Live Better

Easy (and free) exercise ideas for any space

The world is your gym – make the most of the spaces around you. Steph Claire Smith and Laura Henshaw of Keep It Cleaner share a few ideas for a fun, energising workout.

Two women working out together on the beach

Soup can weights

You can use soup cans as a substitute for dumbbells – so why not add them to a boxing routine? Five 60-second jab-cross rounds with a 15-second rest, and you’ll definitely be feeling it.

All you need is chair

Get a chair and you’re ready for Bulgarian squats. Stand up straight, facing away from the chair, then extend your left leg and place your toes on the chair. Now you’re ready to go! Dip into a lunge until your left knee almost touches the ground, stand straight up again and repeat. If you don’t have a chair, use the couch. Put on your favourite TV show and you’re good to squat.

Skip it out

Jump rope isn’t just for the playground – it’s actually an awesome aerobic workout. Skipping gets your heart rate up, thanks to all the jumping and arm swinging. Don’t have a rope? Use an imaginary rope, swing your arms and start jumping.

Climb those stairs

There are so many things you can do with stairs – we love them! Use the edge for calf raises, or climb two at a time and get those thighs burning. If you love a challenge, try jumping up three steps and landing in a squat. Or, sprint up the flight and when you get to the landing, do 20 push-ups. Repeat this a few times and you’ll be one sweaty Betty.

Bench it up

Turn a park bench or picnic table into your new workout buddy. Use the raised surface for triceps dips, step ups, and if it’s not too high, jump squats. If the ground is wet or muddy, you can also lie on the bench for sit ups and leg raises.

Heart those hills

Don’t avoid hills – learn to embrace them. Running up hills is amazing for your quads, glutes and calves, and running down hills engages your lower abs, as you need a strong core so you don’t lose your balance.

Get strong in the sand

If you live near a beach, you’re in luck. Sand adds resistance and challenges your stability, so you’ll get stronger faster. Squats, lunges, star jumps, high knees and single leg deadlifts are our favourite sandy exercises. The secret to mastering this terrain is to engage your core. After a few weeks, move your workout to the dry sand.

Walk the dog

Your furry best friend needs to stretch its legs, so grab the lead and take them for a 20-30 minute stroll. If you don’t have a dog, why not ask the neighbours if you can walk theirs?

Find a playground

The humble playground can make an incredible outdoor gym. Remember those monkey bars? They’re fab for upper body strength. You can hang from them for 60 seconds, do chin ups, or try to make your way across. Remember to engage your core so that you don’t exhaust your upper body.

Get more ideas and inspiration from Steph and Laura at

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