5 active uses for household items

Who says exercise needs to happen at the gym? For a great work out you won't even need to leave the house. Accredited Exercise Physiologist Emma Briskey writes on how everyday household items can be used as exercise equipment.


1. Cans, jugs and bottles


These make excellent (and cheap) weights. Start off with canned food and slowly move your way up to heavier items as you get stronger. Empty milk bottles filled with sand or water make great weights, particularly if they have handles. If you find you need a heavier weight, large laundry detergent bottles or even heavy books are a good option. Use the weight to do bicep curls or hold on to them while you do lunges or squats.


2. The kids' toys


Instead of cursing as you trip over the skipping ropes and hula hoops lying around the house, pick them up and give it a go. Skipping is a fantastic cardio exercise - and you'd be surprised at just how fun it is. Just 10 minutes of skipping can burn between 300 and 460 kilojoules - that's almost twice as much as walking for the same amount of time! Or try out the Hula Hoop to give your abs and hip muscles a great workout. Once you get the hang of the traditional Hula Hoop style, try it on one leg to improve your balance and engage your core muscles.


3. The back steps


Steps provide a great exercise station for a range of activities. If you have a number of steps, run or walk quickly up them and walk down slowly to recover. Rest for 1-2 minutes and repeat 3-5 times.

If you only have a few steps, use them for step ups. Step up with your left foot and then follow with your right leg, raising your right knee as close to your chest as possible (hold on to a railing or wall if needed).  Step back down with your right leg, followed by your left. Repeat 10-15 times on each leg, alternating your lead leg.  Step ups work your leg and buttocks muscles and also improve your balance.


4. The vacuum cleaner


Every time you vacuum or sweep complete a few sets of lunges for a quick leg workout. As you push the vacuum cleaner forward, take a big step forward and lunge. Make sure your front knee stays behind your toes. Repeat using your other leg. Talk about multi-tasking!


5. Babies and children


Include your kids in your exercise regime for some great bonding time. Cuddle your little one while doing squats and lunges to add a little extra weight to your workout.Lie them on the groundunder you while you do push ups and give them a kiss on your way down or do a plank and sing their favourite song while you hold the plank. For older kids get them out and active with you. Play basketball or soccer in the backyard, have scooter races or play tiggy. Not only will you have fun exercising but you will get your kids in the habit of being active every day too.