Women’s approach to fitness has changed significantly in the last 10 years with ever increasing access to on line tools and magazines detailing various methods to stay in shape and eat healthier. Subsequently, the modern-day woman is well educated in health and surrounded by reminders that it is the ‘in thing’ to look good and now even acceptable to have ripped abs similar to men, which to most women is almost impossible! Olympics 2012 also changed our thoughts on body shaping and sparked interest in a distinctive athletic fitter physique. There is more emphasis on the hot topic of obesity with National Statistics stating we are living longer which therefore is leading us to protect our lifestyle and health. Luckily there is so much more awareness and a variety of information on diet and exercise with more organic and different super foods available in our supermarkets. Relaxation also features in today’s lifestyle and the key to reverse the pressures of work with more women are using yoga and Pilates as there go to de-stressor.
As women, we thrive from the consistency and efficiency of routines; they reduce our deliberation and in turn, our stress. While each of their approaches differs, successful women all view their daily routines in small increments to keep them on track and thriving. With that in mind, here are some effortless ways to keep fit without using a gym and easily fit them into your schedule:
Walking is simple yet powerful. It can help you stay trim, improve cholesterol levels, strengthen bones, keep blood pressure in check, lift your mood and lower your risk for a number of diseases (diabetes and heart disease for example). A number of studies have shown that walking and other physical activities can improve memory and resist age-related memory loss.
Swimming can be easily called the perfect workout. The buoyancy of the water supports your body and takes the strain off painful joints so you can move them more fluidly. Research finds that swimming can improve your mental state and put you in a better mood. Water aerobics is another option. These classes help you burn calories and tone up.
Squats This exercise is an excellent calorie burner because squats use the largest muscle groups in the body. Squats are exercises that consist of an up and down motion of the body that resembles the motion of getting out of a chair. In fact, some trainers suggest that a person new to trying to do squats can practice by getting up and down from a chair. The proper way to begin is to keep your back straight, feet spread apart about shoulder length with both arms extended, knees over the ankles and then go downward with your butt just touching the chair; then return to your original standing position. Eventually, stop using the chair and you’ll be doing effective squats. No matter what you do, you should incorporate squats into your routine. If you train for strength, squat using a barbell or holding dumbbells in your hands. If you want to train for endurance or cardio, use body-weight squats.
Push-ups is the classic exercise to strengthen the upper body (chest, shoulders, and triceps) and core (abdominal muscles). Beginners can first do push-ups by spreading their fully extended arms slightly more than shoulder width apart with their hands against an unmovable object like the edge of a kitchen countertop. Then bend your elbows until your chest almost touches the edge of the counter top, allowing only your toes to bend and keeping your back and legs in a straight line. Then push your body away from the countertop until your arms are again fully extended. As you progress, you should use lower stationary objects (for example, a stationary bench) and eventually do the push-up with your hands on the floor.
Lunges work the same large muscle groups as the squats, but can work additional leg muscles and improve balance. Lunges are done by taking a big enough step forward that the knee forms about a 90-degree angle. However, you must keep your spine in a neutral position (upright position, no bending forward). Your trailing leg, at the same time, should have its knee come close to the floor and have the toes accept significant body weight. Then, return to a standing position and repeat with the other leg. After you master the lunge, you can vary the exercise by placing the advanced leg to the right or left to mimic more variable movement, such as the angles you might encounter during a nature hike.
The plank: is one of the best exercises because it tightens the deepest core muscles. It’s a static exercise where you use your arms to raise yourself off the floor and hold the whole body straight and rigid, like a plank of wood. You can do it anywhere, you don’t need any equipment and it only takes a minute (literally). What’s more, it is more effective than sit-ups and crunches because these works only the superficial abdominal muscles
Basic plank: Start on elbows and knees, locking hands together. Straighten legs and raise your body so that you’re supported by the balls of your feet, with feet hip-distance apart. Face the floor, being careful not to arch your back or stick your bottom in the air. Hold this position for 45 seconds to begin with, extending the time as you get stronger.
Side plank: Lie on your right side, propped up on your elbow. Let your left foot rest on top of your right, and then push up so that your body forms a perfect triangle with the floor. Don’t let your left shoulder roll forward or back. Hold the position for as long as you can, then repeat on the other side.
Prone sky-dive: Always follow a basic or side plank with this move. Lie flat on the floor, face down, with your arms by your sides. Gently raise your chest off the floor until you can feel your lower back muscles start to work, simultaneously raising your arms up, palms facing upwards and with your thumbs furthest away from your body, pointing to the ceiling. Be careful not to clench your buttocks. Hold for 30 seconds.
Yoga helps you become more aware of your body’s posture, alignment and patterns of movement. It makes the body more flexible and helps you relax even in the midst of a stress stricken environment. This is one of the foremost reasons why people want to start practicing yoga – to feel fitter, be more energetic, be happier and peaceful. The beauty of yoga is that it can be practiced pretty much anywhere, on your own or with other yoga enthusiasts.
- Go around the shopping Centre or supermarket in a random. With today’s super malls, this is an important thing!
- Take the stairs instead of the lift or escalator (well if you work on the 50th floor, maybe climb halfway to start)
- Give the dog an extra 5 minutes on his walk (we need it even more than him)
- Stop emailing colleagues in the same office, instead go over and talk to them (shockingly effective
- considering how much email we send each day!… great for team building as well)
- Go for a walk during your lunch break, walk to get your lunch or to find somewhere to eat your lunch
- Get up and do something, run up and down the stairs for example during TV ads (no excuses here!)
- Walk to the corner shop instead of driving or popping in on your way home
- Walk to friends’ houses instead of driving
- Take public transport and walk from the train station
- Park at the far end of the car park and walk to your building Instead of dropping the kids off in front of the school, park a couple of streets before it and walk them the rest of the way.