You probably already know that daily exercise has countless benefits. Regular sweat sessions create a solid foundation for your physical and mental health. Being physically active every day improves your cardiovascular fitness, boosts your mood, increases your muscle strength, and helps you manage your weight. While the benefits of exercise are obvious, you might not realise just how easy it is to fit daily exercise into your routine.
To help you find a way to squeeze regular workouts into your routine, we’ve put together a list of ten exercises you can do anytime, anywhere. These simple moves can be adapted to any fitness level and require no equipment.
Ready to get on the path to a healthy and active lifestyle? Here is your step-by-step guide to the top ten essential daily workouts.
To get yourself motivated to embark on a regular exercise routine, it is crucial to really lock down your reason for starting. Simply thinking that it’s good for you or wanting to fit into an old pair of jeans probably isn’t enough to keep you motivated day after day. To help you lock down a true sense of importance and value in your daily routine, let’s look at some of the benefits of exercise.
- Improved Cardiovascular Health: Exercise helps strengthen your heart, lowers your blood pressure, improves your circulation, and reduces your risk of heart disease. Ultimately, improved heart health means living longer and having a better quality of life.
- Weight Management: Daily physical activity helps weight loss and weight maintenance by burning calories and boosting your metabolism. On top of burning calories, research has found that people who workout regularly are less tempted by high-calorie and unhealthy treats.
- More Muscle Strength: Exercise helps build and tone muscles, which can help your posture and protect against injuries. More than just helping you lift heavy things and look a bit more muscular, workouts improve the strength of your muscles, tendons, and even your ligaments and bones. That means that you are less likely to be injured, which is especially important as you age.
- Increased Flexibility and Better Range of Motion: Regular stretching and exercises will enhance your flexibility and joint function.
- Better Mood: As tough and tiring as it might feel at the time, exercise is incredible for your mood. It releases endorphins, reduces your stress level, lowers your anxiety, and can help with common symptoms of depression.
- Improved Energy Levels: Regular exercise boosts your energy level and helps to keep those feelings of fatigue at bay. This boost helps you concentrate better and can actually go a long way in improving your quality of life because it makes you feel like you have enough energy to do the things that you really want to do.
- Improved Sleep: Exercise can help you regulate your sleep patterns so that you fall asleep faster and wake up feeling more refreshed. When you get in a daily sweat session, you will also find that consistent activity does an incredible amount to improve the quality of your sleep.
- Bone Health: Weight-bearing exercises promote bone density, which is effective at reducing your risk of osteoporosis fracture. While this might not seem all that important when you are in your younger years, as you age, you will find that it is one of the key factors in staying healthy and active.
On top of making you feel better and generally improving your quality of life, exercise is an essential tool for keeping away the effects of ageing and a sedentary lifestyle. When you don’t find the time for regular physical activity, you put yourself at risk for a wide range of health consequences. To understand the true effect of not exercising, let’s take a look at some of the common side effects of an inactive style.
This is probably one of the most common and widely understood side effects of not exercising. As you probably know, a sedentary lifestyle can cause you to put on excess weight and have an increased level of body fat. People often think of gaining weight as an aesthetic issue, but the truth is that it has a major impact on your life and overall health.
Being overweight or obese can have a wide range of effects on your health and well-being. To fully appreciate the impact, let’s look at some common effects and associated health risks:
- Heart Disease: Excess weight can lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Type 2 Diabetes: Being overweight and having an unhealthy diet is one of the key risk factors for type 2 diabetes because it can cause insulin resistance in your body and lead to elevated blood sugar levels.
- Joint Problems: Carrying excess weight puts an additional level of strain on your joints. This takes its toll over time and leads to debilitating conditions like osteoarthritis and chronic joint pain.
- Mental Health: Being overweight can contribute to mental health issues, including depression and low self-esteem due to societal stigma and body image concerns.
- Infertility: Both men and women are more likely to experience fertility issues when they are obese or overweight.
- Increased Risk of Infections: Obesity affects your immune system, which makes you susceptible to infections and complications.
- Reduced Mobility: Carrying excess weight can limit your ability to get around and take part in sports. The more weight that you gain, the more limited your physical activity and overall mobility will become.
- Lower Life Expectancy: Obesity is associated with a shorter life expectancy because of the increased risk of chronic diseases such as muscle fatigue.
- Gastrointestinal Problems: Conditions like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and gallbladder disease are more common in people who are overweight.
It is a common misconception that if you are not overweight, you are healthy. While it is true that maintaining a healthy weight is one of the best things that you can do for your overall health, it is not the only piece of the puzzle. Being physically active is crucial to your general level of health and, even if you don’t gain weight due to a lack of exercise, the effects of not exercising will catch up with you. Here are a few common effects of inactivity.
- Muscle Weakness: Without exercise, your muscles can atrophy and weaken. This reduces your overall mobility level and strength.
- Cardiovascular Issues: A continual lack of exercise can lead to poor heart health and an increased risk of heart disease.
- Mental Health Problems: Sedentary living can contribute to stress, anxiety, and depression. These problems can make it hard to keep up an exercise routine and this often creates a cycle that is hard to escape.
- Lower Bone Density: Being inactive can lead to reduced bone density and an elevated risk of fractures. As you get older and more prone to falls and fragility, this becomes an increasingly urgent issue.
- Metabolic Disorders: A lack of physical activity and regular workout sessions can lead to metabolic issues such as insulin resistance and diabetes.
- Reduced Immunity: Regular exercise supports a strong immune system, while inactivity can weaken and make you more susceptible to everything from minor illness to serious disease.
As you know, maintaining a daily exercise routine is more than just a way to shed a few kilos or build muscle. Daily exercise is a gateway to a healthier, happier, and more energetic you. To help you get started with the key daily exercises that will make all the difference, we’ve broken each exercise down into step-by-step instructions.
Tip: Before you get started with a new workout routine, remember to start slowly and talk to a healthcare professional if you have any underlying health concerns. Make sure to do warm-ups before each exercise the reduce the chances of getting muscle cramps or sports injuries.
1. Walking or Running
Whether you are completely sedentary or fairly active and looking to take things to the next level, this is the place to start. Walking or running is always a good idea and it’s a totally free, no-equipment-needed exercise that can have serious effects. Here’s what to do.
- Find a comfortable pace. Push yourself but make sure you can still maintain a conversation.
- Wear proper shoes. You don’t need anything fancy but you do need supportive shoes that are in decent condition.
- If you haven’t been working out much, get started with 15 to 30-minute walks and then gradually increase the duration.
These can be intimidating, especially if you are just getting started with exercise, but they will make a huge difference in your overall fitness. Even if you feel like you can’t do a single push-up, get started.
- Start in a plank position. This alone is a great workout so if you are disappointed with the number of push-ups that you can do, return to this pose. It’s a powerful full-body workout.
- Lower your body to the ground, keeping your back straight.
- Push back up to the starting position.
- Do this as many times as possible. Each person will have a different goal so note the number that you start with and focus on gradually increasing.
Helpful Tip: Feel like you can’t do a push-up? Start small. Begin with a wall push-up and then progress to push-ups on your knees. As you feel stronger, progress to that plank pose.
3. Bodyweight Squats
This power no-equipment exercise will transform your body every time that you do it. While it can leave you tired out the next day if you haven’t been exercising, it builds up your muscles quickly and makes a major difference in your overall fitness.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Lower your body by bending your knees and pushing your hips back. Focus on creating the sensation that you are going to sit in a chair.
- Return to the starting position.
- Aim for two to three sets of 15 to 20 repetitions.
You can also try out deadlifts if you want to build more muscles. Deadlifts and squats are two different exercises and you can check out our article to learn more.
This is an effective full-body workout that you can do anytime, anywhere. Here’s how.
- Support your body on your forearms and toes.
- Keep your body in a straight line.
- Hold for 30 seconds to one minute.
- Repeat two or three times
To create strong and powerful legs that will support you all day every day and make sure that you can keep up with even the most demanding tasks, daily lunges are a great idea.
- Step forward with one leg and lower your body until your knees are bent at a 90 degree angle
- Return to the starting position and switch legs.
- Perform two or three sets of ten to 12 repetitions on each leg.
6. Tricep Dips
Want to build up your arm muscles and create a stronger overall physique? Here’s what you will want to do.
- Sit on the edge of any chair, sofa, bench, or other stable surface with your hands next to your hips.
- Lift your body off the surface by extending your arms.
- Lower your body and then push back up.
- Aim for two to three sets of ten to 15 repetitions.
7. Bicycle Crunches
For a strong core and powerful legs, pull out your yoga mat (or a thick towel) and work on this better-than-a-push-up move.
- Lie on your back with your hands behind your head.
- Bring your right elbow toward your left knee while extending your right leg.
- Alternate sides in a pedalling motion.
- Do two to three sets of 15 to 20 repetitions.
This move will make you feel like a superhero with its full-body tightening effect. Here’s how to make it work for you:
- Lie facedown with your arms extended in front of you.
- Lift your arms, chest, and legs off the ground.
- Hold for a few seconds and lower.
- Work through two to three sets of ten to 12 repetitions.
9. Yoga or Stretching
Yoga or pilates don’t have to be elaborate! Getting a full-body stretch can be as simple or elaborate as you want it to be. Whether you opt to do yoga classes, follow a YouTube video, or follow a list of guided moves, stretching is a powerful tool.
Helpful Tip: While it’s great to learn new stretching moves and yoga poses (and is often a good way to find and relieve tightness in areas that you didn’t know had it!)The main thing is to listen to your body. Do what feels good and linger in the positions that feel like they are relieving tensions. After you learn a few good techniques, you will find that these come to be second nature.
- Work through a strategic set of yoga poses or stretching exercises to boost your flexibility.
- Hold each stretch for 15 to 30 seconds and repeat until you feel your body loosen.
10. Jumping Jacks
Want to boost your heart health? Embrace cardio! You don’t have to spend hours at the gym or run at 5 a.m. to get an incredible effect. Here’s what to do instead.
- Stand with your feet together and arms at your sides.
- Jump while spreading your arms and legs apart.
- Return to the starting position.
- Perform two to three sets of 20 to 30 repetitions.
As you work through these exercises, try to keep a healthy perspective. Remember that it is important to start at your own fitness level and gradually progress. It is not a numbers game! If you feel like you have pushed yourself to your limit, leave it at that. Don’t obsess over how many reps you did or how long your workout is. Be honest with your effort level and be happy when you have met your own goals
The time it takes to see results from daily exercise. That exact timeline depends on factors like the type and intensity of exercise of the workout as well as your starting fitness level and consistency. Generally speaking, you can expect to notice improvements in your energy levels and mood within a few days to a week. Physical changes, such as increased muscle tone or weight loss, may become noticeable after a few weeks to a few months of regular exercise. Keep in mind that results may be gradual, so consistency is key.
Starting a new exercise routine can be challenging, and it is easy to make mistakes as a beginner. Here are a few common issues that you will want to try to avoid.
- Overexertion: Pushing too hard too soon can lead to injury. Start with manageable exercise and gradually increase intensity.
- Poor Form: Bad form can lead to injuries. It is important to pay attention to proper technique and forget about speed or reps as you are getting started with something new.
- Inadequate Warm-Up: Skipping warm-up exercises can lead to muscle strain. To prevent injury, always warm up before more intense workouts like HIIT or F45.
- Lack of Variety: Repeating the same exercises daily can lead to plateaus. Include a variety of exercises in your routine. While these ten daily workouts are a great place to start, any activity that you can do is a very good thing.
- Ignoring Rest: Rest days are essential for recovery. Overtraining can lead to fatigue and burnout.
Dealing with health conditions that make it hard to get started with daily exercise? Feeling overwhelmed with the process or just unsure of how to get started? Let’s talk! Our Singapore clinic team is here to help you become the very best version of yourself. Reach out to us at email@example.com, call +65 6235 8781, or send a message on WhatsApp at +65 8028 4572 to start on the path to becoming your very best self.
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About the Author
Dr James Tan is a highly skilled orthopaedic surgeon who has more than 10 years of experience in sports surgery and exercise medicine. He is a member of the elite Asian Shoulder and Elbow Group and a founding member of the Singapore Shoulder and Elbow Surgery Society.
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