Health tips

Staying active

Christine Sparks, personal trainer with Virgin Active Health Clubs, shares five quick and easy exercise tips and moves you can do anywhere, to help keep your body active, healthy and in shape.

Be active on the road

Christine Sparks, personal trainer with Virgin Active Health Clubs, shares five quick and easy exercise tips and moves you can do anywhere, to help keep your body active, healthy and in shape.

Sitting in a car, on a bus or in plane during a long journey is not only tiring, but your body can take strain, so make sure you take time to stretch and flex. You can also tone your abs and buttocks while sitting or driving. Put on some upbeat music and try squeezing your glutes together to the music. Hold for a count of five and then release, one buttock at a time. Repeat throughout the song and by the end of it you should feel a tightening in your abdomen and buttocks region. If you do this for three songs – that’s a quick 12-minute workout.

How about some push-ups while sitting at a red light? Place your hands at 10am and 2pm on the steering wheel. Flex the entire length of your arms. Pull yourself towards the wheel for three seconds then push yourself away from the wheel for three seconds. Rest after one repetition and then repeat until the light changes. With your hands in this position you can also squeeze your hands together – both great arm-toning exercises.

Dance the night away

Dancing is a great way for people of all ages to get and stay in shape. Besides being fun, dancing has many positive health benefits – flexibility, strength, endurance and a sense of wellbeing. The greater the range of motion, the more muscles can flex and extend. “Take the adage of ‘dance like no-one is watching’ to heart,” says Sparks. “Whether you go to a structured Zumba, Nia or dance class or prefer to hit the dance floor of a night club – energetic dancing burns up calories and give you a great cardio workout.”

Sightseeing by foot

Walking is a fabulous way to keep fit so dial it up a notch by doing your sightseeing by foot or stride out on beach sand and swing those arms. Walking is free, convenient and easy, it’s also great at boosting your health and fitness profile.

“Walking barefoot on the sand offers some additional benefits because sand provides resistance. With every step forward your foot sinks into the sand and your foot and leg muscles work extra hard to push you up and propel you forward,” explains Sparks. She warns to keep hydrated, apply sunscreen and not to walk in the middle of the day.

Super cool activeness

There is no better way to stay cool and keep up your fitness levels than a few laps every day. Swimming is great for your arms and legs and also a wonderful cardio workout.

You can also look at participating in some water sports, such as surfing, wake boarding, kayaking and the latest craze, stand-up paddle boarding. If you are inland and have a dam or river close by there is the option of water-skiing or paddling.

Make your room a workout space

There are loads of ‘functional’ exercises that you can do in your room. For push-ups, use the wall or the side of the bath. For triceps, do dips on the bed or bath. Then do squats and lunges.

 “Just think of how you move and make it count. Take the stairs instead of the lift, walk more, swim and dance or do some outdoor routines,” says Sparks.