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cartoon man doing press ups







cartoon lady working out

Forget expensive equipment or visits to the gym - here are some handy substitutes.

WARNING - If you have any health problems please check with your doctor/physician before undertaking any exercise.

  • Use the three minutes whilst cleaning your teeth for thigh squats to help tone upper legs and bottom.  Stand with feet hip-width apart, bend your knees and slowly lower your body down as if you were going to sit down, keeping back straight and knees directly above the feet.  Slowly return to standing position.  You can do approximately 15 of these whilst cleaning your teeth - do this night and morning and you are well on the way to keeping things toned.

I have to thank Anna Phillips for this most original suggestion.  I must admit, at my age, I am not sure I could manage to do two things at once!

  • Firstly, for normal exercises, a bath or beach towel on top of a folded blanket or rug will substitute as an exercise mat.
man doing sit ups
  • Sit on the floor with your legs straight, loop a towel around the ball of one foot and pull resisting with your foot.  Repeat on other leg.  This stretches the calves.

  • Using the same towel, stand up and hold the towel above your head, pull on the ends bending sidewards, first one side then the other (imagine you are at your local football match).  Make sure you stay upright when you bend - don't lean backwards or forwards.

  • To strengthen your thighs, when lying in a bath, try to raise your legs out of the water and keep there for a few moments - ONE AT A TIME OF COURSE OTHERWISE YOU ARE LIKELY TO DROWN.

  • Squeeze a ball, or similar object (tightly rolled up pair of socks) in each hand. A bit like a stress ball. This will strengthen your grip.

  • Keeping your leg straight, place your heel on something suitable at hip height, then bend forward getting your face as close to your knee as possible and, at the same time, your hands as close to your ankle.  Hold for 5 seconds the repeat with the other leg.

 cartoon baby in nappy, holding two bottles of milk

  • Tins of food or hand sized bottles or cans of soft drink make excellent hand weights for arm exercises.  Hold them in your hands by your side,then slowly raise your arms to shoulder height.  Repeat.
  • Using sleeves cut from an old blouse, shirt, jumper etc. or socks/tights, make some ankle weights by filling with rice, lentils, beans, (dried of course), sand or even clean cat litter - anything which is dry, clean and fairly heavy. Fill them to a weight of about 2 lb./900g and tie each end (to keep the filling in), leaving enough material each end to tie around your ankle. 

  • Lie on your back, making sure your lower back is flat on the ground, bend one knee and keep the  other straight.   Lift the straight leg as high as you can then gently lower back to the ground. Repeat using the other leg.



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