How to lose weight after Christmas WITHOUT leaving the house – from circuit training to yoga

While it's a nice reminder of all the delicious food we ate with friends and family, most of us don't want it hanging around too long.

But, let's face it, January is miserable and cold outside… and February isn't much better.

So, what if there was a way you could get fit and lose that Christmas weight without even leaving the house?

The British Heart Foundation, along with yoga teacher Jayne Miller and regional manager at YMCAfit Sarah Spuffard, has put together a handy guide for you.

Exercising at home doesn’t have to take much extra time, Sarah recommends incorporating small exercises whenever you can throughout the day.

"Maybe do 10 minutes in the morning and then 10 minutes in the afternoon; it doesn’t have to be in a full block," she said.

"It’s better than not doing it at all. Even when you’re cleaning your teeth, you can do some small squats or knee-bends."

Circuit training at home

Circuit training is basically a range of exercises that focuses on different parts of the body.

"You can do little circuits at home," Sarah said.

"Walk to one end of the living room, then march on the spot.

"Have a chair there so you can then do a few sit-to-stands [sit down with your arms stretched out in front of you, stand up with your arms still outstretched, then repeat].

"You can also do standing press-ups against the wall. It’s a good idea to do 10 of each and have a little rest in between."

If you've got stairs you can do step ups,  or shuttle walks from one side of a room to another.

Or you could try bicep curls using a can of baked beans.

Then you can start to make things more challenging.

"Sit-to-stand could progress to a squat, then that could progress to a weighted squat where you hold something in your hands," Sarah said.

"With a wall press-up, just step further away from the wall. I’d advise counting things too, for example, start by doing step-ups for a minute, then increase that."

You need to make sure you are doing it with enough intensity, so your heart rate should be up, you should be breathing heavier and sweating a little.

Yoga at home

Yoga is great for strength and flexibility as well as your mental health.

But it doesn't have to be done in a studio, there are some moves you can do at home, according to Jayne Miller.

1. Modified sun salutation

"This is great for getting your energy going in the morning," Jayne said.

"This version is better for those with high blood pressure than the traditional yoga sun salutation."

Step one:

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Take a few deep breaths. Notice the length of your inhale and exhale.

Breathe in deeply, then breathe out as you step one foot backwards. Make sure your front knee is directly above your front ankle.

Take your hands to your waist. Stay here for a few deep breaths.

Step two – add a twist:

While still in step one, bring your hands to prayer position and twist your torso towards your front leg.

Hold for three breaths. Twist back to face forward.

Step the back foot forward to join the front foot. Repeat both parts using the opposite legs.

Step three – the cat to cow:

Next, get onto all fours on a carpet or rug – take this slowly and gently.

Keep your shoulders relaxed. On all fours, with your hands shoulder-width and your knees hip-width apart, arch your spine.

This is ‘cat position’, hold it for three in-and-out breaths. Then slowly concave your spine, this is ‘cow position’. Hold it for another three breaths.

Move between these two poses a few times to complete your ‘cat-cow’.

2. Dog at wall pose

You can wake up your spine with Jayde's modified version of downward dog in the time it takes to boil the kettle.

"Create space in the spine with a ‘dog at wall’ position,” she said.

"Place your palms against a wall and walk your feet back, carefully drawing your hands down the wall.

"Make sure the feet are hip-width, and the hips are above the feet. Broaden across the upper back."

3. Chair pose

Begin standing. Exhale to lift your pelvic floor muscles as you bend your knees and sit on an imaginary chair.

Make sure your knees don’t go further forward than your toes. Inhale as you extend your arms forward at shoulder height.

Exhale as you hold your arms here. Inhale to stand up straight. Repeat a few times.

4. Tree pose

Bend one knee and bring the foot flat against the inner thigh of your standing leg (or below the knee if you find it difficult to balance).

Spread the toes on your standing foot and take deep breaths. If you feel steady, raise your arms and hold them above your head for three breaths.

Bring your hands to prayer position, then lower your foot to the floor. Repeat with the other leg.

The 5 minute yoga workout you can do with a chair at your desk

If you don't have time to fit in a workout because you're stuck at work, or if you'd rather use a chair at home, David Beckham's former trainer has some tips for you.

Shona Vertue, an Australian trainer, shared her quick desk yoga workout on her blog.

Step one:

Close your eyes and take three deep breaths, three seconds to inhale, three seconds to exhale, Shona wrote.

The breath is very closely linked to the state of your nervous system, so keeping a calm and rhythmic breath can help to relax your body while awakening the mind.

Step two:

Keeping your eyes closed take your head to the left, keep your chest lifted.

Make sure you allow the opposite shoulder to pull away from you.

Imagine breathing into the side of the neck to create a sense of expansiveness.

Repeat to the right.

Step three:

Interlace the fingers behind your head, then begin to lift your sternum towards the sky.

Don’t drop your head back too far, instead, use your hands to lengthen you from the back of the neck.

Step four:

Place your right hand on the outside of the left leg for a seated side stretch.

Raise your left arm, then turn your head towards your armpit and lean to the right.

Be careful not to let your bum cheek leave your seat though, and keep your hips straight.

Rather than compressing the right side, think about lengthening the left. Repeat right.

Step five:

Step five is as simple as twisting in your seat.

But again, make sure your hips stay straight.

Be careful to keep your chest lifted as you do this.

Step six:

Something that most of us find really easy to do in the office – yawn.

It helps the brain to reset and you’re actually stimulating a neural area of the brain that plays a significant role in being more conscious and alert.

Step seven:

Lock your fingers together and stretch them up to the sky.

Don't forget to focus on your breathing and hold the pose for several seconds.

Step eight:

Roll your ankles and wiggle your toes.

It doesn't sound like it's doing much, but it will stimulate the venous blood pooling at the bottom of your feet.

Once this gets moving your energy levels will improve.

If you have a bit more time – and can find a spare meeting room – Shona has an 18-minute sequence to help stretch your muscles.




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