Summer holidays are just around the corner which means you may not be able to attend your usual classes and fitness activities. Fear not! Help is at hand so that you can continue to benefit from regular exercise whilst away from the Country Club whether you are at home or abroad. Our team share their expert ‘at home’ guide so you can keep active whilst you are away… there are no excuses not keep fit and active this summer!
For your core
Lisa Mint – Pilates Instructor
“Pilates is an important form of exercise which can benefit everyone and works by combining relaxation with strengthening exercises. These are designed to lighten the load on your spine and joints by correcting muscular imbalances caused by bad posture or misuse of muscles, thus alleviating tension. In Pilates, core stabilization is critical; by strengthening the abdominal muscles, lower back and buttocks, the rest of the body is able to move freely. In other words you get fitter from the inside out.”
Lisa’s at-home exercise for core muscles: The Plank
“The Plank is one of the best exercises because it tightens the deepest core muscles. By strengthening these core muscles you can fast-track to a flatter stomach! 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). Plus, it’s more effective than sit-ups and crunches because these work only the superficial abdominal muscles.”
- 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 and hold this position for 45 seconds to begin with, extending the time as you get stronger.
Tip for beginners: “Don’t let your hips sink, or have your bum in the air, you should have a straight line from your shoulder to your heels. If you are a beginner, it is really important to remember to keep your abdominals engaged throughout this exercise in order to prevent any discomfort on your lower back.”
Jenny Andrews-Smith – Yoga Instructor
“Yoga increases flexibility, improves posture, boosts fitness and tones muscles. Through practice you can also learn to quieten the mind, reduce stress and increase your ability to focus. Learning the correct yoga relaxation techniques will flood the body with oxygen and as a result the muscles will release and the body will be able to fight fatigue. This is one of the foremost reasons why people want to start practicing yoga – to feel fitter, be more energetic, and be happier and peaceful.”
Jenny’s at-home exercise for improving flexibility: The Forward Bend
“When done correctly the Forward Bend helps to strengthen the spine and increase flexibility and strength in your hamstrings and lower back muscles. They can be practiced in a seated or standing position; seated is more beneficial for working the hamstrings and standing for the back. Practice daily whenever you have a spare moment – only a few minutes are required and soon you’ll feel that touching your toes isn’t an impossibility, and your lower back will feel more stable, strong and flexible.”
- Stand with your feet together. Exhale and bend forward from the hip joints, not from the waist. As you descend, the emphasis is on lengthening the front torso as you move more fully into the position.
- If possible, with your knees straight, bring your palms or finger tips to the floor slightly in front of or beside your feet, or bring your palms to the backs of your ankles. If this isn’t possible, cross your forearms and hold your elbows.
Tip for beginners: “If you are new to this yoga move, it is important to ensure that you bend from the hips and not from the waist. Remember to keep your abdominals engaged throughout. To make this exercise easier, you can slightly bend your knees to help release any restriction of movement of your lower back.”
Toning – lower body
Andy Robinson – PowerSCULPT Toning Instructor
“PowerSCULPT is a studio resistance class that works to sculpt, tone and strengthen the entire body. By focusing on low weight loads and high repetition, this class can burn in excess of 600 calories per session, while helping to gain strength and muscle tone. Research has shown this type of ‘resistance’ class is one of the fastest ways to get into shape as it challenges all of your major muscle groups while you squat, press, lift and curl.”
Andy’s at-home exercise for toning the lower body: The Squat
“The Squat is a core and fundamental exercise of the PowerSculpt class. The benefits of this exercise are huge, not only will it help to sculpt, tone and strengthen your upper leg muscles, buttocks and lower back, but it will also help to raise your heart rate and burn calories due to the number of major muscles this exercise incorporates. Aim to do as many full squats as you can before resting for a minute and repeat 3 times. You can increase the intensity by progressing to single leg squats.”
- Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips with your toes turned out. Lift your chest up and squeeze between your shoulder blades.
- Keeping your chest up, sit down and back, keeping your knees in line with the middle of your foot.
- Push through your heels as you rise to activate the buttocks and do not lock your knees out at the top, once straightened.
Tip for beginners: “If you are new to squats, to help encourage the correct technique I recommend that you try standing with your back facing a chair. Slowly lower yourself down, as if you were going to sit back on the chair, but before you make contact the seat, slowly raise up straight again. Keep your abdominals braced throughout.”
Toning – upper body
Steve Holloway – Body Weight Circuit Instructor
“Body Weight Circuits do not use any equipment as your body weight is used as the resistance in a controlled manner. Body resistance focuses on the entire body and is a great class for building muscle tone, core strength and endurance.”
Steve’s at-home exercise for toning the upper body: Triceps ‘Chair Dips’
“The Triceps Dip is a fantastic exercise to tone up and build strength in the arms and can be simply executed at home or at work. Do as many repetitions as you can manage, rest for 45-60 seconds and repeat 3 times.”
- Sit on the edge of a sturdy chair, with your hands next to your hips.
- Slide your bottom off the edge and bend elbows to 90 degrees.
- Be sure to keep your back close to the chair, and then push back up so that your arms are straightened.
Tip for beginners: “Keep your shoulders down and away from your ears to protect them from injury. Keep the hips close to the chair to keep the focus on the triceps and not the shoulders. To make it easier, move the feet closer in towards the chair. To make it harder, walk the feet out or even stretch your legs out straight, with heels on the ground to really increase the intensity!”