Household items are perfect to use to work out

Working out from home is not easy and we typically find plenty of reasons to put it off such as “I don’t have time to exercise” or “I don’t have the proper equipment to exercise”. The good news is we have a solution for you. If time is what you’re lacking, remember that exercise doesn’t have to take long. Check out this easy 5min yoga practice to get your body moving and who knows maybe you’ll be motivated to keep going. If you’ve been putting off exercising because you don’t have any equipment at home then lace up your shoes as we’ve gathered 8 ways you can use household items to work out. Who says you need to spend thousands on a home-gym? Not us!

Belts or scarves for straps

A great way to stretch it out or increase your mobility. Whether you’re trying to stretch out your back, legs or shoulders, using a sturdy scarf is a great option to get that extra reach. 

For one of our favourite stretch, lie down on your stomach and bend your right knee so your heel comes to your buttocks. Loop the scarf or belt around your foot and allow the scarf to drape on top of your right shoulder. Grab hold of the scarf in your right hand with your elbow pointing forward and up. Breathe in here then kick your right foot in the scarf allowing your chest to lift up coming into your half bow pose. Keep the elbow lifted to the ceiling to stretch out the shoulder, the right side of the chest, the right hip flexor and the front of the right leg. Stay here for a few breaths walking your hand up the scarf if you want to come in a deeper back bend. Repeat on the other side. 

Books or cardboard boxes for blocks

Books or cardboard boxes can help you stabilise yourself during poses or make poses more restful. It’s a great tool to have if you don’t have access to blocks at home. If you’re using books, dictionaries tend to work well but otherwise you can pile up books to a height that works for you. If you are using a cardboard box, make sure it is sturdy and can withstand any pressure you apply to it. 

These items will be especially helpful for any type of forward folds where your hands don’t quite reach the ground. One such exercise is pyramid pose. Stand at the top of your mat, step your left foot back approximately half a metre. Keep both feet pointing forwards and square the hips to the top of the mat. Keeping both legs straight, fold forward from the hips and release our hands down to a pile of books placed on both sides of the right foot. You should feel a stretch in the right hamstring. Stay here for a few breaths then repeat on the other side. 

Pillows & blankets for bolsters

There’s nothing better than starting or ending your yoga practice by lying on top of a bolster. It can help open your body up and give you some much needed support to help you relax. If you don’t have a bolster at home however, you could easily use a pillow or maybe a rolled blanket to prop yourself up. 

You can use this for a supported savasana. Keep a few pillows or blankets to the side of your mat and before you get into savasana place the pillows or a few rolled up blankets across your mat just under the knees. This helps support and release the lower back. 

Chairs for benches or plyo boxes

Chairs can be repurposed as so many different gym equipments, from tricep dips to incline planks it’s the easiest household item to integrate in your workout. The best thing is that not only can it make you stronger, it can also help you balance in yoga if you’re feeling a little wobbly in that tree pose and you can also do an entire yoga class from your chair!

Just make sure the chair is stable and won’t roll out from under you.

Sit on the edge of the chair with both feet on the ground. Place the palms of your hands on the edge of the chair on either side of you, fingers pointing forward. Slowly slide your buttocks off the chair and place some weight into your hands. Keeping your elbows pointing back, bend your arms, lowering down a few centimetres then push yourself up until your elbows are almost straight. Repeat as many times as you want, resting between sets. 

Milk bottles or laundry detergent for kettlebells

Filled up with water, sand, rice or anything else you have underhand can really level-up your home workout. The other advantage is that you can fill it to the weight you feel comfortable with and keep topping up as you get stronger. If using water as filling however, be aware that it might slosh around a bit if you swing it so make sure to hold on tight. 

Once you have a weight that works for you, you can use for weighted squats or deadlifts. For deadlifts, make sure that you hinge at the hips keep your back straight and your core engaged then push you hips back. Keep your arms straight, holding onto the milk bottle and push through the heels to pull your torso back up to standing. Pause at the top and squeeze your buttocks. Repeat as many reps as you want, resting between sets.  

Canned food or water bottles for dumbbells

We’re ready to bet you have some tins of food at home and if you have two of the same type this becomes a set of dumbbells which makes these the perfect household item for your home workout.

This also works with bottles that you can fill in based on how heavy you want them to be.  

Once you have your “dumbbells”, step your right foot back into your lunge, bending both knees and bringing them as close to 90 degrees as accessible to you. Once in your reverse lunge, pause and do a bicep curl, holding one tin or bottle in each hand. Lower both hands down as you step your right foot next to the left. Repeat on the left side to complete your rep. Do as many reps as you want, resting between sets. 

Backpack filled with flour/sugar/rice

If you don’t have sandbags or weights at home, you can always use weighted backpacks or  sports bags. What you fill it with depends on what you have at home, it could be a bag of rice, flour, sugar, sand or potting soil. Whatever you use, you might want to place it in a plastic bag first to avoid it spilling everywhere in the bag. 

Once ready grab the bag in front of you and do a few weighted squats, pushing your hips back and keeping your chest up. We guarantee you’ll feel your glutes in no time. 

Broomsticks for mobility and stability

Broomsticks or mops can be used in a variety of ways. If you hold on to them with both hands in a grip slightly wider than your shoulders, you can practice your shoulder mobility. Lift the broom overhead then as far back as your shoulders will allow then slowly bring the broom back in front of you. After a few reps, you should feel your shoulders starting to work out. 

You could also attach a plastic bag with rice or flour at both ends and you have yourself a barbell. In short almost any household items can be used to exercise so no more excuses!

Mood active provides small group exercise classes for people with anxiety and depression. If you would like to find out more about what we do, please contact us here. 


Cover Photo by Yulia Khlebnikova on Unsplash