At the start of a new year it’s easy to conjure up the desire to make positive changes to your health and fitness, but generating the motivation to see those changes through is significantly harder. We asked model and trainer Roger Frampton – whose TEDx Talk “Why Sitting Down Destroys You” incidentally has over two million views on YouTube – for his tips on making the maximum difference with minimal effort.
Stand instead of sit:
We have around 300 joints and 800 muscles in our bodies and sitting on a chair repeatedly freezes our spine in a flexed position. Think of the stereotypical posture of an elderly person. That’s what we’re moving towards, faster than a Japanese bullet train. However, we can make conscious and informed choices to stand up on the train, have a walking meeting or even stand in the pub on a Friday night. So instead of hunting for a seat like a dog fixated on a bone, take the higher ground… literally.
Squat like a three-year-old:
Do you think when young children sit in squats, that they’re exercising? In fact, the squat is the innate resting position for the human being. Unfortunately at around the age of four, you were introduced to a new resting position – the chair. One of the unfortunate consequences of this is that we lose our ability to sit in a squat. The squat not only keeps our hips flexible but also lines up our digestive system for bowel movements. One of the best things you can do to make certain you’re not getting your hips replaced in a few years is to get your squat back. This requires spending three minutes a day sitting in the squat position. Heels must be in contact with the floor, feet facing forwards and your knees should be wider apart than your feet. Also, it’s easier with a wedge under your heels (Louboutins, anybody?) so you can start in heels and work your way down to bare feet.
Discover a free outdoor gym:
By the age of 75, two thirds of us will be suffering from a chronic illness and may be reliant on pharmaceutical drugs to keep us alive. However, some of these are preventable and London is full of free outdoor gyms – although they are not always that easy to find. Some have pull-up bars that you can hang on, parallel bars where you can test out your inner Olympian, and an array of random things to jump over and swing across. Some of my favourites are tucked away in Primrose Hill, Kennington and Maida Vale. Why not go on a Sunday adventure with a friend and see how long you can hang for? If they can train outdoors in Russia, we can certainly do it here.
Engage in bed play
Here’s a fact for you, repeated sedentary behavior blocks fat-burning enzymes, stopping you from losing excess weight easily. The best things about beds are they are super comfortable, easily accessible and when you travel you’ll most likely have access to one too – unless you’re at Glastonbury (but then you’ll get plenty of walking exercise in anyway). But back to beds. How about utilizing the very thing you sleep on? We can use beds to stretch on. To use your bed to improve your leg flexibility, start by sitting on the middle of the bed with your feet as wide as they can go over the edges and hold. Imagine you’re going into the splits. Spend a few minutes every night trying out some stretches on the comfiest mat in the world.
Are you planning to watch any television series this year? If so, where are you going to watch them? Slumped on a sofa, only later to complain about how terrible your posture has become. Repeated sofa slouching puts pressure on the same vertebrae, forcing your spine into a curved shape. This shrinks the space in which your lungs allow.
Source – Vogue