‘active learning’ curriculum, we offer a balanced mix of classroom learning and outdoor exercise.

But to reach maximum fitness levels and make bigger strides towards reaching personal goals, exercise must be part of your daily routine: day in, day out, and no excuses.

Nathan Gibbons, Head of Learning & Development at MPCT, provides his top 5 exercises that can be done equipment free and in and around the house – so there’s never a reason not to keep active!

  1. Body weight squats

Squats are great for working all of your leg muscles, as well as your core. They are one of the most valuable exercises you can do.

To perform a body weight squat, legs should be a little wider than hip-width apart, feet slightly pointed outwards, back straight, shoulders pulled down and arms out straight in front so they are parallel to the ground. You then simply bend your knees (as if you are about to sit on a chair), and then straighten them back up again.

Number of squats to do: Week 1, 5 sets of 10; week 2, 5 sets of 15; week 3, 5 sets of 20 – in the morning and evening

Rest time: 30-60 seconds between each set, and reduce at your own pace as you get stronger

Easier option: Half squats (bend down half as far)

Harder option: Jump into each squat

  1. Press ups

Another great exercise that can be done in the morning and before bed are press ups. These are great for strengthening the chest, core, arms and shoulders.

To safely perform a press up, place your hands firmly on the ground, directly beneath your shoulders, with legs out straight and feet slightly apart. Then bend your arms to lower your chest towards the floor, and then push back up to straighten arms again.

Number of press ups to do: Week 1, 5 sets of 10; week 2, 5 sets of 15; week 3, 5 sets of 20 – in the morning and evening

Rest time: 30-60 seconds between each set, and reduce at your own pace as you get stronger

Easier option: Place knees on the floor to take the weight off your arms

 

Harder option: Bring your hands closer together

  1. The Plank

While the plank may seem like an easier version of a press up, it actually takes a great deal of strength and endurance to hold the position. However, it’s worth the pain as the plank is one of the best exercises available for improving core strength, glutes and hamstrings. It also helps to improve balance.

To perform the plank, get in to a press up position, but then lower yourself to put your weight on to your elbows and forearms and clasp hands together.

How long to hold a plank: Week 1, 30 seconds on 30 seconds off X 4; week 2, 45 seconds on 45 seconds off X 3; week 3, 1 minute on, 1 minute off X 2. Then, why not challenge yourself to see how long you can hold it? Repeat in the morning and evening.

Harder option: Try raising one leg at a time while holding the plank.

  1. Alternate Leg Lunges

Leg lunges are another great exercise that can be carried out using no equipment from the comfort of your living room. Like squats, these work all of your leg muscles and core, and can be done in three different ways to alter the intensity.

To do a leg lunge, you start by standing up straight with your legs slightly apart. You then step forward and bend your legs until they are both at a 90-degree angle, then push back up to return to your starting position.

Number of lunges to do: Week 1, 5 sets of 10; week 2, 5 sets of 15; week 3; 5 sets of 20 – in the morning and evening

Rest time: 30-60 seconds between each set, and reduce at your own pace as you get stronger

Easier option: Half lunges

Harder option: Jump into each lunge

  1. Running

Cardio is incredibly important for improving stamina, and running is a great equipment-free option.

At first, try running 15 minutes away from home, have a couple of minutes’ rest, and then try to beat the time it took you when returning home. Creating a competition with yourself is a great way to keep motivated.

Then try to build upon the time – adding 5 minutes on each week.

How often to go on a run: 3-5 times a week

 

We’ve given the advice and now it’s over to you to follow it! Following the 5 exercises given should only take around 20 minutes in the morning and the evening, so you don’t have to sacrifice too much time to see big results. You can even do some of these while in front of the TV!

Stay motivated while running by listening to music or podcasts to make it more enjoyable. And of course, keep your goal firmly in mind to keep you going.

At MPCT, fitness and health is at the heart of everything that we do. So far we’ve helped over 10,000 young people reach their individual fitness goals and we plan to continue offering support and guidance, in hope of seeing more learners thrive physically and mentally.

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