For the lifestyle you want

Freedom and holidays beckon, but what about our lockdown bodies? Try this 9-minute workout for starters

Hurrah! to the news that there’s finally some light at the end of the lockdown tunnel and we should be seeing a slow return to normality.

Boris Johnson has outlined his four-step strategy that could see restrictions lifted by 21 June – if strict conditions are met.

Travel firms say there has been a surge in overseas holiday bookings following the Prime Minister’s announcement of the road map out of lockdown.

Despite question marks over the return of international travel, the UK’s biggest holiday operator, Tui, said bookings jumped 500% overnight.

The government has said a decision on easing international travel would not happen until mid-May at the earliest. But Tui’s bookings for July-onwards have soared.

Which is all fantastic news but what about the toll that elasticated waistbands, leggings and over eating and drinking have taken on our bodies? We’re just not beach ready. Panic!!!!

But have no fear, there’s plenty of time to get back in shape for summer and action taken now will see us right by the time freedom beckons.

As we age – and lockdown bad habits have exacerbated this – we lose a few pounds of muscle every decade, which slows down our metabolism. Many people assume that this process is inevitable and that there is not a lot they can do about it.

However, it’s possible to re-ignite your metabolism, regain muscle mass and tone, and burn fat more efficiently at any age. It just takes a sensible exercise routine and some healthy eating.

In fact, very small amounts of activity seem to do a great deal of good. The seven-minute workout has gotten a lot of attention for its measurable health effects. And now, according to a new study in the journal PLOS ONE, a workout including just one minute of high-intensity activity may not only do us some good, but it may be just as good as a longer moderate-intensity workout.

One person who would agree is Los Angeles fitness expert and author Andrea Marcellus, whose mission is to help people climb out from under their to-do lists to discover what they’re truly capable of becoming – and to find the time to make it happen.

As a life strategist, fitness expert with 25 years’ experience, writer and actress, Andrea understands the value of multi-tasking and finding the time to fit in a social life and we’ve all been hankering after that, haven’t we?

She says: “It used to be that by the time I’d finish each day, I was pretty drained. Seriously, where does the time go? Not to mention energy, money, and our waistlines the morning after we eat a bowl of pasta or indulge in a brownie (or three) which used to not be a problem.

“Daily life has a way of becoming more of a workout on a treadmill than a walk on the beach. Even if you enjoy both, too often you don’t get to choose. And you find yourself doing the “big sigh” at the end of every day – that unconscious, deep breath our body forces us to take to try to lighten the weight. And yet still we feel tethered. Unable to dream big because of practicalities and honest exhaustion.”

Andrea says that after hours of Zoom calls and emails during lockdown, people generally feel tense both mentally and physically and for that reason she’s created a 9-minute-only workout that releases tension, generates energy, and, most importantly, fits into your normal life.

Even better, you can do this workout at your desk, in whatever outfit you choose, for an instant boost in your mood. Why not get freedom focused and give it a go?

Low-impact skier

Stand before your desk, feet together, and with your hands on the surface. Bend your knees slightly, then lift your heels to turn your knees and toes toward the left. Press your hands into the desk to lift yourself and twist to the other side. Repeat for 10 sets. 

Low impact skier

Plié squats

Facing your desk with your feet wider than hip with the part toes turned slightly open, bend your knees and drop your hips to the floor keeping a straight spine. Exhale, engage your glutes and press your heels into the ground to activate your inner thighs as you return to standing. Repeat 20 times. 

Plie squat

Desk Push-ups

Place your hands on your desk and walk your feedback until your legs are straight and you’re in a plank position, abdominals deep, back wide and shoulders open, away from the ears. Bend your elbows to lower your chest to the desk. Be careful to direct the elbows more toward the rib cage than straight out from the shoulders. Exhale to press back to start, tightening in the knees to keep the legs long. 

Desk push up

Supported lunges to passé 

Stand tall facing sideways to your desk, feet together, knees slightly bent. Using your desk for support, step back on an inhale with your outside leg while raising the same arm to the ceiling. Return to standing on an exhale, drawing the knee to the chest and lowering the arm. Repeat 10 times on each side. 

Supported lunges to passe

Plank hip extension

Start in a plank position, hands on desk, shoulders open, abdominals deep and hips engaged to create a “wrapping” sensation. Pull your right leg long to lift it 10 times while pulling up In the left knee to maintain stability and keep your waist sides even. Repeat on the left side.

Plank hip extension

For more weightloss tips gets Andrea’s book The Way In: 5 Winning Strategies to Lose Weight, Get Strong and Lift Your Life

Main pic: @sinileunen

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Diane Cooke
Diane Cooke is a three times award-winning journalist who has worked for UK national/regional newspapers, magazines and websites.

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