Easy muscle-building exercises you can do anywhere

Strong muscles bring many benefits to your health: improved posture, easier movement with less strain, help maintaining or even losing weight. The following exercises can be part of the everyday things you do.

Easy muscle-building exercises you can do anywhere

Climbing stairs

Take them two or three at a time. This strengthens the gluteal muscles in your buttocks and revs up your heart rate, boosting your cardiovascular fitness.

Playing leapfrog

  • You'll get a good leg and cardiovascular workout — and lots of fun.
  • Everyone squats down low, imitating a frog on a lily pad.
  • To leap over the person in front of you, place your hands on his or her back, then spring forward and up.
  • Keep your legs and feet wide, in case you need to take two hops to clear your obstacle.
  • Land with your knees soft and slightly bent to protect whoever's in front.

Toe-walking

  • Challenge your children, grandchildren, partner or colleagues to a toe-walking contest every other day.
  • Rise onto the balls of your feet and walk across the room.
  • Whoever lowers his or her heels to the floor first loses. You'll have plenty of laughs and strengthen your arches, ankles and calves.

Taking a walk

Add a hill to your route. As you trudge up, you'll feel the muscles in the backs of your legs working hard to push off with every step.

Watching TV

  • Pledge that you won't sit down on your favourite recliner until you've done 15 to 20 hot seats during the commercials.
  • To do a hot seat, stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips.
  • Sit back into a squat, just until your butt touches the seat of the chair.
  • As soon as you feel the seat of the chair under your bottom, spring up to a standing position, as if the seat were "hot."

Standing in line

  • Balance on one foot. As soon as you lift one foot off the ground, the muscles in the foot, ankle, calf, thigh and buttock of the opposite leg firm up as they work harder to keep you upright.
  • If you're worried about what other people might think, relax — no one will notice.

Picking up

  • Do a squat every time you bend over.
  • Picking something up from the waist puts stress on the lower back, especially if you're lifting something heavy. But a squat forces you to use your legs, building leg muscles.
  • The best way to squat: Keep your feet hip-distance apart or wider, knees bent and your butt stuck out as you squat down.
  • Then bend forward and pick up your object. Bring your torso upright, then rise by pressing up through your heels.
  • Even if you just squat to pick up a pencil, it will help you to build more leg strength.

Brushing your teeth

  • Exercise your calf muscles standing at the sink. Place your feet flat on the floor, rise up on the balls of your feet, hold for two seconds, sink down slowly.
  • Repeat 20, 30, 50 or more times. You can do this any time you are waiting.

Pushing objects

  • Isometric exercises are the best way to exercise without moving.
  • Put your foot or upper thigh against a surface that won't move or break, and press against it hard, but not so hard to strain your muscles or joints.
  • Hold for six to eight seconds, relax, repeat five to 10 times on each side.
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