Sandra Koeder, Senior Wellness Expert at Technogym Emirates, demonstrates how to keep fit and moving without leaving your home
In this uncertain time and era of the exponential growth of the “metabolic syndrome” and obesity, lifestyle modifications could be a cost-effective way to improve health and quality of life. Lifestyle modifications can be particularly important individuals who suffer from mental health issues. Many of these individuals are at a high risk of chronic diseases associated with sedentary behaviour and medication side effects, including diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and cardiovascular disease. An essential component of lifestyle modification is exercise.
There are plenty of fitness activities you can do in the privacy of your own home. Not only can a sweat sesh help you combat seasonal affect disorder (SAD), according to research, but it can also boost your immune system. Doing exercise in your own personal space is an excellent opportunity to customise your experience.
A balanced diet and a moderate (and constant!) workout are the tools that allow the body to function at its best and to maximize its performance. Below you’ll find my guide to a healthy, fulfilling exercise regime that can be easily done in the home.”
A great way to start the day is with 30 minute daily exercises routines:
Warm-Up 5 minutes
Mobility exercises for the big joints (active dynamic stretching). Dynamic stretching can be used before the start of any exercise routine. It may help warm up your body or get your muscles moving and ready to work. Some examples that may benefit from dynamic stretches include:
- Stand on one leg, holding on to a countertop or wall for support.
- Gently swing your other leg in small circles out to the side.
- Perform 20 circles then switch legs.
- Work up to larger circles as you become more flexible.
(variation: Start to swing one leg back and forth while balancing on the other. You can hold onto a wall if needed. Small dynamic lunge backward with side bending)
- Lunge backwards with your right leg, keeping your knee directly over your ankle and not extending it farther than your ankle.
- Reach overhead with your left arm and bend your torso toward the right side.
- Bring your right leg back to return to an upright standing position. Lunge backwards with your left leg.
- Repeat five times on each leg.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold your arms out to the side at shoulder height.
- Circle around your arms slowly, starting with small circles, working up to larger circles. Repeat 20 times.
- Reverse the direction of the circles and perform 20 more.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and bring your arms out to the side at shoulder height.
- Keep your torso still and slowly start to rotate your body back and forth from right to left.
- Repeat 5–10 times.
Jog to quad stretch
- Start by jogging on the spot for 2–3 seconds.
- Reach behind one leg to grab hold of one foot to stretch out the
quad. Hold for 2–3 seconds.
- Jog again for 2–3 seconds.
- Repeat stretches with the other leg.
- Repeat 5–10 times.
“A great piece of equipment to stay fit at home, which doesn’t take up too much space and is very useful is the Technogym Wellness Ball. The Wellness Ball Active Sitting is a product that adds a stylish touch to every home and office and it can be used for work, rest, comfort and training, all to give you strong muscles for better posture and stability at the same time. By scanning the QR code on the cover of the ball you can use the mywellnss which offers a multitude of ways to train. The destabilizing effect given by the form of this exercise solution will help to improve core stability and at the same time the use of all the muscles of your body, improving balance, posture, strength and muscle elasticity. I have chosen a routine that you can integrate it into your everyday life and just feel amazing afterwards. All these exercises are in the app that you can use to track and save your performance.”
Workout 25 minutes (Circuit-style)
50 seconds work 10 seconds move to another exercise – 1 min rest between the rounds (After all 7 are performed).
- Glute bridge – shoulders on the ball (Glutes, hamstrings lower back)
Place your hands behind your head and the shoulder blades on the ball. Lift the hip up and down using your breathing as a rhythm indicator. Focusing on the quality of the movement and your breathing will support mental relaxation and good quality muscle work.
- Hand to Feet Ball Pass (Core, anterior muscle chain)
Start on your back with a stability ball held between your hands straight up over chest and legs straight up over hips. Slowly lower your arms behind the head and legs toward the floor until you are in a V-shape. Tighten abs to keep the lower back pressed into the floor. Pull your hands and feet back to start and pass the ball to your feet. Lower to a V again and return to start passing back to hands. To make it easier bend your knees and make sure your lower back is not lifting off the floor during the execution.
- Push up – on the ball (Chest, shoulders)
You can choose between having the hip on the ball and hands on the ground and/or more challenging would be having the hands on the ball keeping a nice straight line of your body during the execution.
- Wall squat – with the ball (Glutes, thighs)
With your hands on your hips, gently lean against the ball on the wall. Bend your knees and lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor, allowing the ball to roll down slightly then push into your heels to slowly return to the start position.
- Reverse Fly – Prone on the ball (Infraspinatus, Teres Minor, Deltoid Lateral, Trapezius, Middle, Trapezius, Lower, Rhomboids)
Lie face down with chest supported by a stability ball. Feet should
be wider than shoulder-width apart for stability. Optionally you can use Dumbbells in each hand with a neutral grip (palms facing each other) and rest your hands-on floor directly under shoulders. With elbows slightly bent and facing the ceiling, raise your arms to shoulder level and squeeze shoulder blades together at top of the movement. Return to start position Breathing: Inhale on the way up and then exhale at top of the exercise movement.
- Single leg Squat – Rear leg on the ball (quads, calves and hamstrings)
Rest a foot on the ball (optional stay close to the wall in case you need support for the balance), it needs to be about knee height. Get into a forward lunge position with torso upright, core braced and hips square to your body, with your back foot elevated on the ball. Your leading leg should be half a meter or so in front of the ball.
Lower until your front thigh is almost horizontal, keeping your knee in line with your foot. Avoid the knee to travel beyond your toes. Drive-up through your front heel back to the starting position, again keeping your movements measured.
- Superman – on the ball (lower back, glutes, hips, hamstrings, and shoulders)
Start the superman exercise on the exercise ball by lying over the ball with your waistline centred over the top, chest slightly raised. Hands rest lightly on the floor in front of you. Feet rest on the floor behind you about shoulder-width apart. Set your abdominals and tuck your chin in before you move anything.
Raise one arm in front of you to shoulder height. At the same time, raise the opposite leg. Hold for 3 seconds. Lower your hand and foot to the floor. Repeat this on the other side.
Repeat these 7 exercises for 3 rounds varying the speed in case you would like it more intense and you already have experience with using the ball in your workout routines from before.
“Passive stretching is a type of stretching in which you stay in one position for a set time. You’re able to relax your body while a partner, accessory, or prop intensifies the stretch by putting external pressure on your body. You can also use the floor or a wall.”
Eating and exercise go hand in hand.
When and what you eat can be important to how you feel when you exercise. Get up early enough to finish breakfast at least one hour before your workout. Be well fueled going into a workout. Studies suggest that eating or drinking carbohydrates before exercise can improve workout performance and may allow you to work out for a longer time or at a higher intensity. If you don’t eat, you might feel sluggish or lightheaded when you exercise.
Good breakfast options include:
Whole-grain cereals with berries and or banana, Low-fat milk (choose almond or Coconut milk in case of intolerance), fresh green juice or smoothie with Yoghurt or empty pancakes are also a great option.
Be careful not to overdo it when it comes to how much you eat before exercise. To help your muscles recover and to replace their glycogen stores, eat a meal that contains both carbohydrates and protein within two hours of your exercise session if possible.
Some great lunch combinations include Seabass with mashed potatoes and spinach, organic chicken salad with mixed greens or vegetable stew with some organic beef. In case you are a vegetarian dish with lentils are good to combine.
Dinner is the time where we usually gather to share food with our friends and family which is amazing, but we need to think about the portion size. If you want to feel full in the evening and at the same time to have a flat stomach in the next morning, light Thai coconut soup or Tomato soup with Vegetables would be a great choice. Tomato soup is very high in several essential nutrients. It gives you a good amount of fibre, potassium and vitamins A, C and K. Copper and selenium are two important nutrients in tomato soup that have a range of tomato health benefits. While copper promotes sperm development, nourishes blood vessels, muscles and the thyroid gland, copper keeps the nervous system healthy and strengthens bones and blood vessels.
When you sweat a lot and do a lot of physical activity in a warm environment, water alone is not enough to rehydrate. It is also necessary to recover the main minerals that are lost through sweat such as sodium, chlorine, potassium and magnesium. The first two are vital during activity.
Balance is key
As you settle into an active lifestyle, you’ll probably discover which foods give you the most energy and which have negative effects. The key is learning to listen to your body and balancing what feels right with what’s good for you.
Living a healthy lifestyle is something we all want to do. It starts by making small simple choices.
Each moment of the day we’re faced with these choices and it’s up to us to make them right. In doing so you will be on your way to both looking and feeling better. Start with scheduling a healthy breakfast and exercise first thing for an energy and brain boost!
Technogym provides exercises, tips and videos to follow and stay active and healthy through their TWellness Coaching app and the Technogym YouTube channel.