Saturday, 13 September 2014

Introducing Stretch and Slim

Introducing the concept of Stretch and Slim

Middle age woman stretching from

Everyone likes a good stretch but have you thought about incorporating it into your toning regime?

Fighting fat and fighting flab should go hand in hand.  Over-eating and lack of exercise lays down fat deposits around the organs, round your middle, hips, legs, chest and arms - everywhere really. Muscles become slack and flabby as you probably only well aware.

Changing your eating habits should take care of the fat and that is essential and is discussed elsewhere. There is little point in even trying to tone slack muscles if you continue with the underlying fat. But it can be done gradually and indeed is probably best done slowly. Rapid weight loss isn't that healthy for you and it will leave bags of slack skin behind if you don't do some toning. Aim to lose 1-3 libs per week.

Stretch and Slim

Rather than think you have to start doing jumping jacks to get trim, think about stretching out muscles instead. All you really have to think about is getting muscles moving and you can do that by contracting and relaxing them. Start slow and with only the minimum movement. It will gradually increase as you get fitter. At first it might not feel as if anything is moving at all but you will be surprised.

Every single movement you make uses muscle.  You just need to have more movement in your life and use it to slim, trim and tone. Many of the toning suggestions I make are simply tightening and relaxing muscles. You will see I use the breath as part any exercise I do with the exception of those everyday, everywhere toning opportunities. I really recommend you use my suggestions on breathing for the most effect.

You can try it now to see what I mean.

  1. sitting at your desk, feet flat on the ground
  2. imagine you have a string pulling at the top of you head to pull you upright
  3. hands on your thighs
  4. shoulders back
  5. take a deep breath in - note how it pulls in your stomach
  6. hold that position for several shallow breaths.  

Without that deep breathe in you probably don't pull in your stomach - tighten your abdomen muscles.

Get used to that feeling of holding your stomach in, don't clench it so tightly it is sore and hard to hold, just be aware of tightening your abdomen more than you have been used to. You are retraining your muscles and it gets easier. In time you will find you do it automatically, you sit straighter, stand straighter and taller.

Take every opportunity to stretch or to tighten and relax muscles and I'll give you examples as we go on.  I'll try to give as clear instructions as I can and where possible I will let you know which muscles you are toning.

So... let's get started...

I started yoga years ago with Lyn Marshall's Wake up to Yoga which I still recommend and I trained with Jason Chan in Tai Chi many years ago. It is still one of my favourite forms in Tai Chi.
Wake up to Yoga

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