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The 3-minute workout you can do while you're watching TV

So now there's no excuse

Hayley Madigan,Kashmira Gander
Friday 23 September 2016 11:02 BST
A variation on the plank, which is one of the key exercises in this three-minute workout
A variation on the plank, which is one of the key exercises in this three-minute workout (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Let’s face it. Most of us would rather lie on the sofa after a hard day’s work than head to the gym. And while it’s fine to binge-watch TV for an evening in moderation, our bodies were ultimately designed to move.

Research shows that a sedentary lifestyle, where we spend most of the day sitting down, spikes the risk of chronic diseases and premature death. Yet, the latest figures show that almost 80 per cent of adults in the UK fail to hit the Government’s minimum targets for exercise. For the inactive among us, sports and exercise can seem like a mysterious and daunting thing.

But a little goes a long way, says natural body building world champion and trainer Hayley Madigan. Even a three-minute workout can keep joints and muscles supple, and help to burn some calories.

Madigan's secret weapon is isometrics - or exercises in static positions – which give similar results to weight lifting and can be done at home. Using just your own body weight, they improve muscular strength, burn calories and tone the body.

Isometric exercises involve contracting your muscles without changing their length or moving your whole body. They are also perfect for beginners because they don’t put too much stress on your joints. Exercises like yoga or Pilates both harness this technique.

Madigan’s top tip while performing these moves is to tense your muscles and focus on breathing slowly and deeply.

Glute squeeze

While either sitting or standing, squeeze your glutes – or buttocks – muscles for six seconds. Take a 15 second rest and repeat for five sets totalling 30 seconds. Then rest for 60 seconds before moving on.

Arm clench

To strengthen and tone your upper body, place your hands together and hold them out in front of you with a slight bend at the elbow. Hold clench for six seconds for a total of five sets. Take a 15-second rest in between each set.

The Plank

This ultimate core exercise focuses on your middle but also works the whole body, particularly your shoulders and thighs. Start in a press up position, and bend your elbows so your weight rests on your forearms. Depending on what is comfortable, hold the plank position either on your forearms or hands, keeping your core tight and hold for 15-30 seconds. Repeat three times with 15 seconds of rest in between each set.

Wall-Sit hold

This is perfect during an ad break while you wait for the kettle to boil. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, approximately half a metre away from the wall and lean back into a squat position, using the wall to support your back. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds, keeping your thighs firm and contracting your glutes.

Hayley Madigan is a trainer at The Muscle Coaches.

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