Ella Mag’s editor is a woman with a mission, you’ve already ready about her bridal boot camp (aka bride on a budget) now she’s on a mission to be as healthy as possible for her big day.
Like a lot of full time (paid) working mums I’m nearly always in a rush, and nearly always operate with what I call a base-line level of stress.
That’s just enough stress to keep the adrenalin going but not so much that I’m constantly feeling – well stressed. But with a wedding to prepare for, as well as working full time on a website launch site and with a freelance journalist career to keep going, not to mention my biggest roles of all that of loving partner and mum, I’m in need of a little bit of TLC.
So I asked the Activia bunch (who are sponsoring my favourite health event The Vitality Show) for some fitness and diet tips that do not involve spending any cash.
Nutritionist Juliette Kellow reckons we need to take time out to eat, even if it’s only 10 minutes. ‘Rushing meals or eating while racing around can mean you end up swallowing extra air, which ends up in your digestive system, potentially leaving you feeling windy and bloated.
‘Believe it or not, when we chew food, it’s mixed with saliva which actually begins the digestive process. So make sure you give your food a good chew before you do so. If you gulp it down without really tasting it, you’ll miss out this first important step of digestion – and that doesn’t help your digestive system.’
Juliette says we should be drinking six to eight glasses of water a day. ‘As well as helping to fill you up, drinking plenty of water keeps you hydrated, helps the normal functioning of your digestive system and gives your skin the moisture it needs. If you don’t like plain water, try livening it up with a squeeze of fresh lemon, lime or orange juice. Or add a splash of fruit juice.’
Use the stairs
When it comes to fitness the only way is up, says personal trainer Nicki Waterman.
A workout need not involve the gym. She says: ‘ Run up a flight of stairs (a minimum of 16 steps), making sure your feet are planted squarely in the centre of each step to protect your knees. Keep your abdominals contracted and your back straight. Pump your arms as you climb the stairs. Once you reach the top stair, turn around and walk down again. Please note: Only progress to the next level when you can accomplish all activities in your level with ease.’
‘Beginners should begin with this level if you haven’t done any kind of training for three months or if you are new to stair climbing. How to do it: Run the stairs for 2 minutes, taking one or two stairs at a time.’
Apparently ironing is great for the shoulders, arms and buttock muscles – who knew?
Nikki says: ‘While ironing, squeeze your buttock cheeks together hard for 10 seconds. Do this 10 times every couple of minutes. You’ll soon notice a difference in tone. This is because the muscles in the bottom will hold in a semi-flexed position for up to 20 minutes after working the muscle.
‘Finish off with a five to 10-minute cool-down, stretching as you reach to put away the dishes or make the beds.’
Get down and dirty
Bending down to wash the skirting boards is a calorie burner too. She says: ‘Step up and down on a sturdy chair to clean the doors and bend down to reach the skirting boards. It involves a lot of stretching and the use of your arms and leg muscles. Finish off with a five to 10-minute cool-down, stretching as you reach to put away the dishes or make the beds.
And clean up
Housework can also help tone your legs bum and thighs. ”Put on your favourite music and start with some light housework, such as straightening and picking things up, or dusting for three to five minutes. You know you’ve warmed up enough when your joints feel looser and your muscles are flexible but you’re not breaking a sweat.
‘Slowly squat when picking up dirty laundry. Keep your back straight and your heels on the floor. Don’t let your upper back tilt forward. Include one squat for every piece of laundry you put into the basket. Finish off with a five to 10-minute cool-down, stretching as you reach to put away the dishes.’
And to your tummy
Your abs are one of the easiest muscle groups to train at anytime in your own home says Nikki.’ Besides looking great, a toned midsection is the core foundation of a healthy back, because strong abdominals will help give your torso the stability and support necessary to protect your back from injury. Target: This exercise forces you to keep your lower abs contracted so your back doesn’t arch.
Technique: Lie down on the floor. Bend your knees and let them fall to the sides. Keep your feet together. Next, hold your head with your hands and lift your chin away from your chest. Contract your stomach and slowly lift both shoulders off the floor.
Rock your hips forward, pause at the top and lower back to start. Nicki’s Tip: To get the best isolation, always keep your lower back pressed into the floor.’