Eat well. Exercise.

That’s the simple mantra for a healthy life. You can make it complicated – eliminating certain foods, eating a strict diet, and sticking to a regimented and punishing gym-schedule. But most of us don’t have the time – and for most of us, any kind of exercise is better than none.

So, here is my ultra-simple list of five incredibly simple exercises you can do – no gym membership, no equipment, and dead easy for beginners.

These minimalist workouts are perfect for feeling good and staying relaxed.

1. Walking

Walking is the easiest, simplest way to get some activity into your life. Walk to the shops. Walk to work. Walk to a friend’s house. Walk around the block. Walk through the forest, up the mountain, across the fields.

Walking is incredibly under-rated as a mode of transport. You can walk a lot further than you think, and it’s a lot less stressful than driving. It’s easy to fit into your day-to-day life too – in fact, why don’t you go for a walk right now? This blog will still be here when you get back.

2. Starjumps, squats, pull-ups, press-ups

I know. I hate repetitive, routine exercises too. So the easiest way to work the jumps, splits, squats, pull-ups, press-ups and other bodyweight exercises is to vary it up. Combine different movements. Make it playful – remember when you were a kid, and you used to just randomly run around and jump on things? Moving is fun, and playgrounds are great places to go if you just want to climb trees, have a go on the monkey-bars, and play ‘lava-monsters’.

3. Dance

Dancing is amazing. Okay, it’s not quite minimalist in that it requires a source of music, but I’m going to assume that if you can read this post, you can get onto YouTube. Go find some upbeat music, and dance like you’ve never danced before. Nobody’s watching, so just let yourself go crazy.

As a variation, try some martial arts. Pretend you’re Bruce Lee being attacked by a hundred ninjas, and get those high-kicks and super-quick punches flying.

4. Yoga

You might want a mat. But you don’t need one, really. I can’t praise yoga enough. It’s one of those things that always makes me feel better, even if I just find five minutes to really stretch. I don’t need to go into much detail here, as the famous Everett Bogue has already written the best guide to minimalist yoga around. I should note that I’ve been using his routine very successfully for the past few weeks.

5. Play with some kids. Outdoors.

Children are whirlwind dynamos of energy, and keeping up with them can be hard work. So do your local stressed out parents a favour, and take their kids for a day out somewhere. Go to a park, and play football or frisbee. Explore the woods or some caves. Play old playground games, like ‘stick in the mud’. Or just chase them around until they or you collapse!

Now here’s the catch. To make it worth doing, you need to keep doing it. So slow down. Make it a habit to walk to work. Agree to take the kids out once a week. Make Tuesday night the night you put on your sequins and turn the volume to eleven. Make yoga part of your nightly wind-down routine.

Now – wasn’t that easier than you thought it would be?

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