5 EXERCISES TO DO EVERY DAY | DAVID | JANUARY 2017
We often hear fitness ‘gurus’ telling us that there are certain exercises we should do every day to stay in shape. The problem is, many of them fail to take our daily lifestyle habits into consideration.
When we think about it, so many of us are sedentary for the vast majority of the day. With this in mind, the ‘workout-till-you drop’ approach may not always be gold standard. To enhance your joint mobility, develop your core strength and elevate your metabolism for a few minutes in the morning or at lunchtime, try this short exercise series.
Prolonged sitting can affect the contraction efficiency of the buttock muscles. When performed correctly, the glute bridge is an exercise used to develop strength in this area. Further than that, mastering the pelvic tilt element of this move can also initiate deep abdominal muscle contractions and stretch the paraspinal muscles. Lying on your back with your knees bent to 90°, pull your abdominal wall inwards towards your stomach and roll the pelvis back towards the ground. Push the hips up towards the ceiling and pause at the top before lowering to the start position.
Complete 2 sets of 60-90s with a Pilates ring on the outside of your knees.
Synonymous with daily inactivity is the associated changes in hip flexor length. This is because when we sit with the hips and knees bent to 90° the surrounding muscles go through a process known as adaptive shortening. The lizard stretch will increase flexibility through the hips, buttocks and even the hamstrings - if they are tight. Begin in the straight arm plank position. Step the left foot outside the left hand, keeping the right leg fully extended id you. You should feel a stretch in the right hip and the left buttock/hamstring. Repeat on both sides.
Begin by holding the lizard stretch for 2 sets of 20-30 seconds on each side. For a more advanced variation, step the legs forwards and back going in and out of the stretch for 60 seconds.
Sitting posture does not only affect the pelvis and leg muscles. The muscles through our lower and upper back are characteristically prone to become weak. The prone Cobra is a great exercise to stimulate the muscles in your back – stimulating both strength and endurance. Lying on your front with your arms by your side, lift your chest away from the ground until you feel the muscles in your back engage. Pause at the top and lower to the start position.
Begin by completing 2 sets of 10 repetitions at a very slow pace. To advance the exercise, hold at the top of the extension for 3-5 seconds before returning to the start position.
Squat and Press with dumbbells
We have all heard about the benefits of elevating our metabolism. But what about our central nervous system (CNS) as a whole? There is a myriad of benefits brought about by exciting our CNS – sleep cycles, cardiovascular function and even stress response. To excite our CNS, we aim to use our larger muscle groups – the legs. The squat to press however enhances the efficiency by including the arm and shoulder muscles, too. Holding a pair of dumbbells by the side of your shoulders, perform the squat. As you rise, push the hands up towards the ceiling against the resistance of the weights.
Complete 2-3 sets of 45-90 seconds, depending upon your level of fitness.
The core muscles are endurance muscles. Amongst other things they are responsible for supporting movement between the upper and lower body. When thinking of CNS activation and using the larger muscles in the body – look no further. Rather than the ordinary plank, begin this one on hands with straight elbows. Walk your hands forwards until you can no longer hold your lower back in a neutral position. Walk back to the start position and repeat.
Complete 2 sets of 30-60 seconds depending on your level of fitness.