The May exercise challenge

Training and physical activity is not everyone’s cup of tea and, especially these days, it can be hard to find the motivation to go outside the normal comfort zone and step into new things. Life in lockdown, with social distancing can be both lonely and boring and for some, putting on socks before shoes before picking up the mail, is top of the daily energy level. And that’s fine. Don’t feel you need to acquire new skills or new training habits because of Covid-19, says Tania Presutti.

We’re in uncharted territory and we all do the best we can to continue to live our lives the best we can. So in short, if you’re ready for Jolene to come and take your man, auction off kids and pets on eBay and live off Marguerites and chocolate – you’re not alone. You might be physically (as we are in lockdown), but in every other home, someone is going through the same emotions, someone is listening to the same song as you. So keep your head up and spirit as high as it can be – this will end and we will soon find out what’s on the other side.

While we shift into the end of Lockdown and waiting to find out what’s next, I have a little MAY challenge for us:

Choose an exercise to do every day, and simply just add ONE extra repetition every day.
If you’re all new to exercising, start by doing one repetition of your chosen exercise on day one. Day two – you do two repetitions, Day three – three reps and so forth until the end of the lockdown.

Do you have a good base fitness but it’s been a while since you were in the gym or on the road? Start with for example 10 or 20 repetitions of your chosen exercise. Add one extra every day.

In good shape and have been training continuously during the lockdown? Start at 20 or 30 and add two more every day. (You could add more both exercises and repetitions – but it does run up fast!). 

If you are with me this far, the next one is choosing the right exercise. This is quite a critical point, as you want ‘cash in your stash’ (reward for your time spent) – so choose a full body exercise. If you’re new to training, make sure you pick one you can perform and that’s not too complicated or hard to start with.

For beginners and experienced, I have the following suggestions (but you can choose any exercise you like, and if you’re already training, maybe you want to do two or three exercises a day):

Jumping Jacks: Jump up by kicking your legs out sideways and clap your hands above head (imagine you look like an X), land with feet together on the ground and arms down the sides.

Angel-jump: The first part of the burpee: Jump up, clap hands over your head, land in a squat, jump up again.

Push Up from knees: Lie stomach down flat on the floor, hands at shoulder level a bit wide. Tighten stomach and squeeze buttocks while pressing the upper body up and legs to the knees from the ground to straight arms. Lower again in full control.

Overhead Squat: Stand with feet shoulder width or further apart. Take a book or bottle of water and hold in straight arms above your head. Bend legs into a squat while holding the object straight above your head. Stand up again.

Push Up: A straight ‘ head to toe plank’ push up. Lower and lift body to ground by bending elbows. Maintain a straight form by keeping core tight and legs straight.
Burpee: Jump up, clap hands over head, land in squat, extend legs while doing a push up, legs back to squat, jump up

This should be a fun little activity break for everyone, regardless of current physical condition and it’s something that will hopefully challenge you, but also both give you a little sweat on the nose and smile on your face. 

This week I’ll be posting different versions of push ups, which can be used in this challenge on my instagram: and, as usual, I’ll be more than happy to hear from you: comments, questions and suggestions on

Here’s to a hopeful May, let’s get ready to embrace it.

Tania Presutti

Tania Presutti is a Danish freelance journalist and fitness professional who now resides in Clonakilty.

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