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Working out without realising it

Five ways to build exercise into your daily routine.

Every January the world hums with information about exercise; who, what, where and when, but what if you’re not a gym person or just don’t have the time. Here, Pennyhill Park Hotel and Spa‘s personal trainer gives five tips on how to get in shape without feeling as though you are working out!

For leg strength and muscle tone: sit to stand, aka squats

  • During every commercial break when you’re watching TV do 10 squats, and try not to use your hands.
  • From your sitting position place your hands on the back of your head and look up slightly.
  • Now stand up pushing hard through your heels (this is actually best done without footwear, so kick your slippers off for this).
  • Finally lower yourself back to the chair / sofa by pushing your hips back.
  • Repeat 10 times during each commercial break.

For shoulder girdle flexibility: doorway stretch

Many people spend way too much time doing stretches which aren’t needed but the doorway stretch will be beneficial to all.

  • Every time you exit or enter a room stop and hold the door frame with straight arms for 15 seconds, letting your torso ease forwards.
  • If you are too tall to hold the frame with straight arms then merely rest your forearms against the frame; the key here is straight arms.

For cardiovascular fitness: stair running

Every time you need to go up or down stairs do it twice. If you’re going downstairs to the freezer to get some healthy frozen veggies then descend and ascend the stairs, and then go back again to get your veggies. The only time not to do this is when you’re going to bed. Funnily enough, the more forgetful you are the fitter you get.

Upper body strength and tone: bathroom press-ups

Each time you walk past the bathroom place your hands on the edge of the bathtub and perform 10 Press Ups.

*Note, this doesn’t have to be done in the bathroom; it’s merely that the height of a bathtub is usually a nice height to start with for people who don’t often perform press-ups.

If this is too hard then use a higher hand position, conversely if it’s too easy then use a lower hand position. The easiest press-ups are wall press-ups, and the toughest are handstand press ups.

For mid-section strength and tone: planking during the news

I’m not talking about going all the way through the news at 10 in a plank - that would be very impressive. No, I’m thinking more along the lines of a radio station newscast, which, depending on the station, will run from two to five minutes. You might wish to break it up and hold a front plank for the national news, one side of a side plank for the regional news, and the other side for sports news. 

If you can’t hold these positions for the whole news segment, and to be honest few will, simply switch between front / right side / left side until the news is over. It might be best to avoid Radio 4 (longer news bulletins) if you choose to do this drill. 

  • The front plank is performed by resting on your toes and elbows and keeping the body straight (keep that bum down).
  • With the basic side plank one would support their body on one elbow and the edge of one foot. This is a lot tougher than the front plank; most will hold the side plank for less than half the time they could hold the front plank.

OK, maybe I’m pushing things a little by saying that you’ll be working out without realising it, but it certainly won’t eat into your busy day. Try these five strategies and feel stronger, firmer and leaner, as well as healthier!

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