I’ll get you fit without you even leaving home! Top fitness trainer JOANNA HALL’S 30-day exercise plan to kickstart your New Year
One of the best New Year resolutions you could make for 2021 is to be more active. But I’d be the first to urge you not to throw yourself into a rigorous running programme or brutal high-intensity workouts
One of the best New Year resolutions you could make for 2021 is to be more active. But I’d be the first to urge you not to throw yourself into a rigorous running programme or brutal high-intensity workouts.
After the year we’ve had, it makes much more sense to ease into exercise gradually, dedicating ten to 20 minutes every day to working on building up the strength and flexibility your lockdown body really needs, rather than setting off at speed in search of some unattainable goal.
This year, especially, we need to invest in our health. As a trainer and sports scientist, I have more than 30 years’ experience helping people improve their fitness and wellbeing.
So I have devised a simple but effective 30-day exercise plan for the Daily Mail’s January Big Health Kick. It will not only improve your fitness and boost your energy levels, but reduce stress and leave you feeling brighter, lighter and more agile.
Starting today, and every day throughout January, you can log in to MyMail.co.uk for free to watch a short and simple exercise video (see box below).
These sessions will focus on mobility, stretching and enhancing posture for all ability levels — whether you are super-fit or a complete beginner — and all in the comfort of your own home, with no fancy gym equipment required.
I’ll even be recording special chair-based exercises as well as ones you can do standing up, always with plenty of options to suit different abilities.
Think of this as a 30-day journey to a better body and a better mindset.
Each session lasts no longer than 20 minutes. In them you’ll find abdominal exercises, spine-mobilisers, arm-toners, leg-strengtheners and full body stretches. Each sequence is gentle yet progressive — a little really does go a long way!
Join me each day, and you’ll quickly notice an improvement in your posture, strength, mood and energy.
As part of this fantastic 30-day plan, I will also be encouraging you to get out and walk more. You’ll find videos packed with advice for optimising your walking technique, based on my scientifically proven WalkActive System.
This blends sports science techniques to ensure even the shortest stroll works hard to improve your posture, reduce joint strain and trim your waist.
Today’s instant body booster
This is a simple sequence of stretches designed to wake up the body, encourage flexibility and help elongate any tight muscles. No equipment is needed and you can do it in bare feet.
- Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart. Bend your knees and inhale deeply as you scoop your arms forward and swing them up above your head, exhaling as you lower your arms out wide to the sides.
- Repeat three times. WIth your arms stretched up above your head, grab one wrist with the opposite hand and take it over to the side, stretching one side of the body. Change sides and repeat.
- Repeat the first exercise — standing tall with feet hip-width apart, bend your knees and inhale deeply as you scoop your arms forward and swing them up above your head, exhaling as you lower your arms out wide to the sides. Repeat three times.
- With arms still stretched above your head, bend your knees slightly and tuck the tail bone under to feel a stretch in the lower spine. Then bend your arms and bring them down so your hands touch your shoulders, elbows facing forward. Next, tuck your head under to curl down to a forward-hanging bend, letting your arms drop down.
- Bend your knees so that your hands can reach the floor (or to a chair in front of you if that is too difficult). Curl back up to standing position. Repeat.
- Come down on to all fours from the forward-hanging bend position. Shift your weight from side to side, then dip your spine by sticking out your bottom (‘cow position’) and push your spine up in an arch (‘cat position’). Repeat.
- On all fours with your spine straight, extend one leg out behind you, resting toes on the floor (pictured). Feel the stretch in your calf and hip. Look over your shoulder towards the extended foot. Switch legs.
- Back in the all-fours position, tuck your toes under and push back with your hands into a bent-legged crouch, extending into a ‘downward dog’ (with hands and feet on the floor, a straight back and your bottom in the air) if you can, then walk your hands back towards your feet.
- In the forward-hanging position with head relaxed, imagine you have a piece of string attached to the back of each shoulder. Lift one shoulder up and then drop down. Repeat on the other side and do this a few times before very slowly rolling back up to standing position.
- Reach your arms above your head and stretch tall as you inhale, sending your arms out wide to the side with the exhale.l Finish by interlinking hands behind the back to feel a stretch across the chest. Roll the shoulders.
On all fours with your spine straight, extend one leg out behind you, resting toes on the floor (pictured
If you combine my exercise videos with regular walking, you’ll quickly see your fitness level improve while feeling the added benefits of being out in the fresh air. Team up with a friend and you can also enjoy the socialising benefits of walking with a socially distanced companion.
As well as being vitally important for our heart and lungs, regular activity has been shown to enhance our immunity and safeguard our mental wellbeing — two factors which have taken on a new level of importance in the face of the Covid pandemic.
We’ve all had to learn to cope with the ever-changing tier system, working from home, endless Zoom calls and extended periods sitting. This means our posture, mobility, mental wellbeing and motivation have all suffered over the past year.
The rise in popularity of online exercise classes is most certainly a very good thing. But my concern is that, for many of us, the sudden shift from a sedentary state could be too extreme.
Rather than throw yourself into an intense one-hour exercise session three times a week, it’s far better, in my opinion, to spend ten to 20 minutes every day building up strength, flexibility and confidence gradually.
By the end of January, you will have established good mental and physical foundations you can continue, or build on. Think of this as your body’s springboard to brighter days ahead!
I urge you to click on the MyMail link every morning. Our bodies love consistency and you will find your motivation gathers momentum as the month progresses.
Look out for my special live classes at the weekends, too.
How to watch your free Joanna Hall exercise videos
1. Log in or sign up to MyMail for free at MyMail.co.uk
2. Enter the Unique Number from the back page of today’s newspaper. Then, enter your Unique Number every day until January 31, 2021, to access your FREE daily Joanna Hall exercise videos.
3. Click on the picture of Joanna Hall on the website homepage and follow the instructions to view the videos.
NOTE: Mail Subscribers will automatically receive access to the daily videos as part of their subscription.
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