Hi, how are you?
Spring has arrived and we are straight into splendid days of sun, warmth, beach, pool etc, and it is now that we remember that we should have exercised the rest of the year and we are in a hurry to get in shape! I thought maybe I could give you a couple of ideas to help get rid of the winter excess that winter clothing has been covering ..
First of all adopting healthy habits is the main thing and will make us feel good rather than being a chore.
Get up reasonably early in the morning and walk for between 40 min and 1 hour at a fast pace. If you haven´t exercised for a long time, it is best to do this on the flat, for example along Arenales del Sol promenade. Do this every other day then stretch the muscles well.
Hydrate before, during and after exercise- it´s advisable to drink at least two litres of water a day.
After stretching we can do a few sets of abs, as always taking care of the back and neck. It’s better to do these slowly, feeling the muscles work and there’s no need to do a thousand! To start with four sets of 20 is very good.
On days when we don’t go for a walk we can do routines for arms and legs. So, for example:
Day 1, 3 and 5.
Fast walk of 40 minutes to one hour, stretching and 4 sets of 20 abs.
Day 2 and 4.
Leg work, standing up. If you don´t have much balance (do practice though) you can hold a chair and do lateral leg movements, 3 sets of 10 each.
Another three sets of 10 lifting the leg backwards, careful as always not to injure the back, to work the glutes.
And finally three sets of 15 squats, again with care. The correct movement of the squat is exactly that – as if you were going to sit down, your bottom goes back and ensure your knees don´t go further forward than your toes.
Now to work our arms – if you have dumbells, perfect, but if not you can make some with half litre water bottles filled with sand. If you want more weight, simply wet the sand. You can also use an elastic band and there is a multitude of exercises to choose from that can be done standing, sitting or even lying down. For me, the most important thing is that you know what you are working with each movement and then after that you choose how you want to do it.
So let’s go to it …
Arm flex, with elbows glued to the body, works mainly the biceps…
Elbow flex, either behind or above the head, works mainly triceps…
Rowing movement with elbows back works the back …
Arm lifts in front with arms half bent works the shoulders…
Push ups can be done to work chest and also arms: depending on your physical condition you could do it either with knees on the ground or as The Plank (careful with your back).
It takes practice but when done correctly The Plank is a complete exercise, working abs, arms, chest and also legs.
With all the above exercises you could do 4 sets of 20, or if we want to tone but not reduce do 6 sets of 12 repetitions.
As always, to avoid hurting yourself it’s essential that you activate your core, contracting the abdominals.
After each routine elongate the muscles, doing the opposite movements we did to work them. As we mentioned in an earlier issue of this magazine, stretching is as important as physical activity.
So, now you have a routine for the week which should be accompanied by a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and lots of liquid. Yes, at the weekend have a pleasant walk along the beach and eat and drink whatever you want …. but in moderation!
I hope this has been useful, let me know how you get on.
Gabriela Auzoberria Calvo
Director of Pilates Gran Alacant