Since I’m lucky enough to work from home – you would be forgiven for thinking I’d have plenty of opportunity to get out and exercise – before work, lunch time, after work…during those three plus hours a day I used to drive to and from the city.  But no.. in fact there are times I really just don’t want to leave the house… I go into a definite hermit mode.

At the same time, my head is telling me I really need to get some exercise in. I’ll be honest – there are times in my life, I LOVE exercise, can’t wait to get in a work-out, run or a pump class.  And then winter hits (as it has here in the southern hemisphere) and its only the IDEA of exercise that I love. Not the actual doing of said exercise.

So I’ve discovered that it’s good to have some quick go-to routines that you can do without leaving the house. Even if you are inclined to still be in your PJ’s. (I never EVER go to work in my PJ’s – even if work is at the other end of the house – you never know when the boss or a client is going to drop in via skype!)

10-minute workout

You can add these exercises together to make a quick 30 min circuit – or break them up during the day into 10 minute mini-workouts.  When I have a busy day at my desk – this helps me get up and moving every hour.

They are simple, quick and effective and great for those days you really don’t want to face the outside world to exercise.

Chair Squats
Stand in front of a chair, feet hip-distance apart, toes pointing forward. Lean forward slightly while at the same time bend at the knees until your butt just touches the top of the chair seat. Don’t seat down! Once touched, then push yourself back up to the standing position. For the proper form, keep your weight centered over your feet. Do 10 to 12 reps.

This can be done on the bottom stair of a staircase or with anything where you can step up. Some use a stack of books, a wooden box, or a platform made for step-ups. Start by placing your entire right foot on a stair or a sturdy platform. Then follow by bringing up the left foot on the platform. Next step down with your left leg, making sure your foot lands around 12 inches back of the stair or platform; follow with your right foot. Do 12 times, keeping the abs pulled in and back straight. Then switch sides and repeat.

NOTE: Both the Chair Squats and Step-Ups can be made more effective by doing them while holding hand weights.

Chair Dips

Sit on a sturdy chair with hands resting next to hips and on the front edge of the chair. Slide your butt just off the edge and lower yourself down until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle. Keeping your back close to the edge of the chair, push yourself back up. Do 10 to 12 repetitions.

Butterfly Crunches
This exercise doesn’t even require a chair. Start by lying on your back with the soles of your feet together, knees out to the side. Place your hands behind head with elbows out. Start raising yourself up by tightening your abs until your shoulder blades are off of the floor. Then slowly use your abs to lower yourself back down. Do 10 to 12 reps.

Oblique Crunches
This is generally the same as the standard crunch, but with a twist (literally). Start by lying on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Now cross your left ankle over the opposite knee. Place your right hand behind your head with your left arm perpendicular out to the side. Lift your right shoulder toward your left knee. Release back down. Do 10 to 12 reps, then switch sides and do another 10 to 12 reps.

Modified Push-Ups
Get down on all fours, knees together. Walk your hands out in front of you just a little and lift your feet so that you are supported with just your hands and knees; move your hands slightly wider than your chest. Be sure to keep your head, neck, back and butt in one straight line; no sagging in the middle of your back. Keeping your abs tight, bend at the elbows and lower your chest towards the floor. Press back up. Do 10 to 12 reps. To make this exercise more difficult, do it as a standard push-up with your knees off of the floor.

10-minute workout

Each exercise can be done as part of a circuit training, that is progressing from one exercise to the next with minimum rest in-between. They look easy to do, but as you will find out, will kick your butt. As they get easier, you can add more repetitions per exercise or cycle through the whole circuit more than once.