Personal trainer (and former chef) Ian Eassom shares his tips on staying fit and healthy, with the occasional treat…
Spring is here! Hopefully March is going to give us some milder weather, and encourage us to engage in more outdoor activities, such as outings to the park. Whether it be an early Saturday morning park run, a family trip out with some energetic outdoor games, or maybe doing your workout in the fresh air, there is something for everyone in our great county parks.
I train a lot of my clients in the local parks, more so since the Covid outbreak (often regardless of the weather!), but even a simple power walk or stroll will benefit your health in many ways, such as managing weight loss, reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes, heart attacks and strokes, and boosting your immune system – not to mention helping to clear the mind and manage depression and anxiety.
If you have children, it is a free family activity that puts them in touch with nature too, as well as being a great way to meet people (and dogs!). I make the park my gym and take no equipment but myself and a bottle of water.
Here are four of my favourite moves to work the whole body and help you get a sweat on!
Find yourself a good solid tree limb capable of holding your weight (avoid any that look thin, dry or brittle – we don’t want to damage any of our precious trees) and hang from it with both hands, pulling yourself up until your chin is higher than your hands. If you can perform this up to 10 times, you’re doing really well!
Bend down and plant your hands on the ground. Try to keep your back flat as you crawl forward like a bear, bringing your knees up underneath you in turn, starting with a 10-metre distance there and back.
Using your same 10-metre distance, sit on the ground and bridge up with your hips, facing upwards, so you look like a table top. Walk forward on your hands and feet as fast as you can. It might take a while to get the hang of it, but you’ll be surprised how fast you pick it up!
You’ll need a step or small wall for this one, but exercise caution and avoid any sharp sticking out objects or wet ground you could slip on. I use this wall (pictured), which is the perfect height for me, and nicely solid. Start by standing, feet shoulder-width apart on the floor. Bend into a quarter-squat and swing your arms back, then swing them forward to help you explode up off the ground and land on the high ledge as softly as possible. Aim to mimic your take-off position on landing, feet flat and knees slightly bent, trying to avoid letting them collapse inwards. Repeat 10 times.
After performing each exercise for the number of repetitions stated, repeat them all over again, as many times as you feel is beneficial. You can even put your own exercises in between like press-ups, squats and lunges, or maybe the dreaded Burpees, setting your watch to give you a 20, 40 or 60-minute workout, depending on your fitness levels.
This month, my recipe is a delicious sweetcorn chowder; a smoky, hearty soup, full of flavour and vegan too. It can be prepared in advance, so you have it ready to go when you get back from the park. Did you know one cup of sweetcorn contains over 5g of protein, 5g of fibre, and around 25% of your daily recommended vitamin C? It is also a great source of magnesium and potassium.
Heat the oil before adding the leek, pepper, celery and chilli, cooking until softened. Add sweetcorn, vegetable stock and coconut milk, stirring through the smoked paprika. Cook for another ten minutes on a low heat stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and add seasoning to your taste.
Halve the soup, pouring one half into the blender to give a smooth consistency. Once blended, mix back together with the remaining half, adding a sprinkle of roughly chopped coriander for garnish and some sliced chilli.
Harvey, my little dachshund helper, was busy celebrating his 12th birthday this month, so I gave him some ‘me time’ (although mainly because he can’t be trusted to keep the peace in the park!). But he will be back helping me out in April.
Have a great month and hopefully see you out in the park!
Ian Eassom is a Lincoln-based mobile personal trainer. Ian can offer private online one-to-one sessions, with bespoke exercise and diet plans to suit you. Ian can also offer individual training sessions in your own garden or public space, subject to and in adherence with the latest Covid guidance. Don’t forget there’s a special offer for Lincolnshire Life readers! For the latest information, visit www.ianeassom.co.uk