We’re not about that life at GLAMOUR. What we are about is doing anything to protect our mental wellbeing, particularly as the longterm mental health implications of lockdown and the pandemic are becoming startlingly clear.
This time of year is rife with exercise content. Instagram influencers in Lulu Lemon gear, headlines on ‘getting fit for the New Year’, and tons of complicated workouts that make us never want to put on a sports bra again.
Of course, it’s no secret that physical activity is a great way to boost our mood and get those endorphins flowing, particularly when we’re spending most of our time cooped up inside. So what’s a simple, pressure-free way to get our bodies moving, without the terrifying burpee-heavy HIIT routines?
Celebrity personal trainer Dalton Wong tells us how to incorporate movement – not exercise – into our everyday lives.
Set a daily ‘stretch alarm’
Movement is a great way to keep positive with regards to our mental health. I didn’t say exercise, but movement is the key. I suggest that for every 2-3 hours of sitting, you get up, walk around, and do some gentle stretching for at least 15 minutes. These stretches can be specific for your head, neck and hips to improve posture or totally body ones to improve blood flow.
Try this: Get into a 1\2 lunge position with right leg in front and left leg back, arms out straight in front of you. Slowly rotate towards the right so you feel a stretch through the hips and also the middle of your spine. Perform 15 reps and then switch sides. This is an amazing active stretch for the hips and back.
Walk, bike or even go for a jog. Getting outside allows us to be in nature and hearing natures natural calls and sounds automatically helps reduce our cortisol which is our stress hormone. Moving is also key for our cardiovascular health, especially during this pandemic, this can be in the form of a long slow steady walk, biking uphill or going for a sprint. Find an activity you can do, which is fun and suitable.
Try this: Go for a long walk and aim to be out and about for at least 2 hours. This is a great way to explore your town, fantastic at building a strong cardio base and also great at fat burning.
Add some resistance to improve posture
Having good posture is an important building block for better mental health. Being stronger and having more lean muscle mass helps improve our body composition but also our joint health. When we are strong and stable that makes our bodies look and feel good which is perfect for our mental health. My home mini band and glider package is the perfect place to start (https://twentytwotraining.com/products/gliders-mini-bands-combination-pack)
Try this: Place a miniband above your knees and squat for 1 min. Focus on keeping consistent tension on the band via squatting and shifting your weight through your heels. This is a great exercise that focus on the glutes and hamstrings.
Remember to breathe right
Focus on being mindful and breathing from the diaphragm. The more oxygen we take in the better of our body is with regards to controlling stress and also letting tension go from overly tight muscles. Being able to release our muscles through breath work is amazing for our body and mental health. A clear and flexible body can lead to a clear and focused mind.
Try this: Lay on you your back with your heels and legs straight up on the wall, so your body is in a L position. This is a great natural stretch for your Hamstrings, while lying in this position focus on taking deep diaphragmatic breathes filling up your belly and slowly exhaling. This stretch and breathe combination is great for your flexibly and also clears your mind.
Make workouts fun, not stressful
Full body 100% activity is great for our body and our mental health. When we physically stress our body or push it to the limit, it makes our mind focus, increases blood flow to the entire body, improves our joints range of motion and great for our cardio. Try sprinting, cardio or weight training circuits, you just need to PUSH yourself to 8/10. This physical activity releases endorphins which is our feel-good hormones which is great for our mental health and wellbeing.
Try this: Find your favourite Dance/Rock/Rap or Hip Hop song play it loud and dance away!! Most songs are about 3min long, dance like NOBODY is watching , waving your arms, jumping around and get into the beat. Just have FUN! This is the perfect 100% activity for the body, mind and soul. My personal favourite to dad dance to is Smells like Teen Spirit by Nirvana!