6 exercise everyone should be doing regularly that have incredible benefits on your body

It doesn’t matter how old you are or what your fitness level is, there are a number of exercises that have an incredible benefit on your body that you should be doing regularly. These movements are all functional strength exercises that copy movements we do in our daily lives. Wouldn’t it be nice if everything was just a little bit easier?

For example, when you add a bit more strength to your core area, this will help you maintain a proper posture. When we strengthen our legs and core we decrease the pressure our back and knees carry which takes care of pain and make everyday activities easy!

Take it slow, master the form and then strive for 8 reps of each exercise.

6 of the best exercises everyone should be doing regularly:

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1. LUNGE

Primary muscles worked: Quads, hamstrings, glutes

Lunges are a compound movement and they increase functional strength. Lunges also improve your balance and stability.

Completing a lunge: Extend one leg directly behind you. Use the toes of that back leg to balance, soften your knees. Slowly lower your body to the floor. Only go as low as you can, keeping your eyes up and your spine in a neutral position. Drive upward by pushing away the floor with your feet until your legs are straight again. That is one rep. You can complete all reps with your leg behind you or alternate each rep by switching the back leg. I recommend you begin with lunges holding no weight and when you are ready for an extra challenge, hold some weights in each hand.

Easier modification:

Step back instead of forward on your lunge to make the angle easier to achieve and cause less strain on your knees.


2. SQUAT

Primary muscles worked: Quads, hamstrings, glutes, erector spinae 

Balance and stability are going to improve as you squat consistently. The squat creates strong, flexible hips and will alleviate any pain you may be experiencing from sitting and standing. Do you ever take the stairs and feel a bit of struggle? Squats will help strengthen the glutes and quads to help you get up and down with ease.

Completing a squat: Keep your eyes up and your chest lifted. Slowly start to push your hips back, keeping your weight in your heels. Ensure your knees aren’t collapsing inwards as you lower. To come out of the squat, push into your heels and stand tall. Squeeze your glutes at the top position. I recommend you begin with air squats (no weight) and master the form. When you are ready for an extra challenge, you can hold some weights on your shoulders or use a barbell on your back or front.

Easier modification:

Place something under your heels. This will help your squat form and make the mobility portion of this movement easier for you.



3. SUPERMAN

Primary muscles worked: Glutes, hamstrings, back muscles

Back pain? Usually due to weak back muscles. The superman is one of the BEST exercises for you. This movement will help strengthen your entire back. The bonus of doing this superman movement is that it also works your glutes and hamstrings at the same time.

Completing a superman: Start by laying on your stomach with your arms extended out in front of you. As you lift your head, raise your arms and chest off the ground as far as possible. Lift your thighs off the ground too. Try and imagine you are bending yourself in half backwards. Hold this position for 30 seconds x 2-3 reps.

Easier modification:
Lift only your upper body off the ground and hold vs. upper and lower body at the same time.

READ MORE: How to choose the right fitness tracker for your goals


4. PLANK

Primary muscles worked: Abdominal muscles, back muscles, lower leg muscles, triceps.

The plank is one of the easiest exercises to get started with and is so good for your core. Planks increase your stability and balance while strengthening your glutes, hamstrings, triceps, and forearms (oh, and your core of course).

Completing a plank: Start on your forearms with bent elbows stacked under your shoulders. Ensure your knees are behind your hips. Maintain a neutral spine and neck. Push yourself up onto your toes and forearms, into a plank and imagine a tray of drinks is on your back. You want to be as stiff as a plank of wood while you hold this position. Hold for at least 10 seconds.

Easier modification:

Instead of being on your forearms and toes, come up to your hands and toes or even use a bench or wall to raise your plank higher from the ground.


5. SINGLE LEG DEADLIFT

Primary muscles worked: Quads, abductors, adductors, glutes, hamstrings, and core

By completing some single-leg isolated movement, your posture will improve.

Completing a single leg deadlift: Start by standing tall with your shoulders relaxed and down away from your eyes. Pull your right knee up so you are only balancing on your left foot. To add in the deadlift movement, slowly start to extend that lifted leg behind you while allowing your upper body to shift forward. Use your arms for balance and try your best to avoid any bending of your spine. Slowly return to standing tall position. This is one rep. Alternate legs and strive to complete 10 on each leg.

Easier modification:

Simply balance on one foot while lifting the other leg high in front of you. Hold for as long as possible.

You can grab under the knee and pull your leg into your chest too.

6. PUSH-UP

Primary muscles worked: Pecs, deltoids, triceps

Push-ups are so great for your posture and they help to improve your upper body strength. When you have a better posture and more upper body strength, all daily movements that require lifting, pushing, pulling, or reaching for things becomes easier.

Completing a push-up: Plant your hands on the floor slightly wider than your shoulders. Flair your fingers out to take a bit of pressure off your wrists. While up on your hands and toes, slowly lower your body down by bending your elbows. Maintain a plank/neutral spine. Keep your elbows as close to your side body as possible, avoid batwings. At the bottom of the movement, push back up to straight arms, this is one rep. Keep your body in one straight line through the entire movement, no worming.

Easier modification:

Elevate your push-up against a bench or wall.

I would prefer you do this modification vs. drop to your knees. You will progress into a full push-up more quickly this way.


Now that we have covered 6 exercises everyone should be doing regularly that have incredible benefits on your body and life, it is time to answer a few of the questions I get asked on the daily.

BEST EXERCISE TO LOSE BELLY FAT

Exercising not only helps you shed belly fat but it will also improve many other areas of your life. Losing belly fat and getting that flat stomach comes down to burning body fat entirely vs. trying to spot reduce that one area of your body. I dive into more details on how to burn belly fat here but at the end of the day, the answer is not doing 100’s of crunches to try and burn that belly fat.



BEST EXERCISE TO LOSE WEIGHT

STRENGTH TRAINING! When I was trying to lose over 65 lbs, I spent far too many years doing endless amounts of cardio. When it comes to losing weight, hit the weights and don’t be afraid. Use my 6 strength training tips for beginners guide and start losing that weight today!

BEST EXERCISE FOR DIABETES

I would recommend completing aerobic exercises as this will help your body use insulin. What does that look like? Strive for 25-30 minutes completing any of the following:

  • Cycling

  • Dancing

  • Jogging

  • Hiking

  • Rowing

  • Swimming

  • Brisk walk


BEST EXERCISE DURING PREGNANCY

As long as your doctor says it is okay, exercise is perfectly safe and recommend during your pregnancy! Exercising during pregnancy will help to boost your mood, decrease some of those horrible pregnancy symptoms (constipation and morning sickness), and will assist with your postpartum recovery.

During your pregnancy you will want to make sure you are performing movements correctly and some entry level movements would be daily walks or a 30-minute swim.

If you are into higher intensity training, any class instructor should be able to provide modifications for you to perform during your pregnancy. Lifting weights is a great way to increase your muscle tone while you are expecting.

At the end of the day, the same rules apply whether you are pregnant or not. Take it easy and listen to your body.
Ensure you are eating enough food and don’t forget to chug that water so you don’t become dehydrated!

What are your favourite exercises to complete each week? Comment below!

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