If you’re feeling a bit sluggish after eating 120 mince pies, devouring seven cheeseboards and drinking at least two cases of wine these holidays — and it shows — don’t worry, it can be fixed with a couple of exercises!
Here are the five short, simple exercises to help tone and firm up any wobbly bits you may have picked up over the festive season. It’s all down to you, your body and minimal equipment:
1. Great for thighs: Side lunge knee-lifts
From a standing position, take a deep step out to the side. Your inner thigh should be straight while your outside leg should be bent at the knee. Drive off the outside foot to stand upright while driving the outside knee upwards towards the chest. This results in a knee-lift – take that leg directly back into the lunge and repeat with other leg.
2. Adding curve to your calves: Box jumps
Stand against a stable box that’s at a comfortable height and take a step back to a reasonable distance. Squat down by bending knees to a 90-degree angle; ensure that your knees do not pass beyond your toes by pushing your hips back. From this position jump forward, swinging your arms forward to engage momentum, lifting your feet to land on the box in a squat position, then stand up and step off the platform to resume your starting position before repeating.
Do it right:
3. Firm up your arms: Clap push-ups
Lie face down, placing both hands down on the floor, slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Lift yourself so that only your toes and hands are in contact with the floor and do a standard push-up. Maintain a correct alignment – ears, shoulders, hips and ankles all in line. At the top of the movement (push-up), rapidly clap your hands together before repeating the exercise.
4. Tighten that bum: Y squats
Stand with your feet hip-width apart holding your arms out and above in a “Y” formation at all times. Keep your abs tight and your back “switched on” with your shoulders relaxed and squarely over your hips. Sit back as if you were going to sit on a bench. Then stand up, straightening your legs, and repeat.
5. Shape those shoulders: Frontal raises
Stand holding dumbbells in both hands while resting your hands on your thighs and knuckles facing forward. Raise the dumbbells in front of you to shoulder height, maintaining a slight bend at the elbow. Lower slowly and repeat. Don’t swing or use momentum to lift the dumbbells.
Don’t forget to take breaks in between each exercise. Ceri Hannan, National Product Development Manager at Virgin Active South Africa, says: “Rest periods in between workout exercises are really important, both physically and mentally. Not only do they allow partial recovery, they also provide psychological relief,” he says, “but switching back and forth from work to rest makes the workout go quickly.”