Many of us have already packed our holiday season with so much work and back-to-back programmes we hardly have time to breathe. The little time we can squeeze out is used to stuff ourselves with food and drinks, but just for this season we may be able to spend 5minutes each day to make a difference in our lives so that we can have time to sing and dance to “Joy to the World.”
We all wish our favourite exercises will give us the same benefits as all other exercises but the truth is that some exercises are “more equal than others” just as happens in every aspect of life.
This does not mean if you are unable to perform the most effective exercises, you should exert yourself and cause injury to your body. Remember, Cobba’s First Law of Exercising is “DO NO HARM”.
It is also worth remembering that if we overeat or decide to load ourselves with desserts and other foods that our senses continue to warn us about then these “makeshift” exercises will stand no chance. If you just cannot trust yourself with food and you have to be at several parties then it may be better to eat enough at home so that you spend more time chatting rather than eating.
These exercises may just help you stay afloat this Christmas:
Every single rep (repetition) in this exercise is worth the effort.
Squats target the quadriceps, hamstrings and gluteals, which in simple language refers to the thigh muscles and buttocks.
It is important to learn the right technique and since it exercises large muscle groups, you are able to burn a lot of calories with squats.
In every exercise session, it is important to work large muscles before the smaller ones.
If you have difficulty following the steps above, place a chair behind you and with your back straight try to sit on it. Do not let your buttocks touch the seat, then return to the standing position and repeat. As your technique improves, you may remove the chair.
As one gets stronger you may even carry some weights while doing squats but as always start with caution. You may do only 3 reps at a time (properly). Gradually add some more.
WHEN TO AVOID SQUATS
This exercise benefits almost everyone with a lifestyle disease. Hypertensives (those with high blood pressure) even get a bonus since it causes peripheral pooling of blood and helps to lower the blood pressure over time.
Arguably the safest exercise for strengthening abdominal muscles and also has the added benefit of strengthening lower back muscles. Especially for people who sit for long hours (you shouldn’t anyway) this is great news for helping your back.
This is probably the first exercise most people try out; well apart from laughter and walking I presume and everyone is familiar with it.
Go ahead and squeeze a minute a day in there.
WALKING & DANCING
Before you set out to exercise your muscles remember to walk at least a minute before you start and a minute after you are done.
You may even walk while in one place, what matters is moving your legs and arms and getting your heart to pump.
Use every opportunity during the day to:
A minute each for Squats, Planks and Push-ups and two minutes of walking every morning, afternoon or evening may just be enough to get you through the holiday season and certainly it will not tamper much with your tight holiday schedule.
AS ALWAYS LAUGH OFTEN, WALK AND PRAY EVERYDAY AND REMEMBER IT’S A PRICELESS GIFT TO KNOW YOUR NUMBERS (blood sugar, blood pressure, blood cholesterol, BMI)
Dr. Kojo Cobba Essel
Moms’ Health Club/Health Essentials
Dr. Essel is a medical doctor, holds an MBA and is ISSA certified in exercise therapy and fitness nutrition.
Thought for the week – “For heart health you need to relax and have fun as well; schedule time for leisure, laugh often, learn to breathe deeply and maybe get a pet.”