Bend and Blend
Personal trainer (and former chef) Ian Eassom shares his tips on staying fit and healthy, with the occasional treat…
This month I’m celebrating my 55th birthday and I always look on this day as a positive. Yes, we may all be getting older, but that doesn’t mean we need to become less flexible and fit. Our joints’ range of motion naturally declines as we age. By using a simple routine and setting ourselves little goals, such as eating the right food (with occasional treats) and persevering, we can help delay the signs of aging.
While exercise can appear to be all about heart rate and losing weight, it’s important to keep our flexibility and range of motion in mind too. We hold a lot of tension in our shoulders and with more of us working long hours at a computer, this can cause tightness in the back. Here are a few simple techniques I like to use with my clients, to not only maintain, but improve flexibility.
This is great for tension-related issues. Standing with your feet hip-width apart, hands by your side, breathe in, bringing your shoulders up to your ears. Squeeze the shoulder blades together, then exhale and drop your shoulders back, while moving your elbows forward, to feel the stretch in your back. Repeat this 10 times.
Cross Body Shoulder Stretch
This helps to extend the back of the shoulder. Stand or kneel with feet or knees hip-width apart. Stretch the right arm out straight and bring across the body, so your hand points towards the left. Bending your left arm at the elbow, hook your left forearm under the right arm, supporting it above the elbow. Using your left forearm to pull the right arm further towards and across your body, stretch the back of the right shoulder and hold for 20 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
Side Lying Thoracic Rotation
This helps improve mobility in the thoracic spine, lumbar spine and shoulders. Lying on your right side on the floor, with your knees slightly bent, stretch your right arm straight ahead, placing your left hand on top of the right. Keeping your gaze fixed on the left hand, raise only the left hand straight up and rotate 180 degrees, so your arms are fully open and your upper body forms a T shape, keeping your knees firmly in place. This is a great one for posture.
This is a gentle yoga pose, which helps stretch the back of the shoulders. Kneel on the ground and touch the big toes together, but sread your knees apart. Sit up straight and inhale, while reaching the arms above your head. Then slowly exhale, bowing forward towards the floor, reaching your arms out in front. Touch the ground with your palms, bringing your elbows to the ground. Then sit back, bringing the bottom of the back towards the heels, feeling that stretch. Then breathe deeply and hold that position for one minute. This exercise can be repeated and is good for relaxation and centring.
We’ve concentrated on shoulders and back this month, but if any readers have mobility issues elsewhere, please feel free to contact me (mentioning Lincolnshire Life) and I’ll be happy to give you some free advice. Next month we’re turning up the August heat and will be using the light nights to keep those bums tight!
Ian Eassom is a Lincoln based mobile personal trainer, offering individual training sessions in your own garden or public space. While social distancing is in place, Ian is also offering private online one-to-one sessions, with bespoke exercise and diet plans to suit you. For the latest information visit www.ianeassom.co.uk