Lockdown lift-up!

Personal trainer (and former chef) Ian Eassom shares his tips on staying fit and healthy during these challenging weeks of lockdown.

Keeping body and mind in balance is challenging at the best of times, let alone during this difficult period, and finding motivation can be tough. Routine can be the first thing to suffer when you’re trying to keep everything in check, so my advice is to build that structure into your day and get your exercise in early.

If you’re lucky enough to have some of Lincolnshire’s beautiful countryside on your doorstep, you can combine a refreshing walk with some simple stretches and bodyweight exercises to keep you flexible. If you haven’t, just a small space is needed inside or out.

One of my favourites is the ‘lunge and twist’ (I’m a fan of lunges!). Start by standing straight, feet shoulder-width apart and hands by your sides. Step forward with your left leg and lower until your upper leg is at a right angle to the floor. Whilst doing this, raise both arms forward, parallel with the floor. With arms outstretched, rotate your trunk left at the hips so your hands point to the left, over your leg. Return in the opposite direction, so your hands then point right, then return to the middle, keeping that core nice and tight. Repeat with the opposite leg forward, taking care not to twist your knees. Six repetitions with each leg, repeated three or four times (sets) will give you a good overall leg workout, as well as tightening your glutes and abs.

If you want to challenge yourself to a higher intensity, lunge down slower and hold for three seconds before returning. My clients find these give them a good warm-up for their overall workout, and whilst I am delivering my sessions online during lockdown, the great thing is that you don’t need any additional equipment to do them, just a space the same size as a small rug!

I promised you a healthy recipe and my nutrient-rich Allotment Salad is the perfect choice, whether you grow your own seasonal vegetables, or have access to fresh local produce nearby. All you need to make this delicious dish are new potatoes, courgette, green pepper, baby asparagus, onion and a handful of fresh mint.

Boil the new potatoes in their skins with some of that lovely fresh mint and slice them into a bowl along with the courgette. Potatoes are rich in vitamin B1, which promotes healthy heart function and courgettes are packed full of vitamin C, B6 and magnesium, great for your energy levels. Slice the green pepper (good for eye health) into long strips, along with the finely chopped onion. Trim the tough ends from the baby asparagus and add these with the rest of the mint. Asparagus is another vegetable full of vitamins (A, C, E and K) and is good for inflammation and regulating blood pressure.

I like to rustle up a simple vinaigrette with some olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a splash of lime juice to add to the tanginess. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and toss a few mint leaves on top, together with a few small twists of sea salt and a more liberal sprinkling of black pepper. I keep a mint plant in the kitchen, as these cleansing leaves are good for your skin and digestion, as well as making a refreshing tea.

Next month, I’ve got a recipe for a classic Lincolnshire tea bread with a difference and some great core exercises.

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