Now that I've hit middle age, I find that my back is often stiff in the mornings and that it doesn't wear off until mid-afternoon. I also discovered I can't do the Fullerton "stand test" (sit down on the floor unaided, then stand back up without using hands) without using one hand on rising. Neither of these augers well for my future fitness.

I am not sedentary or overweight: I cycle to and from work, which takes about 20 minutes each way and includes a hill in each direction. I tend to walk or cycle rather than taking the card, and I occasionally walk and cycle for pleasure when I have the chance, which isn't often. But while these may be helping me maintain baseline cardiovascular fitness, they're not working on my core strength and balance.

Can you suggest some short exercises I can do of a morning, without specialist equipment, that will specifically help me with balance and both flexibility and strength in my legs and back? It'd be nice to be able to touch my toes again :)

  • 1
    I answered your question. If I took your goal alone without anything else, my first recommendation would be to go to the gym, grab a barbell and work through Starting Strength (deadlifts, squats, rows etc.)
    – John
    Commented Apr 18, 2016 at 11:59

4 Answers 4


Short exercises I can do of a morning, without specialist equipment, that will specifically help me with balance and both flexibility and strength in my legs and back?

Look to reddits r/bodyweightfitness for more help with these but here is a list of the recommended exercises:

Leg Work (progression)

For more, click here

Core Work (progression)

Stretches By completing the exercises above to full range-of-motion. You will end up gaining a good degree of flexability. However, there are a vast playground of stretches you can do. It is a little open ended to say you want to stretch your "back and legs" so I would recommend googling "Stretch for {activity}" i.e. Stretch for touching toes

  • Thanks for accepting my answer, I would highly recommend watching youtube videos of all the exercises and completing them in front of a mirror or video camera to check your form.
    – John
    Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 8:02

I personally use a YouTube yoga channel and just do the mellow beginners videos in the morning. There are a lot of options and different people providing videos so with a little investigation I would suspect you could find something that fits your style and time availability. You don't need any specialty equipment and it works balance, core and flexibility. I personally like this instructors style and pace.


For lower back and lower body strength , mobility and flexibility you can do the check out the following links:

Foundation workout

Ido's Squat Clinic Routine - Mobility

  • 1
    Posting links without an explanation is never a good idea since your link may become invalid over time.
    – rrirower
    Commented Apr 29, 2016 at 18:33

Hmm, never heard something about Feldenkreis? https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feldenkrais_Method

I love sport. I'm not superstitious. I think it relax and stretch the muscles and tends in places that are very difficult to stretch. For example after 20 min working on the neck the circumference roundabout is larger. Same for other joints.

I thing Feldenkreis helps you to know your body better inside and how it work. + it will stretch you body considerably after 1 month exercise.

Sorry for my english...

  • From the wikipedia article: "There is no good medical evidence that the Feldenkrais method confers any health benefits and it is not known if it is safe or cost-effective."
    – Bob Tway
    Commented Apr 19, 2016 at 10:16
  • @MattThrower reference: Baggoley C (2015). "Review of the Australian Government Rebate on Natural Therapies for Private Health Insurance" (PDF). Australian Government – Department of Health. Lay summary – Gavura, S. Australian review finds no benefit to 17 natural therapies. Science-Based Medicine. (19 November 2015).
    – John
    Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 8:03

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