Harry Jameson’s rules
DO THESE DAILY STRETCHES Start every day with a simple sequence of yoga-inspired, restorative exercises that improve mobility and calm your mind.
Cat/cow back stretch Start on all fours, with wrists directly beneath your shoulders, knees in line with hips. Tilt your pelvis up so that your tailbone sticks out, and look up. Then tuck your tailbone under and drop your chin. Repeat five times, breathing slowly.
Active child’s pose Kneel on the floor, sitting back on your heels, with your knees as wide as your hips, and then exhale and lay your torso down between your thighs, arms outstretched. Push your bottom back on to your heels. Hold and breathe deeply for a minute.
Downward dog Start on all fours with knees slightly behind your hips and hands shoulder-width apart. Spread your fingers wide and press your palms into the floor. Tuck in your toes and, keeping your hands pressed down, lift your knees off the floor to straighten your legs as much as you can. Hold for a few seconds before releasing.
RUN, SWIM OR CYCLE THREE TIMES A WEEK This should form the bedrock of your fitness. Aim for at least 30 minutes each time, at a smooth pace. You are not aiming to be exhausted. One of these per week can be at a slightly higher intensity, but at least one of your cardio sessions should also be a recovery routine — perhaps an easy run, where you can enjoy the pace and scenery. If you have sore knees, cycling or walking are good alternatives. Try to vary the terrain and location of all cardio exercise.
SUPPLEMENT WITH STRENGTH TRAINING Start with bodyweight exercises, but add weights in the form of dumbbells or kettlebells as you get stronger. Do this two to three times a week, but don’t forget to allow your body recovery time between these workouts.
PRACTISE BREATHING EXERCISES EVERY DAY These have a profound impact on reducing stress — important for a healthy gut. Close your eyes and breathe in deeply through the nose for four seconds and hold for four seconds. Then breathe out quite forcefully through the mouth for four seconds and hold for another four seconds. Relax all of the muscles in your face. Repeat for one or two minutes. First thing in the morning is good, but do them any time you can.
MEDITATE EVERY EVENING Sleep is essential for overall health and is often difficult to achieve if you are stressed. Overly tough workouts can make it harder to get to sleep and you should follow the rules of not looking at your devices before going to bed. Meditation can really help. Use an app if necessary, but simply switching off from everything for five to ten minutes will prepare your mind for sleep. Studies have shown that regular meditation helps to regulate the stress response, suppressing inflammation and maintaining healthy gut function.
EAT A GUT-FRIENDLY DIET Consuming plenty of high-fibre foods is really important for your gut health. Studies have shown that fibre — the indigestible part of plant foods — feeds our microbiome and that diets containing too little fibre have lower levels of beneficial gut bacteria. Pack in vegetables such as beetroot, kale and broccoli, pulses, berries and wholegrains as well as nuts and seeds. Include some healthy protein (chicken, eggs or fish) and take a daily probiotic as well as yoghurt or kefir.
My 4 strength exercises
Bent-over row 1 Stand with your feet hip-width apart with a 3-4kg dumbbell in each hand. Bend your knees slightly and lean your chest forwards, tilting from your hips so your upper body is at a 45-degree angle to the floor. Make sure your back is straight and don’t lift your head. Place your arms in front of you, parallel to your thighs and straight, palms facing towards your legs.
2 Bending at the elbows, pull the weights upwards vertically. Imagine you are squeezing your shoulder blades together at the top. Lower the weights to start position. Repeat 12-15 times.
Reverse fly 1 Start in the bent-over row position, holding a 2-3kg dumbbell in each hand below chest level, palms facing towards each other. Make sure your back forms a straight line with your head.
2 Keeping elbows lightly flexed, simultaneously raise your arms outwards and upwards, until level with your shoulders. Slowly return to the start position. Repeat 12-15 times.
Seated shoulder press 1 Sit on the end of a bench or chair with your feet flat on the floor and your back straight. Hold a 2-3kg dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing towards your body, upper arms close by your side and elbows bent, squeezing your biceps with the weights at shoulder-level.
2 Rotate your hands so that your palms now face forwards, then push the dumbbells upwards above your head. Slowly return to the start position. Repeat 12-15 times.
Triceps push-up 1 Start in a plank position, hands less than shoulder-width apart and the balls of your feet on the ground.
2 Keeping your elbows tucked in, lower your body towards the ground and then push back up to the start position. Repeat 12-15 times.
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