December Fitness Challenge – Just 10 minutes a day –
I am sure we all agree that 2020 has been an unprecedented year, one none of us will forget, for many reasons. As it nears the end let us focus on physical and mental health. It can be a time where many put any exercise plans “on hold” possibly delaying until the New Year. As a Fitness Instructor I encourage you all to keep moving, don’t stop as now more than ever our fitness is paramount to assist good health.
So my challenge to you all is a Fitness Challenge for December. Why not give the following exercises a go, no equipment needed. 10 minutes a day can make a big difference and 10 mins of exercise is far better than no exercise at all. Make it fun and get the whole family involved.
Squats: who doesn’t love a squat, there are so many benefits but the key ones are; they strengthen your core, plus the lower body muscles (thighs, bums, tums, calves to name a few), they burn calories, can reduce the risk of injury and easy to do anywhere. For a basic squat, stand with your feet shoulder width apart, this is slightly wider than hip width. Keeping your chest up, engage your abdominals and push your hips back into a sitting position making sure you shift the weight into your heels. Make sure that your knees do not come out beyond your toes. Get to a position where your thighs are parallel, or nearly, to the floor. With an exhalation, push back up to the start position. Aim for 50 squats a day, these can be split into 2 x 25 for example.
Lunges: Standing with your legs shoulder width apart, arms by your side take a step forward with your first leg, stop when your thigh is parallel to the ground. Take care that your knee does not extend past your foot. Push back off the foot and take it back to the start position. Alternate with your second leg, this is then one rep. Aim for 3 x 10 Reps. This is great at challenging your balance, which is essential to promote a well-rounded exercise routine. Plus lunges will increase strength in your glutes and legs.
Press Up: This is a basic but effective body weight exercise which works a number of muscles. The hardest press up starts in the plank position, your core should be engaged, shoulders down and back and neck in the neutral position. Bending your elbows you lower your body to the floor, aiming to take your chest to the floor. Extend your elbows to return to your start position. There are modified options to start with; on all fours is a great starting point and if that isn’t suitable then you can do the same movement with your hands leaning against a wall. Keep your feet flat on the floor and bend your elbows to take the chest to the wall and extend out to return. Complete as many as you are able and again increase reps as you get fitter.
Bicycle Crunches: Not for the faint hearted but this has been named as the most effective abdominal workout. Lie on your back with legs in the air and knees pulled in toward your chest. Fingertips are placed behind your ears, take care not to grip the head and force your chin down. Engage your core and extend one leg whilst rotating your body, your opposite elbow should reach toward the leg. Work alternating legs and elbows. This exercise uses all the abdominal muscles. Remember, that whilst it is important to work our abs, this will not spot reduce fat in this area, the only way to lose fat from your tummy is to lose fat from your entire body, which is only achieved by following a healthy eating plan.
These are just a few of my favourite exercises and I hope you feel tempted to give some of them a go. Set yourself a target and make it fun. No exercise should cause pain, remember pain is an indication that something is wrong. If you have any underlying health issues then always consult a Doctor prior to starting anything new.
I wish you all a healthy and happy 2021