Gym Away from the Gym

With the busy Christmas period upon us, it’s hard to find the time or money for the gym.  But there are many ways to stay in shape and prevent injury while doing your every day tasks at home in the run up to the big day!

You don’t need equipment to work out; your own body weight is an excellent tool to work with.

So, from the feet up: Get your ankles working by standing on 1 foot while you brush your teeth in the morning.  Stand on the other foot in the evening!

Imagine Santa hiding gifts at the foot of the bed as you get dressed, and walk around the bed on tip toes – working your calves and your dynamic balance.

When you’re squeezing into those ‘slightly tighter than last year jeans – loosen them up with a few lunges – try just 3 on each leg to get you going then really test the seam of them with 5 squats.

Now you’re nice and warmed up, use the stairs as a good place for a few easy calf stretches – drop heels off the edge of a step (holding onto banister to play safe) and let them sink down first with your knees straight, then with knees bent, until you feel a gentle pull –take your time.

Quadriceps StretchAs you wait for the kettle to boil, give those quads a stretch by bringing your foot to your bum, grabbing hold of it, push your hips forward and keep your knees together.  Hold and repeat on the other side.

As you get down to some present wrapping, loosen up your back by sitting cross legged on the floor, put the scissors on your right, sellotape on your left, and the gifts a good stretch out in front of you.  As you wrap try to keep your tummy in, back straight and shoulders back.

Now for the blood sweat and tears that is cooking the Christmas dinner (or any other dinner for that matter)!  The kitchen is a great source of work out tools, so, in-between bouts of chopping, grab a couple of food cans and do some bicep curls.

Make things harder by raising your arms straight out to the sides still holding the cans and make little circles with them… you’ll soon feel the burn in your arms before smelling the burning on the stove!

If you’re feeling particularly strong you could use something heavier like a bottle of wine or bag of potatoes, put then in a sturdy plastic bag and swing them over your shoulder like Santa carrying his sack of gifts.  Then, to work your triceps straighten your elbow so you are lifting the bag up and down behind your head – start with 5 each side.

Finish the day by dropping your chin to your chest and gently rolling your head from side to side, feeling the tension gradually release.  Take a few deep breaths, stretching your linked hands out in front of you and then behind, roll your shoulders gently and relax…. you can survive Christmas and manage to fit in working out in too!

There are hundreds of more stretches and exercises you can do around the home – now you’ve got started keep your imagination going and see what else you can build into your daily routine.

Juliet Hilton, Physiotherapist, Back in Action UK

Follow Juliet on Twitter @JulietPhysio and us @BackInActionUK 


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