The aim of this short report is to provide some direction towards protecting your health and improving your physical condition in the lead up to a holiday. These articles aim to provide a more realistic vision for health and direct your energy towards an activity that puts a smile on most of our faces, the holiday season.
IMPROVING YOUR HEALTH AND WELLBEING
By Kunle Odetoyinbo MSc BSc CN Med.
Sports Physiologist Tottenham Hotspur Football Club
PART TWO: TEN TOP MOVES
Here are ten recommended moves you can make to enhance your physique and shape up for the beach. Most are designed to be completed in the comfort of your own living room, so there’s no need for busy, sweaty gyms or miserable runs around your neighbourhood.
1. Before you start exercising, it’s important you stretch and warm up your muscles to avoid damaging them whilst working out. Lie along the length of your sofa, put your arms straight above your head and stretch the entire length of your body.
Choose ten different stretching exercises for all of your main muscle groups. These should include your back, shoulders, neck, upper and lower legs. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds. Perform these stretches twice a day for up to seven days a week. One set of stretching should take place in the morning when you wake up and the other at a time of your choice.
Introduce more dynamic stretching into your routine by stretching joints and limbs through movement. This might involve hip rotations, arm circling, swinging your legs like a pendulum in different directions or bringing your knees up to your chest.
Exercise isn’t all just lifting weights and running on a treadmill. We recommend in order to get your heart rate going, choose an aerobic activity from the following list and perform 3-5 times per week for up to half an hour
2. Step aerobics — if you don’t have a proper step use the first stair at home, or a Yellow Pages. Do this for 5-10 minutes every other day
3. Star jumps — easily done in front of the TV if you clear some space. Try this for five minutes every other day
4. Running/walking on the spot — again, the perfect exercise for the living room. To make this one more interesting and keep concentrating, try doing it whilst throwing your football above your head and catching it repeatatively. Try this for 10-20 minutes every other day
5. Keepy-uppy — frustrating at first if you’ve not done it before but a great move for toning the leg muscles. Try this for ten minutes every other day
6. Skipping — one of the most recommended exercises for people wanting to get in shape. Get yourself a cheap skipping rope and skip for 5-10 minutes every other day in your back garden — or push the sofa back and do it in the living room!
Start exercise at an appropriate level, so for example if you are new to exercise you should always be able to catch your breath and speak comfortably while exercising. This will help you avoid to excess discomfort that normally prevents compliance to exercise routines.
Weights are expensive and bulky, but do a great job for toning the muscle you will be strengthening as you undertake the aerobic exercise in your programme. Instead of splashing out on proper weights, you can use tins and plastic bottles found around the house and in your kitchen cupboards. Simply use a weight that feels right for you and undertake the following exercises:
7. From your armchair hold two items of equal weight you can find around your home in each hand and use them for bicep / tricep curls
8. Stand up from the sofa, hold each object by your sides and perform some squats
9. Hold each object e.g. the Yellow Pages at head height and push up
10. Hold a football behind your head in both hands and perform sit-ups
Repeat each movement 10-20 times, and try to complete five sets of each with a sufficient rest in between. After a week of these exercises, try increasing the weight, or even try an extra set of each one. Remember, safety is the key, ask for help if required.
Try to perform the exercises 3 times per week and complete the whole session between 20 and 45 minutes.
At the end of exercise perform some lighter activity to cool down. This is important in injury prevention and to enhance recovery from your exercise. Perform the same stretches that you used for your warm up.
Alternate weight bearing aerobic exercise, with non-weight bearing exercises every other day. For example hold a can in each hand whilst performing your step aerobics or jogging on the spot. The next day or time you exercise, do so without any weights. This will allow you to recover from the exercise and help prevent injury.
Posture is key to maintaining a healthy body and especially your back. When you are next watching the TV instead of lounging on your sofa try sitting on the floor in a crossed legged position or with legs out in front of you. If you can build this into your home routine so you spend 2-5 half hour slots per week sitting on the floor it will help to improve your posture. Try not to use any external support such as pillows and back rests, instead just occasionally use your hands to hold you upright. Alternatively try a basic Yoga move - start with a short programme then try to eventually watch a full-length film.
Fancy getting fit for summer or perhaps the start of your football season? Our fitness coach Kunle Odetoyinbo shows the way in a special series this week...