Five quick, easy exercises that can change your body in a month – and don’t involve going to the gym

Wouldn’t it be great if we could do just one small thing and get fitter and more toned within weeks? Exercise fanatics might tell us this isn’t possible, but there are quick fixes that get results.

Be warned, though, it’s sticking with them that gets results. The key is to look at your fitness transformation as a process made up of many small, daily steps. Starting today!

1. Cardio: you have to get your heart rate up

To lose pounds, you have to get your heart rate pumping. Weight training and exercises that promise to tone and elongate the muscles have their place and are hugely beneficial to our fitness and health, but if you only do these activities without adding cardio activity to the mix you’ll be wasting your time.

Thirty minutes of cardio a day will show results quickly but you can make up those 30 minutes any way you like. Walk briskly to work if you can or take the stairs instead of the lift, run around your local park, or even just give your carpets a vigorous vacuuming.

2. Do a plank a day: the quickest results

This has to be the quickest exercise known to man that delivers results. Instructions on how to plank are all over the internet, but essentially you lie flat on your front on a mat and prop yourself up on your elbows and forearms, with toes on on mat and the knees and body lifted, keeping the chine forward and the body in one line, like a plank.

It sounds easy but isn’t. Holding the position for as long as you can will give you a whole-body workout.Don’t do more than one plank. Start with 20 or 30 seconds, depending on your ability, and each day add another two seconds to the time you hold it for. You’ll feel your muscles burning in gratitude.

Vitality_fitness tips_swim_620x349
Got the hat? Bought the goggles? Just add water, and swim
3. Swimming: works every muscle

If you have access to a pool, there is little else you can do that will kickstart your fitness the way swimming will. It works every muscle in your body but doesn’t feel as taxing as you are immersed in water, which cushions you.

For this reason, if no other, you will be able to exercise for longer before you feel tired. Swimming is a brilliant cardio workout, and will also lengthen your muscles and melt off inches for you. That said, the correct technique is vital. Consider having lessons, or at the very least watch videos online.

4. Skipping: burns the most calories

It may be years since you were anywhere near a skipping rope but knowing that jumping rope burns more calories than just about any other exercise will quickly get you moving.

It is a very effective form of exercise that you can do anywhere, even your living room if you have space (and move things out of the way first). If you have a gym contract, it is almost a given that they will have skipping ropes available for you to use.

5. Squats: best for your butt

To introduce more than cardio workouts into your fitness routine, add some squats to the mix. Squats do three things in one high impact exercise: they burn a multitude of calories; strengthen your core muscles, and tone the gluteal muscles (your butt).

Once you master the squat, you can make it more difficult – and more effective – by holding weights while you do them.

So there you have it: five tips that can be incorporated in your day quickly, without a lot of expense or planning. They are not that easy but they don’t take a lot of time, and if you do something every day, you will notice distinct results within weeks.